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Travelling to and from work is working time for mobile workers

Posted on 28th September 2015
Case law

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has concluded that peripatetic employees' travel time to and from clients' premises at the start and end of a day is working time.

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Julie Temple Julie
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for time to be classified as 'working time' a worker must be at work, at the employer's disposal and carrying out his activity or duties

Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO.) v Tyco Integrated Security SL, Tyco Integrated Fire & Security Corporation Servicios SA (September 2015)

The facts

The employees installed and maintained anti-theft security systems. They were mobile (peripatetic) workers with no fixed place of work and travelled each day to and from clients' premises in a company vehicle from their homes. Travel time could be as much as three hours each day. They were not paid for these hours.

They had previously been based at regional offices but these had been closed by their employer, Tyco, in 2011.

The decision

The ECJ stated that, for time to be classified as 'working time', a worker must be "at work, at the employer's disposal and carrying out his activity or duties."

In this case the ECJ concluded that the workers' travel time for the first and last journey of the day to and from clients' premises was working time as:-

1. The worker was carrying out his activity or duties:-
Travel to and from the clients' premises was a "necessary means of providing . . . technical services."

2. The worker was at the employer's disposal:-
During the travel time the worker could not "use their time freely and pursue their own interests so . . . they are at their employer's disposal."

3. The worker must be working:-
As the worker was "carrying out his duties during his journey" he "must also be regarded as working during that journey."


It was clearly an important factor in the ECJ's decision that Tyco had removed the regional offices but it is unclear just how important.

Any employer with employees and workers who work from home and travel to and from clients' premises should review their position as soon as possible to assess the potential impact of this decision.

This decision impacts not only on what is and what is not working time, and therefore potential breach of the maximum working week, rest periods etc., but also could result, inadvertently, in breaches of the national minimum wage.

If you are at all concerned about how this decision affects your organisation get in touch with the team at Quantrills today. 

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