Time spent travelling to and from work may count as working time

The European Court of Justice decision handed down today (10 September), decreeing that time spent travelling to and from work counts as working time for some employees, could have a significant impact for some employers.

In Federación de Servicios Privados del Sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another the Court considered whether Spanish employees who did not have a fixed place of work could be said to be working whilst they travelled from home to their first appointment of the day and home again from their last appointment. Their employer did not class this as working time, even though the employee could be required to travel substantial distances each day in order to reach their first appointment, or to return home.

Following the Advocate General’s opinion which was given in June, the Court concluded that this time did count as working time for the purposes of the Working Time Directive. The fact that the order of appointments were decided by the employer, not the employee, seems to have been a relevant factor in the decision, as does the fact that the travelling was an integral and necessary part of the employee’s role; the decision to have employees travel from their homes rather than a branch of the employer’s business was made by the employer, not the employees and so the employees were under the employer’s direction at all relevant times, not free to do as they pleased.

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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.


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Joanne Frew


I am a Director in the Employment team, specialising in both contentious and non-contentious employment issues and employment law training.