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INSIGHT: Peripatetic workers’ travel time can be classed as ‘working time’

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Does your business employ workers who travel from home to different sites?

If yes, you need to be aware of a recent decision of the European Court of Justice . It was held that the time workers without a fixed or habitual place of work spent travelling daily between their homes and the premises of their first and last customer (as designated by their employer), is “working time” for the purposes of the Working Time Directive.  Such workers are therefore entitled to be paid for that time.

"Working time" is defined as any time the worker is working, at the employer's disposal; and carrying out their activity or duties in accordance with national laws and/or practice.

Neither the directive nor the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) specify whether travel to and from a place of work or between places of work should be considered working time.

Non-statutory guidance on GOV.UK states that "time spent travelling for workers who have to travel as part of their job, e.g. travelling sales representatives or 24-hour plumbers" is included in working time, but that "normal travel to and from work" and "travelling outside of normal working hours" are not.

However, while the court’s decision was based on the particular facts, the judgment has introduced the possibility that some peripatetic workers may be entitled to be paid for previously unpaid travel time to and from their home.

Those businesses who employ workers travelling to different sites such as those in construction, care workers, travelling sales representatives and 24-hour plumbers could be affected by this decision.

If you want more information or advice on whether your business is affected, telephone Susan Mayall on 0161 785 3500 or email susan.mayall@pearsonlegal.co.uk

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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