Question: Can I ask for compensation for reserving my weekend for potential weekend work?

This seems to be a gray zone, since this is not a on-call duty given that I know the day before I have to work or not on the weekend.


My employer asks me to reserve my weekend for potential work. Doing weekend work is fine for me and is allowed by my work contract given that this is an exceptional situation.

It is important for me to minimize the wasted time when I reserve my weekend, since my employer will tell me only in the last minute (Friday evening) if I have to work on that weekend.

I am wondering if I can ask for a compensation. Or do you have any idea how to approach this situation?

  • 1
    Please revise this post to pose one, clear question. Are you asking it if usual, or do you want to know if it is legal, or do you want advice on how to minimize wasted time if you are in fact not needed this weekend?
    – InBedded16
    Jul 5 at 21:45
  • @InBedded16 Thanks, I've revised. my post to make it clearer that my issue is to minimize the wasted time.
    – Lu Mu
    Jul 5 at 21:55
  • 1
    How often does that happen? Once a year? Once a month? every weekend?
    – nvoigt
    Jul 6 at 4:49
  • As you put the Germany tag, does your company have a Betriebsrat? This seems very shady and borderline legal at best and they would be a good group to ask.
    – quarague
    Jul 6 at 7:37
  • 2
    If you're only going to be told on Friday evening whether or not you'll be needed on the weekend, and that this weekend work is not optional, then you are "on-call", and deserve to be compensated appropriately.
    – brhans
    Jul 6 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


Now, I don't know Swiss or German Law - but What you've described sounds like Standby fee/Standby Duty.

That is, if you are expected to drop everything and come into work, then you are paid either a set fee or percentage of your hourly rate.

For example - If I'm on-call with a company and I'm required to be within a certain distance of the Office, that limits my freedom to enjoy my time off, therefore I'm to be compensated for it. In NZ, I had to be within an hour of the Datacentre, and I was paid a flat-rate just for being on-call and then claimed any additional hours I worked.

Now - reading some German Law - there are two concepts - On-Call Duty (where there is no legal requirement to be paid) and Stand-by Duty (where there is).

The differentiation is:

For the correct classification, it is important whether the employee can actually freely choose his or her place of residence. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ruled that a period of time described as "on-call duty" must actually be classified as working time (and thus does not constitute on-call duty, but rather standby duty) if the employee can freely determine his or her location "on paper", but is nevertheless significantly impaired in the way he or she spends his or her free time (for example, due to very short response times).

In short, based on my understanding, if your Employer is placing a restriction on you "Don't go up the Alps for a Ski weekend, in case I need you to come in" - then they are considering you on Stand-by and need to pay-up.

Obviously though - Check with a local Employment Lawyer or advice bureau.


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