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Are periods in which workers are not carrying out any of their tasks, but are available to the company, considered effective working time?

Effective working timeAccording to community regulations, working time is considered to be the entire period during which your worker remains in his job at the company’s disposal and in the exercise of his activity or functions.

The rest period, therefore, is one that is not effective working time. That is, they are opposite situations: either your worker is in his working time, or in his rest period.

Spanish legislation does not define the criteria to differentiate between effective work time and rest time, which is why the criteria established by the CJEU’s community jurisprudence must be followed, which considers that three criteria must be present to understand that we are before time of effective work:

  • The worker must remain in the place where he performs his work.
  • The worker must be available to the employer.
  • The worker must be exercising his activity and his functions or tasks; that is, he must be providing effective services for the company.

In practice, it is the courts that, in case of conflict, determine whether these criteria are met. Working time is considered, for example, that destined for travel in the event of having to perform the provision of services in a place other than the usual workplace, or that destined for mandatory occupational risk prevention training. On the other hand, the coffee break or the time needed to put on the uniform is not considered effective working time.

Let us remember that companies are obliged to record the daily working day (start and end time of the daily working day), so it is very important to correctly differentiate the effective working time from the rest time, for the purpose of carrying out a correct registration and control of the day.


Our professionals will inform you about the specific criteria that the courts value to determine the periods of effective work time.