Travelling Time is Working Time

Travelling Time is Working Time

Travelling time is working time

Following the case of Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL, Tyco Integrated Fire & Security Corporation Servicios SA Case C 266/14 ECJ, time spent by mobile workers travelling from their home to their first appointment and from their last appointment to their home now counts as travelling time. Time spent travelling between appointments also counts as working time but this was previously the case.

This means that travelling time counts as part of workers’ daily and weekly working hours and has implications for rest breaks. This ruling is about working hours, rather than pay, and does not automatically entitle workers to extra pay.

This decision, which applies from September 2015, has several implications for employers of mobile or peripatetic workers (those who have no fixed place of work); for example, engineers, delivery drivers and carers.

  • Employers must now count driving time as working time when they establish whether an employee is taking enough rest breaks.
  • With additional hours being added to the working week, it may mean that employees who have not previously opted out of the 48 hour working week now need to do so.
  • Employees who are earning the national minimum wage (or only a little more), may now not be earning the national minimum wage on average once the extra hours are taken into consideration as working time. Therefore in certain situations, employers may have to give a pay rise.
  • Depending on the wording of contracts, employees may argue that they should be paid their usual hourly rate for travel time or that overtime rates are triggered sooner due to them working extra hours when travelling.

Employers may be able to minimise some of these implications by ensuring that the first and last appointments of the day are near the employees’ homes or office base.

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Contractual Handbook

The recent Court of Appeal case of Department of Transport v Sparks has looked at the question of whether a new attendance management procedure could be unilaterally amended by the employer.

In this case the Court of Appeal held that the new attendance management procedure which introduced new absence trigger levels formed part of the contract of employment, despite it only being contained in the Employee Handbook.

The employees in this case successfully challenged the employer’s wish to unilaterally make changes without the employee’s consent.

Whilst it can be useful for some policies and procedures to form part of the contract of employment, employers need to give careful consideration as to which elements of the Employee Handbook should be contractual and which elements ought to be merely good practice guidance.

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