In the case of Lufthansa CityLine GmbH (C-660/20), the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that schemes designed for remuneration for additional flying hours must not discriminate against part-time workers.
A German pilot was employed part-time, with basic remuneration tied to flight duty hours. Additional remuneration was possible if certain monthly flight duty hour thresholds were exceeded. Such thresholds were identical for both full-time and part-time pilots. The applicant claimed entitlement to additional remuneration since he would exceed the trigger thresholds if those were reduced and adjusted in proportion to his part-time working hours.
The Court found that the part-time pilots have a greater burden to bear, and will satisfy the conditions for entitlement to additional remuneration much more rarely than their full-time colleagues. The Court decided that the payment of additional remuneration to part-time workers and comparable full-time workers for excess working hours spent in the same activity – such as a pilot’s flight duty – should be regarded as a ‘less favourable’ treatment of part-time workers under EU law. This is unless there are valid and objective reasons for such differentiation.
This judgment highlights the EU’s commitment to protecting the rights of part-time workers and preventing unjustified discrimination of part-time workers as set out under Directive 97/81/EC – the Framework Agreement on part-time work agreed between the EU employers and social partners. Part-time workers cannot be treated less favourably than comparable full-time workers solely because they work part-time, unless it can be objectively justified.
It should be noted that, according to settled case-law of the Court, the concept of ‘objective grounds’ effectively means that a difference in treatment between part-time workers and full-time workers should not be justified merely on the basis that such difference is contemplated by a general, abstract norm, such as a law or a collective agreement. The concept requires, on the other hand, that such difference in treatment be justified by the presence of precise and specific factors, and on the basis of objective and transparent criteria.
The Court ruling emphasises the need for equal treatment in the workplace by adopting equitable remuneration practices, and underscores the importance of safeguarding the rights of part-time employees.
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Mariella graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in law in 2005. She completed a master’s degree in ‘European Private Law’ from the La Sapienza, University of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in Malta in 2006.
Mariella is a people person – and it is this attribute which has really characterised and shaped her career.
Over the years, she headed the legal departments of several corporate services firms. Due to her skillset, she was also entrusted with managing and overseeing operations and human resources, where she gained technical and practical experience in various corporate, commercial and employment matters.
Her practical hands-on experience and insight perfectly complement Mariella’s technical knowledge of employment law, thus placing her in an ideal position to understand and advise employers and employees alike on various matters that may arise at the workplace.
Mariella is passionate about employment law matters and provides her clients with the highest-quality legal service to achieve the best possible outcome and resolve any employment law related issues and concerns.
Bradley graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006. He advises clients on various corporate, commercial, employment and regulatory matters, with particular focus on company and financial services law.
He has assisted clients in various corporate and commercial matters by providing company law advice and assisting in the implementation of corporate finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and similar transactions.
Bradley has also advised and assisted investment funds, fund managers and other investment services providers, banks and financial institutions, on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the setting up, authorisation and ongoing conduct of their activities in Malta.
His practice also covers general employment law matters. Bradley’s experience in company and financial services law enables him to focus on various corporate and regulatory aspects of employment relationships. In particular, he advises organisations on the implementation of employee share option and participation schemes, the implications of business transfers on employment relationships, as well as relations with senior employees.
Karl graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006.
Karl has gained considerable expertise in technology law and regularly assists clients in relation to intellectual property issues, commercial contracts and ways to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy laws. Whilst such matters used to be only given incidental importance when dealing with employment matters, they are now widely acknowledged to be vital in all employment relationships.
He is also regularly engaged by C-level executives to assist in negotiating employment contracts and settlement agreements.
Karl advises across a multitude of industries including technology; marketing; adtech; financial services; gaming; esports; consumer products; and media and telecommunications.