Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and the hospital pharmacists

In the latest edition of the EAHP EU Monitor, which informs us on EU matters that may impact our profession, there is the following report concerning the EWTD.

"On 7 November 2006, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting under the Finnish Presidency initiative failed to reach an agreement on modifying the European Working Time Directive (EWTD). The Finns had proposed a compromise that did not meet the demands of the “anti opt-out” Member State representatives, who were requesting a set end date for the opt-out option. The Finnish proposal had been to “phase out” this option.

As the text remains unchanged, the EWTD provisions are still as follows:

* No more than 48 hours work per week (averaged over a 17-week reference period)
* 11 hours continuous rest in 24 hours
* 24 hours continuous rest in 7 days (or 48 hrs in 14 days)
* 20 minute break in work periods of over 6 hours
* 4 weeks annual leave
* Provisions for night workers
* Citizens of European Member States may ignore the above upon signing a derogation (“opt-out”)

This leaves hospital pharmacists with the problem of on-call time performed in the hospital, to be counted as part of their maximum 48 hours working time a week, whether the person does actually carry out some activities whilst on-call or does not (the European Court of Justice's rulings: SIMAP and Jaeger cases, held that on-call duty performed by health professionals and other workers, when they are required to be physically present at their places of work, must be regarded as working time)."


You can find the whole article here: http://www.eahp.eu/asp/monitor_news_detail.asp?ID=15&m=11