Springhouse Solicitors

Working time can include travel to and from home

The Advocate General in the European Court has just held that drivers in Spain can count their journeys to and from home at the beginning and the end of the day as working time for the purposes of the Working Time Directive.

Background

In this case, the workers concerned did not have any place of work assigned to them. They are security engineers, and although they are notionally assigned to a particular office, they spend most of their time travelling around from assignment to assignment in their company vehicles. Their employer, Tyco Integrated Security SL, did not pay them for their journeys to and from their first and last assignments, treating this as unpaid ‘rest time’ instead.

The decision in this case turned on whether or not the time spent on these first and last journeys was time spent “at the disposal of the employer”. The Advocate General decided, given the hieratical nature of the relationship that they were at their employer’s disposal during these journeys. They should therefore be paid for this time as working time.

Implications

Although this case is due for a further hearing at the European Court itself, the position for mobile workers is now clear. The questions remains open whether or not this can be extended to any other journeys to a fixed place of work. The answer to this is likely to be no, but watch this space.