Does travelling to and from work count as working time?
Yes, in some circumstances. This question was considered by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the case of Federacion de Servicios Privados del Sindicato Comisones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and Another.
The ECJ held that where time spent by peripatetic workers who do not have a fixed or habitual place of work and spent their time travelling between their homes and the premises of the first and last customers amounts to “working time” under the Working Time Directive.
The Working Time Directive defines “working time” as any period during which the worker is, working, at the employer’s disposal; and carrying out their activities or duties in accordance with national laws and/or practice.
The Working Time Directive does not expressly state, or provide guidance as to whether travelling to and from a place of work should be considered working time.
In coming to its decision the ECJ relied upon the definition of “working time” i.e. the period during which workers are at work, at the employers disposal and carrying out their duties. It held that where workers journeys were necessary to discharge their duties they were deemed to be “carrying out their activity or duties” during that time.
It further held that journeys to and from customer’s premises, which commenced from the Company’s place of work, amounted to “working time”. Where the place where these journeys commenced changed the nature of those journeys did not change, simply where the journeys started and ended. Accordingly the workers must be regarded as carrying out their activities or duties during the time spent travelling to and from customers.
The impact on employers
This will have huge cost implications on employers; particularly those whose employees are home-based and spend their time travelling to appointments. In situations where workers are being paid hourly then time spent travelling from home to and from the first and last appointment will need to be paid. Those workers who work a set number of hours each day; their working day will start when they leave home rather than when they commence their first appointment. This will have an impact on the number of appointments that can be scheduled in a day.
Furthermore, employers may well need to put in place monitoring procedures to avoid any potential abuse by workers who may conduct their personal business at the beginning and of each day.
If you have any queries regarding this, or specific advice as to how the working time regulations impact your organisation then please do not hesitate to contact:
T. 020 7227 7410
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.