In the 2015 case of Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the time that mobile workers with no fixed workplace spent driving to their first job, and driving home from their last job, was ‘working time’ as defined in the Working Time Regulations 1998. This means that you should add in the driving time to and from work to the working hours of anyone within your business classed as a mobile worker and check whether, taking account of this, any of these workers are working more than the 48 hour weekly limit under the regulations. If they are, and it is appropriate to do so, you should consider asking relevant employees to agree in writing to opt-out of the 48 hour working week provision and keep a copy of the agreement on file.
The issue of whether mobile workers should be paid for the time spent driving to their first job and home from their last job was not addressed in the Tyco case, but it was addressed earlier this year by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Thera East v Valentine. In this case, the tribunal held that just because the travelling time of a mobile worker with no fixed place of work is classed as working time, it does not follow that there is an automatic right for such a worker to be paid for this time. The Working Time Regulations set out issues such as rest periods and maximum weekly hours, but they do not address pay.
In view of the decision in this case, if you have mobile workers you need to decide whether your contracts of employment should provide for time spent travelling to and from work to be paid or not. In either case, you need to make your position clear in your contracts so that workers know from the outset whether payment will or will not be made.
For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please call us on 0203 740 2360 or email [email protected].