News & Legal Updates
Sign up to news & legal updates
A recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling has held that travelling time from home to customers is working time for the purposes of EU legislation.
What were the facts of the case?
The employer, Tyco Integrated Security, installed and maintained security systems using technicians who were employed to work in various provinces in Spain. In 2011, Tyco closed its regional offices and only maintained its head office in Madrid. The technicians worked from home using a company supplied vehicle to attend customers where they worked on site. The technicians raised a claim that the first journey of their day (from home to the first customer) should have been treated as working time for the purposes of the EU Working Time Directive.
What did the CJEU determine?
The CJEU determined that, in the case of workers who do not have a fixed or habitual place of work, time spent travelling each day between their homes and the premises of their first and last customers should qualify as working time. This ruling however only currently affects the definition of working time in the case of workers who are not assigned to a fixed or habitual place of work. Such workers could include care workers, salesmen, electricians and gas fitters.
Why should employers care?
Employers should be aware that this ruling means that UK courts and tribunals are required to interpret UK legislation in a way which is consistent with the European Directive. These regulations regulate rest periods, rest breaks and minimum periods of paid holiday. Employers should ensure that they are counting travelling time as working time for the purposes of these concepts.
Does this mean that some workers will be entitled to get paid for travelling time?
No. This ruling only affects the definition of working time under the Working Time Regulations (which do not govern pay). The National Minimum Wage Regulations cover pay. Since national minimum wage is a UK right, as opposed to a European right, this ruling should not affect pay for travelling time.
What should employers do in response to this ruling?
- Employers should assess whether or not they employ any workers who fall within the definition of mobile workers.
- If they do, employers should immediately review their mobile workers’ contracts, with specific regard to references to pay and hours of work.
- Employers should also scrutinise workers’ working time patterns and ensure that any “mobile workers” are either not exceeding the 48 hour limit or have signed a Working Time Regulations Opt-Out. Mobile workers’ rest periods and rest breaks should also be reviewed.
If in doubt, take advice now.
Partner & Head of Employment Law
The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.
Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.
Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.
Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.
© Blackadders LLP 2021
Members of the Law Society of Scotland.
Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.Back to News & Legal Updates