Employees time travelling to work CAN be working time

October 2015

Live events sector



The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has decided that time spent travelling to and from work for non-office based employees must now be classed as working time in a decision that may have a significant impact under the Working Time Regulations and arguably could impact on minimum wages in the UK.
The case centred on a Spanish company, Tyco, whose employees were required to travel between client premises installing and maintaining security equipment.  The employees then became home based after the closure of their office.  A dispute arose about whether the time spent travelling at the start and the end of their working day should be classed as ‘working time’. Previously under the Working Time Regulations it was considered that working time did not include travel to and from work. The company  argued that this remained the same even with the change to a home base, but employees disagreed, saying theior travel should be classed as working time. These journeys varied greatly, with occasions of up to 100km of travel,  and the employees wanted to be paid for this additional ‘time’. The Spanish Courts sought clarification on the term ‘working time’ in respect of the EU Working Time Directive and referred the matter to the European Court.
The Court of Justice of the European Union  have ruled that travelling to and from the first and last appointments by employees with no fixed office should be regarded as working time.
The ruling said: “The fact that the workers begin and finish the journeys at their homes stems directly from the decision of their employer to abolish the regional offices and not from the desire of the workers themselves.

“Requiring them to bear the burden of their employer’s choice would be contrary to the objective of protecting the safety and health of workers pursued by the directive, which includes the necessity of guaranteeing workers a minimum rest period.”

The BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman said it could have a “huge effect” saying “Employers may have to organise work schedules to ensure workers first and last appointments are close to their homes.”  Chris Tutton, from solicitors Irwin Mitchell, told the BBC: “Thousands of employers many now potentially be in breach of working time regulation rules in the UK.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34210002 and  https://www.internationalworkplace.com/our-company/blogs/work-is-work-53220?a_id=5024

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