EU Court Upholds Part-Time Worker Rights in Lufthansa CityLine GmbH Case


EU Court Upholds Part-Time Worker Rights in Lufthansa CityLine GmbH Case


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.


Basic Facts:


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.


Key Determination:


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.


Legal Framework:


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.


Key Takeaways:


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. 


If you require further information on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us on or by getting in touch through any of our other contact methods.




The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice.

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Dr. Mariella Baldacchino - Founder

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.

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