A recent case this month from the Workplace Relations Commission dealt with this issue.

In this case a firefighter argued he was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that this should be considered “working time” for the purposes of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. This Act deals with rest breaks, holiday entitlements and public holiday entitlements.

It was found that there was a difference between being “present at work” and being “reachable”. The employee in this case was also a taxi driver and paid a retainer fee and for hours actually worked.

The employee lost this case and the Workplace Relations Commission said it was “absurd” to suggest that an employee worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. This was especially true where the employee had another job as a taxi driver.

A full copy of the decision can be found here