The European Court of Justice has given a significant ruling that for mobile workers with no fixed place of work, travel time to and from their first and last appointments from home will count as a worker’s working hours.
Does your business employ workers with no fixed place of work? If so, what impact might this ruling have on your business? Here, Genus Law summarises the recent ruling and sets out the key points to be aware of.
On first view, this judgment appears onerous, but when considering the underlying principles of the Working Time Directive, the ruling is not that surprising. The purpose of the Directive is to protect workers’ health and safety in terms of maximum hours worked, rest breaks and annual leave, which all relate to the a worker’s “working time”.
Any period during which the worker is at work, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his or her activity or duties is considered as ‘working time’. The ECJ has now held for workers without a fixed or habitual place of work, where travelling is an integral part of being a worker, and the workers’ journeys are a necessary means of providing services to customers, then they are regarded as carrying out their activity or duties during that time. For all these reasons, the travelling time has to be regarded as ‘working time’ under the Directive.
Key Points to Note
– The ruling only applies to workers without a fixed place of work
– It does not mean that businesses are necessarily liable to pay workers for this travel time
– It does mean that these hours need to be included when calculating a worker’s maximum weekly hours, rest breaks and annual leave.