Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2011:20

(Second Chamber)

10 March 2011

Case F‑27/10

Christian Begue and Others


European Commission

(Civil service – Contract staff – Allowance for officials on standby duty — Articles 55 and 56b of the Staff Regulations — Regulation (EEC, Euratom, ECSC) No 495/77)

Application: brought under Article 270 TFEU, applicable to the EAEC Treaty pursuant to Article 106a thereof, in which Mr Begue and 17 other applicants whose names are listed in the annex to the judgment seek annulment of the decision of the authority authorised to conclude contracts of the Commission of 2 February 2010 rejecting their complaints against the decision of 3 September 2009 refusing to grant their applications for payment with retroactive effect of the allowance for standby duty referred to in Article 56b of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union.

Held: The action is dismissed. The applicants are to bear their own costs and are ordered to pay those incurred by the Commission.


1.      Officials — Working conditions — Allowance for standby duty

(Staff Regulations, Art. 56b, first para.; Council Regulation No 495/77, Art. 1(1), first para.)

2.      Officials — Working conditions — Allowance for standby duty

(Staff Regulations, Arts 55 and 56b; Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Art. 31(2); European Parliament and Council Directive 2003/88)

1.      An official may claim the allowance for standby duty provided for in Article 56b of the Staff Regulations only if two conditions, to be interpreted strictly, are fulfilled. First, according to the first paragraph of Article 56b, the official must be regularly required to remain on standby duty for his institution at his place of work or at home outside normal working hours. Second, the official must belong to a department with one of the characteristics listed in the first paragraph of Article 1(1) of Regulation No 495/77 determining the categories of officials entitled to, and the conditions for and rates of, allowances for regular standby duty, such as performing safety and security functions, or providing support for emergency and crisis coordination arrangements.

(see paras 44, 76)

2.      Only a department, or part of a department, comprising a number of officials or other staff may be required, as a group, to remain on actual standby duty 24 hours a day throughout the year, and consequently warrant the grant of an allowance for standby duty provided for in Article 56b of the Staff Regulations to its officials and other staff.

In a department providing round-the-clock assistance, working conditions must be organised in accordance with the minimum requirements for protecting the health and safety of officials. In that respect, Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union provides that every worker has the right to limitation of maximum working hours, to daily and weekly rest periods and to an annual period of paid leave. Moreover, a working time regime which does not allow workers to enjoy the right to a daily rest period, even if their contract is for no more than 80 days per annum, not only nullifies an individual right expressly granted by Directive 2003/88 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time, but also runs counter to the purpose of that directive.

It follows that the allowance for standby duty provided for in Article 56b of the Staff Regulations does not compensate an official for the mere fact of being able to be contacted at any time by the institution, as required by the first paragraph of Article 55 of the Staff Regulations, but for the fact of actually being subject to a specific constraint, that of having to be on standby in order to allow the department to which he belongs to be continually operational. Thus the concept of standby within the meaning of Article 56b of the Staff Regulations necessarily goes beyond the availability provided for in Article 55 of the Staff Regulations.

(see paras 49, 55, 57-59)


9 September 2003, C‑151/02 Jaeger, para. 94; 14 October 2010, C‑428/09 Union syndicale ‘Solidaires Isère’, paras 50, 59 and 60