Travel Time as Working Time

Gillian Cumming
Gillian Cumming
Senior Solicitor
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The Working Time Regulations have been in the spotlight for some time now, mostly due to the recent spate of cases regarding the calculation of holiday pay.

This update concerns the Working Time Directive (the European origin of the UK’s related Regulations) and when travel time counts as working time.

The European Court of Justice was asked to decide whether the time spent travelling to and from home was working time for the purposes of the Directive, where the employees concerned installed security systems across a wide geographical area, with no fixed place of work.

According to the Advocate General (AG), the answer is yes. He said that there are three aspects to working time: being at the workplace, at the disposal of the employer and engaged in work duties.

The AG considered that all three aspects were fulfilled in this case. Travelling was such an integral part of the job that the workplace was wider than only the clients’ premises, and the routes and destinations were set by the employer. Furthermore, the fact that travel was such a fundamental part of the role meant that the employees were engaged in work duties even when travelling to and from home.

The AG went on to distinguish between rest time and working time. He stated that rest time must not involve employment obligations, and therefore time spent travelling to and from jobs had to be working time.

The AG’s opinion is not binding on the Court but often is followed in practice.

The AG’s full opinion can be found at:

http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document_print.jsf?doclang=EN&text=&pageIndex=0&part=1&mode=req&docid=164944&occ=first&dir=&cid=343751

View our expert comments about Travel time as working time here.

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