European judges have ruled that time spent travelling to and from first and last jobs by workers who do not have a fixed office base should be regarded as work.
This means that if you employ mobile workers you will now have to count the time they spend getting from home to their first appointment, and from their last appointment to home each day, as hours at work.
The most obvious employees who will be affected will be sales people and carers, as they do not have fixed offices but a series of appointments each day.
It is likely that as many as 975,000 people in the UK could fall under the remit of this ruling, meaning that your employees may be affected. And this could have a large impact on your business.
You will have to look at the hours your employees travel to and from their first and last appointments, and include that time in their working day. If you are employing people under the 48-hour maximum working week then you may find that they will exceed this when the travel time is included. This may mean having to reduce the number of appointments they attend. It could be worthwhile readjusting appointment locations for some of your employees.
You may also have to look at your employees’ wages as it may mean that an average hourly rate may actually fall under the minimum wage once travelling time is taken into account.
It is important to make sure that employees don’t abuse the travel to work time by carrying out personal business or errands. It may be helpful to ensure that your contracts of employment or company policies specify that when employees are on their way to an appointment, or coming home from their last one, that this is still company time and should only be used as such.
If you need legal advice regarding this new ruling, or help with changes to contracts, please contact Slater and Gordon’s specialist team of employment lawyers who are experts in helping businesses with all aspects of employment law.
Jim Lister is a Business Employment Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
Call us on freephone 0800 223 0535 or contact us online and we will call you back.