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How to calculate working time

28th Sep 2016
Absence Management, Employee Benefits, Employment Law, Human Resources, Payroll

Working time is defined in the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833) as:

  • any period during which the worker is working, at his or her employer’s disposal and carrying out his or her activity or duties;
  • any period during which he or she is receiving relevant training; and
  • any additional period designated as working time under a relevant agreement.

The Government provides guidance1 on what this includes.

What counts as work What does not count as work
Time spent travelling for workers who have to travel as part of their job, eg travelling sales representatives or 24-hour plumbers. Normal travel to and from work i.e. commuting.
Where a worker has no usual place of work, time spent travelling from and to home for the first and last customer visits of the day2. Travelling outside normal working hours.
Working lunches, e.g. business lunches. Breaks when no work is done e.g. lunch breaks.
Time spent on-call at the workplace. Time on-call away from the workplace.
Paid and some unpaid overtime. Unpaid overtime for which a worker has volunteered, e.g. staying late to finish something off3.                 
Any other time that is treated as “working time” under a contract. Paid or unpaid holiday.
Job-related training. Evening and day-release classes not related to work.
Time spent working abroad, in some cases.

 1 – Maximum weekly working hours (on the UK Government website).
2 – 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.
3 – While the Government guidance explains that this type of voluntary overtime is not included in working time, it is likely that, where an employee volunteers for overtime at the employer’s request, this would count as working time.

Travel Time

Travel time can sometimes be included. Working time includes travelling where it is an integral part of the job, for example in the case of a travelling sales executive or a mobile repair person. This includes travel during normal working hours and travel between sites or clients since the travelling is an essential part of the work.

In 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 the European Court of Justice held that where workers do not have a fixed or habitual place of work, the time spent by those workers travelling each day between their homes and the premises of the first and last customers designated by the employer constitutes working time under the Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC).

If you would like some HR advice and input into your employment contracts or understanding how to calculate your employee’s working time, please give us a call on 01473 360160. We can provide ad-hoc advice to support your business with HR policies, training and strategic direction.

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