Travelling Time counts as Working Time

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 from the last customer back to their homes as “working time”, was the opinion of the Advocate General in the case of Federación de Servicios Privados del Sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and anor. Why? Because it is an integral part of the work and is a necessary means of providing services to the customers; as such, is should be regarded as forming part of the workers’ activities as opposed to being regarded as a rest break. The European Court of Justice will give its judgment later this year but it is likely to follow the Advocate General’s opinion.

What does this mean for English companies and their workers? Travel time where travel is part of the job, such as a travelling sales rep, will normally be treated as “working time”; however, there may be exceptions. The real test is whether the worker is working, carrying out their duties, and at the employer’s disposal.

This case directly addresses some of the fears that employers might have on this interpretation of working time, one of them being that this would allow workers to take advantage of the journeys at the beginning and end of the day to carry on their personal business. The simple suggestion offered here was that employers could put into place the necessary monitoring procedures to avoid any such abuse. Until a definitive answer is provided by the judgment of this case, employers would be well advised to regard this category of travel time for this category of worker, as “working time”.

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