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Travel time counted as working time?

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  • Travel time counted as working time?

    So, this might be a long one but hopefully someone can help out.

    Basically our company does not see travel time as working time. I work for a company in the broadcast industry and I work 220 days a year. Around 30 of those days are in our "Base" and the rest are out on the road working in different places each day (sometimes its commuting between home and a place for a week, other times it could be 5 different places a week, again from home)
    The current "rule" is that if we are to take a company vehicle from our base, the working time starts when we get in that car, and finishes when we get back to base.
    If we were drive from home to the place of work directly in our own vehicle then the working time starts when we get to site, and ends when we finish on site (even if home is closer than base)

    I have always thought this was wrong, with potentially 2 hours drive each way not being counted and therefore turning a normal working hours day into a very long one.

    I would see us as Peripatetic workers - "A peripatetic worker is someone who works in multiple locations. It refers to someone who works away from their normal work base, or can also refer to someone who has no fixed work base"

    ACAS says the following "Working time is the period when someone is working at their employer's disposal and carrying out activities or duties. -
    This can include -
    • travel if it forms part of the worker's duties, for example a travelling sales person
    What isn't included:
    • Routine travel between home and work
    Now I guess it is hard to define "Routine" travel between home and work, when your place of work can be anywhere in the country and not exactly "Routine". And I would argue that the travel between Home and the place of work puts me at my Employers Disposal (they tell me where to go, I go there)

    The 2015 European Court case (http://curia.europa.eu/juris/documen...ir=&cid=746970) states that:-
    ‘For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:

    1. “working time” means any period during which the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activity or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice;

    The workers won there case and it was concluded that travel time to and from home WAS included as working time.

    Our company says that they sought legal advice which said that because we work in broadcasting that we are exempt and that some of the Working Time Directive does not apply to us because of the following
    3. In accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article derogations may be made from Articles 3, 4, 5, 8 and 16:
    1. (c) in the case of activities involving the need for continuity of service or production, particularly:-
    2. (iii) press, radio, television, cinematographic production, postal and telecommunications services, ambulance, fire and civil protection services;

    I dont see how that has anything to do with it though?

    Any help would be appreciated, sorry for the long post!
    Tags: None

  • #2
    I see what you mean.

    You are saying:
    Travelling time is working time.

    They are saying:
    Because we work in broadcasting we are exempt from the rules on daily rest, rest breaks, weekly rest periods, length of night work and reference periods.

    So, it appears that they're not responding to the issue raised.
    (BTW, if they were to properly read what they've quoted they might realise that paragraph 2 does not say that they are exempt at all.)

    What are you trying to achieve here? Is it compliance with the 48 hour Maximum weekly working time?


    • #3
      Perhaps I should have said that we work 220 days. Our working day is 13 hours, anything over the 13 hours is counted as another half a day off our total. So I guess anything that helps a day become a "Long Day" gets our days done sooner (we do ALOT of 13 hour plus days)

      Currently if we are working on a multiple day jobs we get a hotel only if we have less than 11 hours between shifts, which is good as it saves us driving home late at night.
      So if more days are counted as long days, tipping the balance into more hotels and less late night drives that is what we are after.
      Also the fact that if we take our own cars from home it isn't being counted as working time which is highly annoying when half of the time it is a lot easier to do so.

      A lot of us signed out of the Working Time Directive also, so the 48 hour maximum does not bother us as it is part of the territory, I wonder if us signing out of it bears any relevance to this?


      • #4
        OK, you need to tell them that the legal advice doesn't address the issue you raised. It appears that they've misunderstood and think your concern is insufficient rest time.

        It isn't. Your issue is that, Travelling time = Working time.

        So, you need to present the issue in terms that they are more likely to understand. Try something like this:

        Under the Company's current rules:
        1) If employee A starts a journey at the base using a company vehicle, to travel to and from an assignment, the Company treats the time spent travelling to and from the assignment as working time.
        2) If employee A starts a journey at home using their own vehicle, to travel to and from an assignment, the Company treats the time spent travelling to and from the assignment as rest time.

        An individual hour must be either work time or rest time, the same hour can't be both.
        In both cases employee A is carrying out exactly the same activities. i.e. Travelling to and from the place assigned by the employer.
        Therefore, both qualify as working time, neither qualify as rest time.

        You can then go on to explain why this matters to you, "Long days" etc.

        A compromise used by some employers is to deduct the first half an hour of travel each way, effectively treating that time as 'Routine travel between home and work'. You might suggest that.


        • #5
          Might be a red herring, but do they pay mileage for you to use your own vehicle & do they insist that you have business vehicle insurance. If this is the case are they not agreeing that whilst you are driving your vehicle you are working.
          Sorry i'm just thinking out loud, it might be irrelevant, I am not employed in anyway in the legal profession, please ensure you research any advice I give before using it I have been known to be wrong on multiple occasions.


          • #6
            Phaeton makes a good point. If they pay you mileage, for your travelling time, that suggests an acknowledgement that you are at the employer's disposal during the journey.

            Another one is that the definition of "working time" is in WTD Article 2 no derogations are allowed from Article 2.


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