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Buachaill, Lawyer
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10621
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Can a ambulance service worker work nights at 12 hrs per shift

Customer Question

Can a ambulance service worker work nights at 12 hrs per shift to the European Directive max of 48 hrs (4 shifts) and then continue working the night shift into his second calendar working week for another 48 hrs. ie can you work a 7 nights in a row over 2 different weeks ?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 4 years ago.
1. The short answer is yes, an ambulance service worker can be required to work 7/8 nights in a row of 12 hour shifts. This is because ambulance service works are exempted from the provisions of The Working Time Directive by the 1998 Organisation of Working Times (General Application) Regulations. However, for ambulance workers they are entitled to "equivalent compensatory rest periods" where they miss out on the normal rest periods. Under the Labour Relations Commission Code of Practice on Compensatory Rest periods this basically means that if an ambulance worker works for 8 days in a row for 12 hour shifts, they are entitled to two full 24 hour rest periods before they can be required to work again, as well as two 11 hour rest periods over the following two days.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I believe the directive has been superceeded by a European directive in which a worker cannot exceed 48 hours in a week or continue working into the next week without an adequate break. My employer states, I can work thurs through to Sunday 12 hour nights, but then I must take a 48 hr break before starting night again, even though I go into a different calendar week, as stipulated by the latest European working time directive.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 4 years ago.
2. There has been no amendment of the EU working Time Directive in the last 9 years. So this view of yours is erroneous. There has always been the option for an employer to insist on 35 hours rest being taken weekly. However, this is another option to the taking of two consecutive 24 hour breaks each fortnight. If your employer is telling you this and preventing you working, then that is a different matter, because he law does not prohibit you working 8 consecutive days of 12 hours per day.
3. But just to make clear, there has been no amendment of the Working time Directive. If your employer is saying this, then that is just plain wrong!