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Case law: Employee time travelling to and from home to jobs can be working time

Employers should check whether any employees have no fixed place of work and travel from home to their first job of the day, and back home after their last job of the day: time spent travelling may amount to working time for the purposes of the working time rules.

Legal Alert

This update was published in Legal Alert – August 2015

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

Employees of a Spanish business were employed to install alarm systems. They were provided with a company vehicle and a work schedule, and travelled to different customers’ premises every day. They would pick up parts from a logistics centre at least once a week, but had no fixed place of work.

Their employer argued that for working time purposes, the time they spent going from their homes to their first job, and from their last job back to their homes, was not working time. However, time spent travelling from one customer to another was treated as working time.

The Spanish courts referred the issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Advocate General of the CJEU has given a preliminary opinion, saying that their time spent travelling to the first job, and to their homes from the last job, was working time for the purposes of the working time rules. He said that the test is whether, at a particular time, the employees were:

  • at the workplace
  • at the disposal of the employer
  • carrying out activities or duties of their job

He found that the fact they had no fixed place of work meant they were at work while travelling to and from home to a job in their vehicles. They were also under their employer’s instruction during that time.

The CJEU does not have to follow the Advocate General’s opinion, but in the majority of cases it does.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendations

  • Employers should check whether mobile employees who have no fixed place of work, who travel from home to their first job of the day, and back home after their last job of the day, are working during such travel time - so that it amounts to working time for the purposes of the working time rules

Case ref: Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras –v – Tyco, Case C 266/14

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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