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When working time is travel time

View profile for Phil Cookson
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Following the earlier Advocate General’s opinion, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that where a worker has no fixed place of work, the time spent travelling to their first appointment and back home from their last does, indeed, count as 'working time' under the Working Time Regulations.

The reason given for the decision, which involved a group of technicians in Spain, was that whilst travelling to customer premises (an integral part of the role of maintaining equipment), the worker is under the control of the employer and an employer could change the worker’s route.

Employers who have staff without a fixed place of work, such as maintenance engineers and others who travel to customer premises, may need to review their employment contracts and the method by which they calculate the hours worked.  They may also need to consider asking their employees to sign an opt-out agreement, if the inclusion of travel time takes them over the 48 hour limit (but remember - employers always remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees).

For further information on how the ruling may affect your business, please contact our employment law team.