International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations

Volume 32 (2016)

Volume 32 (2016) / Issue 3

Guylaine Vallée, Dalia Gesualdi-Fecteau, 'Setting the Temporal Boundaries of Work: An Empirical Study of the Nature and Scope of Labour Law Protections' (2016) 32 International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Issue 3, pp. 344–378


Labour law aims to protect the employee, defined as a person who performs work for an employer and is entitled to a wage. Labour law provides tools to distinguish between work time and personal time. However, in several emerging models of work organization, workers must increasingly be available beyond the time actually spent carrying out their work, whether they are at the workplace or elsewhere. It is not clear whether workers are then considered to be performing work and entitled to compensation. Nor is it clear whether these periods are taken into account in the maximum weekly or workday working hours, in the minimum daily and weekly rest periods provided for or when calculating overtime. It is also uncertain whether these workers are deemed to be at work. The various contemporary manifestations of the requirement for workers to be available leads to the question of what constitutes the span of work that is in fact legally regulated by labour law. The results of an empirical study conducted in 2014 (which includes a comprehensive analysis of judicial decisions and data collected from a Quebec administrative body) and an analysis of the debates surrounding the revision ot the European Working Time Directive lead on to a discussion of the capacity of labour law to protect workers who have to be available beyond the time actually required to carry out their work tasks.

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ISSN: 0952-617X
ID: IJCL2016018