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European Court rules workers must be paid for their journey to work

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The European Court of Justice has ruled that for certain employees, their journey to work should be classed as part of their working day.  

The ruling follows a case in the European Court of Justice in which employees of a Spanish company who installed security systems, sought to argue that it was unfair that they should not be paid for the time spent travelling to appointments. The case was sparked by the closure of the company’s regional offices which led to the workers having to travel much further before starting work.

The ruling only affects workers who do not have a fixed place of work and would include professions in which it is necessary for employees to travel to appointments such as carers and trades people.   

It was decided that in order for employers to comply with the Working Time Directive which sets out when workers should be allowed to take breaks and how many hours workers can be requested to work each week, travelling to and from appointments must be classed as work. It was felt that if this time was not considered part of their working day, workers would not be getting sufficient rest breaks and this would have a negative impact on their health and safety.

This decision, which affects all EU member states including the UK, could have major implications for businesses as employees who may have to travel long distances to get to their first appointment and to get home at the end of their working day, will now have to be paid for their time spent travelling. It is clear that in order to reduce the financial impact on their businesses, employers will now to have to take time to consider how they can plan appointments so that workers do not have to travel as far each day.

 If you feel that you have been affected by this issue and would like further advice, our team can be contacted on 0175 321 6399.

By Lucy Hallett, litigation executive in the dispute resolution team