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What you need to know about Travel Time

11th Nov 2016
Employee Benefits, Employment Law, Human Resources, Payroll

Travel time is working time for mobile workers with no fixed base. How can you know what is covered?

On 24th September 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that travel between a mobile worker’s home and the first and last customer of the day is ‘working time’.

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).

The key European ruling may have far reaching consequences for any UK business employing workers with no fixed or habitual place of work. Employers with a mobile workforce will need to take note of this decision and its consequences for both working time and pay.

Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, working time is defined as any period during which a worker is working, at his or her employer’s disposal and carrying out his or her activities or duties, or receiving relevant training. For example, where travelling is an integral part of the job (travelling sales executive or a mobile repair person). This travel during normal working hours and travel between sites or clients since the travelling is an essential part of the work and so should be included in their working time.

The Government provides guidance¹ on what this includes.

What should be included

• Time spent travelling for workers who have to travel as part of their job, eg travelling sales representatives or 24-hour plumbers
• 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 day ².
• Working lunches, e.g. business lunches.
• Time spent on call at the workplace.
• Paid and some unpaid overtime.
• Any other time that is treated as “working time” under a contract.
• Job-related training.
• Time spent working abroad, in some cases.

What should NOT be included

• Normal travel to and from work i.e. commuting.
• Travelling outside normal working hours.
• Breaks when no work is done, e.g. lunch breaks.
• Time on call away from the workplace.
• Unpaid overtime for which a worker has volunteered, e.g. staying late to finish something off ³.
• Paid or unpaid holiday.
• Evening and day-release classes not related to work.

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.

So, what next…

If you have any questions or concerns about how any of the issues raised in this article could, or do, affect your business, please feel free to give us a call to discuss your options. You can also take advantage of a free, face to face consultation with Carole Burman. We’re a friendly bunch and really keen to make a difference to your business by finding a solution that works for you so call us on 01473 360160.

Brilliant service and advice from MAD-HR.   Thank you so much, you’ve made the process of taking on our first employee an absolute breeze! Highly recommended.