The European Court of Justice has ruled today that for workers with no fixed office, travel should count as working time under the EU Working Time Directive. All commuting to and from appointments will be treated as part of a day’s work.
This decision will affect a large number of mobile workers including by way of example sales people, installation engineers and care workers.
The decision was passed following a legal battle between employers of a Spanish security firm and their employees. In this case, the employer did not count the time its employees travelled to and from their first and last appointments as forming part of the working day. This meant that employees were not paid for the time they spent commuting. The court decided that time travelling to the first and last appointment was working time as the employees were carrying out their duties on behalf of their employer; were at the employer’s disposal and were ‘at work’.
The directive will affect all sizes of companies across the UK. The importance of the voluntary individual opt out from working time rules will be vital to ensure the system works in the UK.
Any employer who fails to abide by the ruling will be in breach of the EU Working Time Directive and risks serious penalties. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have said “we are carefully considering the implications of this judgment” following criticism of the decision from a number of business groups.
Please contact Nick Phillips at Beswicks Legal on 01782 205000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice on how it will affect your business.