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When Does the Working Day Start?

It can be as soon as you leave your front door advises Employment Lawyer Paula Stuart.  Working time for those who do not have a fixed or habitual place of work is likely to include the time travelling from home to the first customer and from their last customer to home.

This follows the Advocate General’s opinion arising out of a Spanish case Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO.) and Tyco Integrated Security SL and Tyco Integrated Fire & Security Corporation Servicios SA. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been asked to consider the question of what constitutes working time.  In this case technicians were required to travel to customer premises, which could be as far as 100km away from their home. Their travel time to and from the customer was regarded as rest time rather than working time.   The Advocate General’s opinion is not binding but it is usually followed by the ECJ, which will give its final judgment later this year.

The Working Time Regulations (Regulations) impose a limit of 48 hours average working time per week although individuals may choose to work longer by ‘opting out’.  They also provide for 11 consecutive hours’ rest in any 24 hour period. The question of travel to and from customers has always been unclear for the purposes of the Regulations but it is likely that the ECJ’s final decision will provide some clarity in respect of this.

Paula suggests that ‘Employers should review the contracts and working patterns of their workers to ensure they are not in breach of the Regulations. It now appears likely that working time, for those workers who do not have a fixed or habitual place of work, will start as soon as the worker begins the journey to the first customer and will not end until they arrive home.’

If you require any advice in respect of this, or any other employment matter, please contact Paula Stuart at pstuart@geoffreyleaver.com or on 01908 689345.