Employment lawyer, Philip Landau of Landau Law explains what the new ruling means.
If you are working for an employer without a fixed or regular place of work, you could be entitled to more pay or a reduction in hours after a European Court of Justice ruling yesterday.
Under present UK government guidelines, time spent travelling at work does count towards your working hours. However “normal travel to and from work” and “travelling outside normal working hours” does not.
The new ruling means that time spent travelling to and from first and last appointments by workers without a fixed office should be regarded as working time. This is mainly going to affect companies who employ staff whose primary duties are to carry out customer or client visits such as care workers, gas fitters, plumbers and sales representatives.
Why has the judgement been made?
The ECJ said its judgement was about protecting the "health and safety" of workers as set out in the EU’s working time directive. As mobile workers are at the employer’s disposal for the time of the journeys, it was considered that they consequently cannot use that time freely to pursue their own interests.
What is the effect of the new ruling?
As with many new rulings of this nature, employers will need to get to grips with what it means to their business and face requests from staff to accommodate the changes. Eventually, an employment tribunal may end up ruling on how it is expected to work in practice, or address some of the finer details of the new rules that have not been able to be resolved in the workplace.