Language of document :

Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 9 March 2021 (request for a preliminary ruling from the Verwaltungsgericht Darmstadt – Germany) – RJ v Stadt Offenbach am Main

(Case C-580/19) 1

(Reference for a preliminary ruling – Protection of the safety and health of workers – Organisation of working time – Directive 2003/88/EC – Article 2 – Concept of ‘working time’ – Period of stand-by time according to a stand-by system – Professional firefighters – Directive 89/391/EEC – Articles 5 and 6 – Psychosocial risks – Obligation to prevent)

Language of the case: German

Referring court

Verwaltungsgericht Darmstadt

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: RJ

Defendant: Stadt Offenbach am Main

Operative part of the judgment

Article 2(1) 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 must be interpreted as meaning that a period of stand-by time according to a stand-by system, during which a worker must be able to reach the town boundary of his or her workplace within a 20 minute response time, in uniform with the service vehicle made available to him or her by his or her employer, using traffic regulations privileges and rights of priority attached to that vehicle, constitutes, in its entirety, ‘working time’, within the meaning of that provision, solely if it follows from an overall assessment of all the circumstances of the case, in particular the consequences of such a response time and, where appropriate, the average frequency of interventions during that period, that the constraints imposed on that worker during that period are of such a nature as to constrain objectively and very significantly the ability that he or she has to freely manage, during the same period, the time during which his or her professional services are not required and to devote that time to his or her own interests.


1 OJ C 372, 4.11.2019.