§ 39 Off-duty periods
Section 10-8 of the Working Environment Act does not apply to the scope of these regulations.
Employees shall have a continuous off-duty period of least 11 hours in the course of one day (24-hour period). The off-duty period shall be between two main work periods. The off-duty period can be reduced to eight hours if the employees are ensured compensating rest periods of a corresponding kind or, where this is not possible, other suitable protection.
The off-duty period between two offshore periods shall have a continuous duration of at least one-third of the most recently completed offshore period.
The time spent travelling to and from the workplace at the beginning or end of each work or offshore period shall not be included as working hours. However, travel time to and from living quarters cannot entail a reduction in the eight-hour rest requirement in the second subsection.
Section last changed: 01 January 2019
The provision mainly continues previous Sections 49 and 53. The previous Section 53, first subsection, second sentence is deleted, as this follows from Section 10-12, first and second subsection of the Working Environment Act.
If an employee shall daily or occasionally travel to other facilities than the one the employee in question is staying on after arrival at the work site, the time spent travelling shall be counted as working hours. This applies to both the transport time itself and any waiting.
The requirement for daily rest in the second subsection is increased from 8 to 11 hours as a result of the Directive of the Council and Parliament of the European Economic Community 2003/88/EC regarding certain aspects of the organisation of working hours (the Working Hours Directive), but can be reduced to 8 hours by the employer if the employees are guaranteed compensatory rest or in special cases, other suitable protection if, for objective reasons, such compensatory rest cannot be provided. It follows from the European Court of Justice's statements in the so-called Jaeger case (Case C-151/02) that the requirement for ”compensatory rest” entails that an employee that has had less than 11 hours continuous rest shall have the corresponding number of hours compensated immediately following the work period. In other words, the reduced rest shall be compensated hour by hour in the next rest period. For example: If an employee has worked for 15 hours, the requirement for ”compensatory rest” entails that this employee shall have two hours of compensatory rest in the next rest period, in addition to the ordinary rest of 11 hours.
As regards the requirement for ”other suitable protection” in the second subsection, three aspects are of significance for the assessment. An evaluation shall be made of whether the employees are ensured a genuine possibility of rest and restitution during the offshore period. The duration of the free periods between offshore periods is also of significance when assessing whether ”other suitable protection” has been achieved. At enterprises bound by collective wage agreements that provide the employees significantly longer off-duty periods between two offshore periods than the minimum regulatory requirement, this will normally mean that this aspect of ”other suitable protection” has been achieved. As regards work that sets special requirements for alertness or is particularly demanding, the requirement for ”other suitable protection” can, however, warrant additional measures, such as periods of less strenuous work and/or more frequent breaks than usual.
The third subsection continues the previous Section 53, second subsection. The term ”free time” is replaced with ”the off-duty period”. Reference is made to the fact that the daily work-free period and off-duty are two different wordings of the same matter, namely the time when the employee is not at the disposal of the employer, cf. Section 10-1, second subsection of the Working Environment Act, which also uses the term ”off-duty”. Shorter stays onshore in transit between facilities or vessels over the course of offshore periods are not considered free time. The same applies to shorter stays on land as a result of participation in meetings, etc.
Travel time as mentioned in the fourth subsection, will also include waiting for transport. Such travel time will not be counted as working hours. The provision entails a constraint in the ability to work 16 hours in those cases where the employee depends on shuttling to get to the living quarters.