EU courts rule that travelling to work ‘is work’

21 September 2015

The EU has ruled that any employee without a fixed office should regard time spent travelling to a job as ‘working’ time. The government has admitted this could raise costs considerably for businesses.

This will affect a host of companies who may employ sales reps, carers, tradesman, etc.

The EU court passed the working time legislation to protect the “health and safety of workers”. This means that no worker in the UK is able to work an average of more than 48 hours a week, unless they opt out of the 48 hour limit.

This ruling could mean that a sizeable majority of British companies will have to hire more staff to remain within the law.

Unsurprisingly business groups are less than happy with the ruling.

Allie Renison, the head of trade policy at the Institute of Directors, said the European Court of Justice had “become a red-tape machine, tormenting firms across Europe.”

A Conservative MP has also discussed how smaller firms will be affected the most,

“This could add significantly to the costs of businesses and interfere with long-established business practices. It could hit smaller firms particularly and that would be bad for growth and bad for jobs.”

Commenting on the case, Gillian McAteer, Citation’s Employment Law Team Manager, said

“The businesses that will be hardest hit are those where the inclusion of travelling time at each end of the working day will take the employees over the average 48-hour week or leave the employees with less than 11 hours daily rest between working days. Either way, the likely effect is an increase in costs for the employer.”

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