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Policeman wins a week's holiday for time spent donning uniform

The Local · 14 Jul 2010, 10:00

Published: 14 Jul 2010 10:00 GMT+02:00

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The 44-year-old officer from Münster argued that he had spent about 15 minutes each work day donning and doffing his uniform outside of his paid shift hours, daily Die Welt reported on Wednesday.

The Münster administrative court agreed with him that this constituted overtime.

The police chief in Münster had previously rejected the man’s claim that getting dressed should be considered “work,” the paper reported.

The police department recognised that the time taken for “arming” officers with a handgun, handcuffs and pepper spray should be considered work, but not dressing and undressing. Every other aspect of getting ready for a shift should not be included in work time, it argued.

During negotiations at the beginning of this month, the officer had argued he was effectively giving the state – as his employer – about 45 hours of his time each year for free.

“That means he shows up a quarter of an hour earlier for work every day than he actually has to,” said Erich Rettinghaus, head of the police union in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. “For example, if his shift starts at 10 pm, he has to be ready for duty at this precise time.”

The court has now ruled that not only putting on special equipment such as riot gear, but even putting on a regular uniform, constituted work. The court did not accept the argument that uniformed police could get dressed at home.

Story continues below…

The judge also decided there was an “unfair treatment” of other police who rode motorbikes or bicycles to and from work. These officers had to put on protective clothing after a shift.

The police union said the ruling was a “ground-breaking decision” on an issue that had been simmering for years. The decision is not yet final – the judgement can be submitted to a higher administrative court.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

02:10 July 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Why couldn't he put on his uniform at home before going to work?
05:36 July 15, 2010 by vonSchwerin
Why is taking off his uniform part of his work? I understand why he has to wear the uniform while on duty, and thus put it on in the morning.

But is there a regulation that says he can't wear his uniform around house, while sleeping, etc.?
07:42 July 15, 2010 by rugbycoach
The Law..you just gotta love it...even when it has no common sense...
08:43 July 15, 2010 by wood artist
Maybe I should tell my boss that I prefer to work naked, and he needs to pay me since I must get dressed every day...after all, he's making me use time that I would otherwise have for my own uses.

Good grief! This pretty much goes beyond any form of logic.

09:36 July 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Don't worry, wood artist. Forrest (aka Logic Guy) will probably chime in and explain the logic to you.

Personally, I think it is about as dumbassed as any court decision I've seen, and I've seen plenty. This is such a frivolous case that it would have been dismissed in 10 minutes where I come from.
11:30 July 15, 2010 by mikecowler
WOW with the current job cuts here in the UK most people would be happy getting ready for work in their own time...

I wear a uniform in my job..i wonder if my train drivers union will fight a case for me ha ha
12:13 July 15, 2010 by michael4096
A long time ago, 100+ years, people were expected to get to their place of actual work in their own time which made the daily 4hrs crawl to and from a coalface a lot of unpaid work. A court case in the UK established that people only need to get to the employer's front gate - which is where it stands today for nearly everybody in the world. I guess this is just an extention of that principle.
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