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Travelling time to first job counts as working time

30th June 2015
Many jobs involve travelling from site to site throughout any given working day. Sometimes of course this can involve a lengthy journey from the employee's home to the first job, which can take a significant amount of time.$0The question of whether or not the time spent travelling to the first job in the day counts as "working time" is important to employers in making sure that their employees are paid correctly, and in keeping a track of the weekly working hours of their employees.$0$0In the Spanish case of Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras V Tyco Integrated Security SL the Advocate General has given the opinion that travelling workers who have no fixed or habitual workplace should be able to count the time spent travelling from home to the first customer and that from the last customer back to their homes counts as "working time" under the EU Working Time Directive. While the recommendation of the Advocate General is not binding on the final European Court,the recommendation is usually followed by the court.$0$0the case concerned a business which employed 75 people to install and maintain security equipment in homes and business premises. The workers were all ostensibly based in the centre of Madrid, but all were responsible for carry out work in a particular geographical area.To get to each work place the workers were given the use of a company vehicle, in which they would make all their journeys - including the journey from home to the first customer's site, and back home from the final customer's site. The length of journeys varied from day to day, but could exceed 100 kilometres. The company had a policy which stated that the first journey (ie to the first place of work) and the journey back home at the end of the day did not count as "working time." The workers challenged this policy.$0$0In giving the decision the Advocate General noted that "peripatetic" workers who are not assigned to a fixed or habitual place of work, the time that they spent travelling to their first job of the day, and back home from their last job should be counted as "working time." The Advocate General noted that time is classified in the Directive as either working time or rest, and so the time must be classified as one or the other.  The Advocate General noted that there are three aspects of "working time"; being 1) at the workplace, 2) at the disposal of the employer, and 3) engaged in work duties. In the case of the workers in this situation the Advocate General noted that the workers were travelling as a requirement of their job, and that destinations were determined by the employer, and that the travelling was an integral part of the job. Therefore the conclusion was that the time spent travelling to the first job of the day was actually "working time" in just the same way that time spent traveling between other jobs in the same day was "working time." The Advocate General rejected an argument on behalf of their employer that the workers could carry out personal business in the journey at the beginning of the day, and so it could not be working time. The Advocate General said that employers simply needed to put in place appropriate monitoring procedures to deal with such concerns.$0$0The case has a significant impact on businesses that require their staff to travel between sites for their job. Such employers will need to implement procedures that record the travel to the first job of the day (and return home from the last one), so that the workers are paid the correct amount (ie for all their working time) and that they are able to ensure that they have an accurate record of the weekly working hours of their staff.$0$0At Hallett Employment Law Services Ltd we can help you draw up appropriate policies and procedures to ensure compliance. If you need assistance with these issues please do not hesitate to contact us.        $0
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