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Decision 12/2020. on payment of remuneration for standby duty
Constitutional complaint against the judgement No. Mfv.II.10.279/2018/3 of the Curia (payment of remuneration for standby duty)
The Constitutional Court declared that the judgement delivered by the Curia in the subject matter of the payment of remuneration for standby duty was in conflict with the Fundamental Law and annulled it. In the case on which the constitutional complaint was based, the defendant hospital operated without interruption and employed the subsequent petitioning plaintiffs in a single shift, in working time frame and unequal work schedule. The plaintiffs turned to court and asked for ordering the defendant to pay the difference related to on-call fees and default interests for the period 2012-2016; their claim was based on the fact that they regularly performed medical duty on their weekly rest days. The judgement of the Curia, which set aside the final judgement and upheld the decision of the court of first instance, is, according to the petitioners, in conflict with the Fundamental Law because it allows the defendant hospital to apply in a combined way the plaintiff employee’s absence entitling the employee under several independent legal titles, thus the right of the employees to daily and weekly rest periods and, indirectly, their right to additional remuneration for work on that day has been infringed. In the context of the infringement of the right to property, the petitioners argued that the difference of on-call duty fee for the work performed on-call but not yet paid for (as property already acquired) should enjoy a constitutional protection of property rights. The Constitutional Court found that the legal interpretation of the Curia holding that the daily rest period and the weekly rest day could be issued at the same time was incompatible with the Fundamental Law, as according to it (with account to the different purposes of the rest periods), the employees are entitled to the daily and weekly rest periods under separate titles. The Curia therefore did not take into account the purpose of the legislation and the intention of the law-maker, and did not interpret the applicable legal provisions in accordance with the Fundamental Law, because the Fundamental Law states that the employee is entitled to daily and weekly rest periods; according to the legal interpretation of the Curia, on-call duty workers lose their daily rest time if they are on duty on weekdays and lose their weekly rest day if they are on duty on weekends. The Constitutional Court explained that the interpretation of the law by the Curia had narrowed the scope of the daily and weekly rest periods provided for health care workers, as intended by the law-maker, to such an extent that it had led to a conflict with the Fundamental Law, therefore the Constitutional Court annulled the Curia’s judgement.