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New legislation for mobile workers

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When does your working day start? The European Court recently ruled that mobile workers start the moment they get in their car.
As you may be aware from the recent national press attention, there has been a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice in the case of Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL relating to the working time of mobile workers.

The European Court made a ruling which means that for any mobile worker who has no set base of employment his or her working starts the moment he or she gets into their car or van at the beginning of the day and finishes when he or she pulls onto the driveway at home at the end of the day.

Previously it was considered that such an employee’s working day started as soon as he or she reached the destination of the first appointment and ended as soon as he or she had left the last appointment of the day. The reason why the European Court reached its decision was that it considered that those employees were at the disposal of the employer during the period of travel at the beginning and end of the day and the employee could not pursue his or her own interests in that time.

How does it affect your business?

The ruling will affect those businesses employing mobile workers with no fixed base of employment. This could include a number of roles such as sales people, mobile service technicians, and carers who carry out home visits. Those businesses who employ workers of this type should consider taking one of the following steps to reduce the impact of the ruling:

  • assigning a home base to the employee which he or she needs to attend prior to setting out to the first appointment
  • ensuring that the first and last appointments are scheduled to be close to the worker’s home
  • or requiring the employees to opt out of the 48 hour working time week.

It is important for employers to note that the ruling only effects working time and not pay. You will not need to pay your employees for the travel time to and from the first and last appointments of the day, but of course if you pay your mobile workers an hourly rate then the travel time will now need to be included in that calculation and it may affect pay for any mobile workers paid the national living wage.

If you feel that your business could be affected by this ruling then please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced solicitors in our Employment Law Department.

Contact us on 01708 229 444 or click here to visit our Employment Law contact page.


This article was written by Damian Pitts, an Associate Solicitor in our Dispute Resolution Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. This article is only intended to provide a general summary and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at September 2015. 
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