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Travel time to first job of the day European Court confirms it counts as working time

31st October 2015
In June we wrote about the preliminary ruling on the question of travel time counting as working time. The Advocate General (who gives the first preliminary ruling in any European Court case) concluded that time spent travelling to the first job of the day counts as "working time" for workers that did not have a fixed place of work.$0The European Court has now given its final ruling on this matter, and has basically agreed with the preliminary decision of the Advocate General. $0$0The case involved workers that install and maintain security equipment in homes and businesses. They could travel up to 100km in each day. They would keep in touch with their client by mobile telephone and were generally not require to travel to an office or a central location apart from the need to collect tools and materials. $0$0The employer argued that the time spent travelling was "rest time" on the basis that they were not carrying out the installation or maintenance work at those times. The employer also argued that each worker had autonomy over their itinerary and the routes they took each day.$0$0The court rejected the arguments put by the employer, reaching the conclusion that the travel time was essential to the work, as so was an integral part of the work and as necessary means of providing the services to their customers. In addition it concluded that as the employer determined the list of customers and the times that each customer was visited, that the workers were not free to use their time as they pleased. Accordingly it concluded that the time spent travelling to the first customer (as well as time spent travelling between customers) counted as working time. In the ruling the court rejected an argument put by the UK government that the conclusion would lead to an inevitable increase in costs for the employer.The court concluded on this point that it was up to the employer to determine the pay for the travel time and up to each country within the EU to make appropriate provisions over the method of remuneration.$0$0The ruling applies to those businesses that have customers at sites to which the workers inevitably have to travel, where there is no set normal place of work. It is our view that the ruling will not apply to those workers that only have to travel to a different site on odd occasions where it is not a normal and intrinsic requirement of their work. So businesses that require their employees to be mobile and routinely travel to their customer's premises this ruling with have an impact, as they will need to ensure that the employees are paid for the travel time to the first place of work. This may require steps to be taken to monitor journeys and travel time, and time recording.$0$0At Hallett Employment Law Services we can help employers produce the required policies and procedures to assist in dealing with the consequences of this ruling. Do not hesitate to contact us.             $0
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