The Working Time Traveller.

By Andrew Knorpel on 24 September 2015

According to the European Court of Justice, there are only two types of time – working time and rest time.  At least that’s the case for the purposes of the Working Time Directive and therefore our own Working Time Regulations.

Some engineers working for Tyco in Spain had no fixed place of work (their local office having closed) and were based at home.  They argued that their working time (for the purpose of working out their entitlements under working time legislation) included their travelling time from home to their first customer and back home from their last customer.  Tyco argued that this time was not working time, but the engineers didn’t see it that way.

The ECJ agreed with the engineers as, during travelling time, they were working, at their employer’s disposal and carrying out their activities or duties during this time.  At the end of the day (and come to think of it, also at the beginning), Tyco chose the order of their appointments and could unilaterally cancel or add appointments.

Please note that this case does not affect travel to and from a normal place of work which will still not be counted as working time.  It also does not directly relate to pay as this would depend upon an employee’s contract of employment and the rate agreed, if any, for travelling time to or from home, subject of course to workers receiving at least the national minimum wage (not for each hour worked, but when averaged over the whole pay reference period).

There may be some knock-on increased costs if an employer was required to change its shift patterns to counter mobile workers reaching the 48 hour average maximum weekly working limit when travelling time is included (assuming they haven’t opted out) or having to re-arrange their breaks to ensure they have sufficient daily or weekly rest periods.

Finally, in order to limit increased travelling time, you may also wish to ensure that any field-based staff are contractually required to live on (or within a few miles of) their sales or service territory, permitting relocation only with the employer’s consent (not to be unreasonably withheld).

Insights.

Need to Make/Update your Will?
30th March, 2020

In these difficult times individuals are recognising the importance of either making or updating their Wills, particularly those who are self-isolating.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Furlough Leave
27th March, 2020

The Government announced on 20 March 2020 that the state will subsidise employers to pay 80% of the wages of staff who are placed on “furlough” leave but remain employed,…

A note from Neale Andrews
27th March, 2020

These are perhaps some of the most challenging circumstances we have faced as a firm in our 60 year history. We are doing absolutely everything we can to protect our…

Combatting Covid-19 for Commercial Tenants
26th March, 2020

The pandemic is causing huge socioeconomic repercussions and the UK commercial property sector is not immune. So what is going to happen to property-overheads or running costs of commercial premises…