CJEU Case C-742/19 / Judgment

B. K. v Republika Slovenija (Ministrstvo za obrambo)
Policy area
Employment and social policy
Deciding body type
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding body
Court (Grand Chamber)
Decision date
ECLI (European case law identifier)
  • CJEU Case C-742/19 / Judgment

    Key facts of the case:

    Request for a preliminary ruling from the Vrhovno sodišče Republike Slovenije.

    Reference for a preliminary ruling – Protection of the safety and health of workers – Organisation of working time – Members of the armed forces – Applicability of EU law – Article 4(2) TEU – Directive 2003/88/EC – Scope – Article 1(3) – Directive 89/391/EEC – Article 2(2) – Military activities – Concept of ‘working time’ – Stand-by period – Dispute concerning the remuneration of a worker.


    Outcome of the case:

    On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

    1) Article 1(3) of Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time, read in the light of Article 4(2) TEU, must be interpreted as meaning that a security activity performed by a member of military personnel is excluded from the scope of that directive:

    • where that activity takes place in the course of initial or operational training or an actual military operation; or
    • where it is an activity which is so particular that it is not suitable for a staff rotation system which would ensure compliance with the requirements of that directive; or
    • where it appears, in the light of all the relevant circumstances, that that activity is carried out in the context of exceptional events, the gravity and scale of which require the adoption of measures indispensable for the protection of the life, health and safety of the community at large, measures whose proper implementation would be jeopardised if all the rules laid down in that directive had to be observed; or
    • where the application of that directive to such an activity, by requiring the authorities concerned to set up a rotation system or a system for planning working time, would inevitably be detrimental to the proper performance of actual military operations.

    2) Article 2 of Directive 2003/88 must be interpreted as not precluding a stand-by period during which a member of military personnel is required to remain at the barracks to which he or she is posted, but does not perform actual work there, from being remunerated differently than a stand-by period during which he or she performs actual work.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    48) Moreover, the provisions of Directive 2003/88 give specific form to the fundamental right to a limitation of maximum working hours and to daily and weekly rest periods expressly enshrined in Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’) and must, therefore, be interpreted in the light of the latter (judgment of 17 March 2021, Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti, C‑585/19, EU:C:2021:210, paragraph 37 and the case-law cited). It follows in particular that those provisions may not be interpreted restrictively to the detriment of the rights that workers derive from that directive (judgment of 9 March 2021, Radiotelevizija Slovenija (Period of stand-by time in a remote location), C‑344/19, EU:C:2021:182, paragraph 27 and the case-law cited).