The ECJ has recently held that travelling time at the beginning and the end of the day to and from customers’ premises should count as working time.
This case concerns a Spanish security company which employs around 75 mobile technicians. The technicians work from client premises, and do not go to office premises at all.
Their employer, Tyco Security, did not want to pay them for the first and last journeys of the day. This is in in line with the way many companies want to work at the moment, so that they can reduce head office overhead, simply sending staff from customer to customer.
In this case, the European Court of Justice applied the following tests:
- Was travelling an integral part of being an employee? They answered this in the affirmative: it was an essential part of the job that the employees travelled to customer premises.
- Were journeys subject to the authority of the employer? Again, they answered this in the affirmative as the employers could change the order of visits, cancel appointments, and generally dictate those journeys, some of which could be extremely long and of up to 100km.
- Was travel an inherent part of the performance of the work activities? The answer to this was in the affirmative, for the reasons set out in the “integral part” test.
This case could have profound implications for companies who operate mobile workforces, do not pay first and last journey time, and are paying variable hourly rates for work and/or near the minimum wage. Wages may need to be increased, and whether or not staff’s working time exceeds the minimum average of 48 hours a week will need to be assessed.