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European Working Time Directive: Work Could Now Include Travelling Time

Posted on Wednesday 17th June 2015 by Neil Andrews

Employees are now more mobile than they were before thanks to better technology and more efficient working practices – and European law could change to reflect this.Neil Andrews - Partner, Coles Miller

Travelling time to work could now be counted as hours spent working for some employees under a legal change being proposed by European Advocate General Yves Bot.

It would affect ‘peripatetic workers’ – those who have no fixed base but instead travel to and from home to various places of work.

The AG’s proposed amendment to the European Working Time Directive follows the case of the Federación de Servicios Privados del Sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another.

Advocate General Bot recommends that highly mobile employees with no central workplace in real terms should be able be to count as work:

  • time spent travelling from home to their first job each day
  • time spent travelling from their last job back to their home each day.

He has rejected the employer’s view that employees may take advantage of the travelling time by using it for personal matters.

The good news for employers is that his finding is not binding at present: the bad news is that the European Court is likely to rubberstamp his decision later this year.

So what should employers do?

Use this precious window of time to review your working practices – notably whether any of your employees are peripatetic workers and what this means in relation to the Working Time Regulations.

And get in touch with our team of specialist employment law solicitors. Find out more about how they can help you.

The AG’s proposed changes are a timely prompt for you to review how your company complies with the Working Time Regulations 1998 (the legislation that introduced the European directive into UK law).

Above all, do not leave it too late to take action before the proposed changes come into force – this is clearly the direction that European law is taking so it would be foolish to try swimming against the tide.

The danger of getting it wrong could mean a potentially unlimited fine, being taken to employment tribunal and/or being ordered to change your ways and pay compensation.

Examine how the impending changes will affect your employees’ working days and their legal entitlement to rest periods under the Working Time Regulations.

For expert legal advice on how best to comply with the regulations, contact Coles Miller employment law solicitor Neil Andrews, 01202 673011.

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