By Lyndsey Hall
The European Court of Justice ruled last Thursday that “mobile employees”, those who travel between their homes and the premises of their jobs without having a habitual office, should count their travel time to and from their first and last jobs of the day as part of their working hours. The ruling relates to the Working Time Directive, which states that workers must not exceed 48 hours per week on average, including any overtime, plus a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in every 24. In the UK, employees can choose to opt out of this directive.
Under the ruling, care workers and workmen, such as plumbers and electricians, could be affected. Some employees could even be working an extra 10 hours a week including their travel time. The ruling is unlikely to affect those who have a fixed office but also work remotely on occasion, no matter how long your commute. However, you may be able to argue your case depending on the amount of time spent outside the office.
Whilst the ruling only relates to working hours and conditions, it could eventually affect remuneration, as some employers could be paying less than minimum wage once travel time is taken into account. Whether this will result in pay increases or a reduction in hours, we will have to wait and see.
According to Chris Tutton from Irwin Mitchell, employers will probably start to ensure that workers’ first and last assignments are the closest to home, or even ask them to opt out of the directive.
“The UK Government will also be under pressure by unions and workers in relation to issues surrounding the National Minimum Wage Regulations to require employers to pay for this time…it could dramatically increase the payroll costs of businesses who employ low paid staff.”
If you liked this article, you may also like: