Travelling to work can count as working time

Posted 11th September 2015

Written by Tiggy Clifford

Under a new ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the time that some workers spend travelling to work can count as ‘working time’ for the purposes of the 48 hour working week.

This ruling applies:

  • Where workers have no fixed or habitual place of work – for example sales or engineering staff who travel from their own home to appointments on behalf of their employer;
  • To the time spent by those workers travelling between their home and their first and last appointments of the day;
  • Even if the workers are not undertaking the key parts of their role or using the skills for which they were employed during the travelling time; and
  • Even if it up to those workers to decide their own itineraries and/or routes.

Yet again, the ECJ has interpreted the Working Time Regulations in favour of workers on the basis that the regulations are intended to protect the health and safety of those workers by restricting their working time and allowing for clear “rest periods”.

This ruling will impact any employer with peripatetic staff.  We can advise on:

  • How this ruling impacts on your staff;
  • Whether, and if so how, your staff should opt out of the 48 hour working week; and
  • How you might want to structure payscales to differentiate between travelling and working time.

If you have any queries on this, or any other employment law matter, please do get in touch.

The employment law team at Newtons Solicitors pride themselves on providing clear, practical advice and can help you through this legal minefield.  For a free discussion, please contact Tiggy Clifford (tiggy@newtons.co.uk or 0800 038 5500).