EU Court Chucks Overly Literal ‘7th Day of Rest’ Demand

(CN) – A man who worked for 23 years at a Portuguese casino went bust Thursday at the European Court of Justice in his dispute over rest time.

Before layoffs brought his long career at the casino Povoa de Varzim to an end, Maio Marques da Rosa sometimes worked for seven consecutive days.

The casino is open every day but Christmas Eve for 12 hours a day, and it was only in 2010 that casino operator Varzim Sol altered employee schedules so that they worked no more than six consecutive days.

After losing his job, however, da Rosa brought an unsuccessful suit for damages.

The dispute hinged on da Rosa’s claim that the day of rest to which EU workers are entitled under Article 5 of Directive 93/104 for seven-day periods must come at the end of the sixth consecutive workday.

Varzim Sol called this construction impossible to put into practice and not required by either EU or national legislation.

In considering da Rosa’s appeal, the court in Oporto asked the European Court of Justice to weigh in.

The ruling out of Luxembourg on Thursday sides with Varzim Sol.

“Concerning, first, the wording of Article 5 of Directive 2003/88, it follows from this that the Member States are to take the measures necessary to ensure that, ‘per each seven-day period’, every worker is entitled to a minimum uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours plus the 11 hours’ daily rest referred to in Article 3 of Directive 2003/88,” the 12-page ruling states. “However, that article does not specify when that minimum rest period must take place and thus gives Member States a degree of flexibility with regard to the choice on timing.”

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