A ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that forces employers to include mobile workers’ travelling time at the start and end of the day in pay will be particularly significant for low-paid workers, according to Norton Rose Fulbright partner Catrina Smith.
The court ruled that for workers with “no fixed or habitual place of work”, any time spent travelling to and from home to the premises of the first and last customers of the day must be counted as billable working time.
The case that prompted the ECJ to look at this originated in Spain, where employees used company vehicles to travel to customers’ premises in the regions after the local offices were shut down.
Smith believes that all employers should be aware of the new rules and check “whether the time spent travelling at the beginning and end of the day amounts to working time”.
“If so, they will need to check that the employees are having sufficient rest periods and not breaching the maximum weekly working hours,” she continued.
“They will also need to consider whether they wish to make any changes to remuneration structures to prevent increases in costs”.
Smith also made a distinction between the effect of the terms for higher-paid and lower-paid workers. She highlighted the changes around the number of hours worked by employees paid National Minimum Wage (NMW) as warranting particular attention.
“For well-paid employees there may be some flexibility, although issues may arise in agreeing any changes to the employee’s terms and conditions,” she said.
“For employees paid the national minimum wage to whom this may apply, employers will have less flexibility to change remuneration levels.”
Further reading: Moving from a consultant to an employee