EU Working Time Directive (1993)
The initial Working Time Directive of 23 November 1993 made provision in Article 5 for a minimum weekly rest period, which “shall in principle include Sunday”.
On 12 November 1996 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) annulled this provision. The Court found “that the Council has failed to explain why Sunday, as a weekly rest day, is more closely connected with the health and safety of workers than any other day of the week.” It follows from the Court’s reasoning, that the protection of Sunday as suchdoes not fall outside the scope of the Directive, but simply that there had not been sufficient reason to explain why Sunday as a weekly rest day contributes more than any other day of the week to the health and safety of workers. An amendment aiming at including Sunday, as a weekly rest day, in the revised Working Time Directive can therefore be successful if it delivers on the ECJ’s tacit invitation to demonstrate that Sunday is more closely connected with the health of workers than any other day of the week.