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  • Travel time is included in the working day for mobile workers

    Travelling to and from first and last appointments should be regarded as working time for workers without a fixed office.

    A recent case has given rise to the changes effecting the Working Time Directive whereby the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that mobile workers without a fixed office base (peripatetic workers) should have their journey time included within their working day.

    Previously travel from an employee’s home to their place of work is not counted within the working day and does not have to be paid, and this will remain true for those workers with a fixed office base.

    Travel time mobile workers

    The case in question was one of a Spanish Security System Installation Firm, Tyco Integrated Security. Federacion de Servicios Privados v Tyco Integrated Security. This case will in future affect how working hours and rest periods are calculated compared to the current calculations.

    In this case the ECJ ruled that adding on additional travel time due to the employer’s choice of moving office was “contrary to the objective of protecting the safety and health of workers” set out by the Working Time Directive. Tyco Integrated Security were not including the first and last journey of the day (home to the first appointment and from the last appointment home) as part of the working day and therefore considering this time as a ‘rest period’ under the Working Time Directive. For a clearer picture of the rules around driving hours and rest periods see our infographic.

    The effect on fleets

    The ruling will have significant effect on fleets employing mobile workers spending a large amount of time travelling to appointments. Including travel time in working time will clearly lead to higher costs for businesses, and they will now have to carefully consider the judgment’s implications. Some employers may wish to re-evaluate their remuneration structures as a result and for those well-paid employees there may be some flexibility, however minimum wage employers will feel the impact.

    Clearer consideration will need to be given in terms of assigning jobs closer to home at the beginning and end of the day in terms of scheduling. Employers will also need to check that mobile employees with no fixed base are able to take at least 11 hours' rest between getting home at night and setting off again the following morning. This will result in careful planning and additional rest breaks required for peripatetic workers may require additional staff picking up the slack.

    Those not considering the impact fully and keeping on top of working hours could quickly find themselves operating illegally and at risk of substantial fines. As a Fleet Manager it is probably wise also to consider procedures and policies to help guard against abuse and the possibility of workers deliberately taking detours on their way home.

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