Working day

Working day. This is a day or part of a day which is not expressly excluded from laytime by the charterparty and which is not a holiday.

 Working day. In the “Charterparty Laytime Definitions 1980″ such days are defined as β€œ . . . days or parts) thereof which are not expressly excluded from laytime by the charterparty and which are not holidays”. This is a definition that may appear to give the charterer considerable freedom in estimating the number of hours that can be counted as laytime in a calendar day. If, for example, in a port only eight hours are usually worked during a calendar day, it would take three calendar days to give 24 hours’ laytime or one “day”. However, the meaning of the word “working” is more related to the working time not being a period of rest (such as a Sunday or a Friday in Islamic countries) nor a holiday and it is a period of 24 hours between midnight and midnight. In Saxon v. Union, 1900, it was said in the English House of Lords that:

 “A working day is . . . to be understood as distinguished from a holiday including in that term a Sunday or some fixed and usual day for rest and not for work, as a Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday, and the like.”

 Therefore “working” is a descriptive term, describing the type of day.

In Reardon Smith Line v. Ministry of Agriculture, 1963, it was said, also in the House of Lords, that:

 β€œ . . . `working’ is a description of a type of day. Prima facie it is a calendar day of 24 hours just as Sundays and holidays are days of 24 hours which, when excepted, are taken out of the laydays . . . There is no established authority for . . . [the] . . . view . . . that the `working day’ of the laytime clause has something to do with the hours of the day during which the ship can be compelled to work.”

 A “calendar day” normally commences at midnight and ends on the next midnight unless the charterparty specifies otherwise. This is the reason for the use of the phrase prima facie in the above statement.

If charterers calculate laytime based on an eight-hour working day according to the custom of the port, they would be incorrect after the 1963 decision. 


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