Workers, who have no fixed place of work, should ensure their employer counts the time they spend travelling to and from customers or clients premises as working time following a European Court of Justice ruling last week in Federacion de Servicios Privados del Sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and anor.

The workers in this case worked as technicians for Tyco, installing and maintaining anti-theft security systems in premises across a geographical region. The workers have the use of a company car and travel from their home to the various premises and back home again every day. This sometimes involves great distances with journeys of up to three hours.

Tyco only counted the hours from when the worker arrived at the first customer’s premises to the time the worker left the last customers premises as working time. It treated travel to the first customer and back from the last customer as a rest period.

The ECJ held this was wrong and that the time they spent travelling should be treated as working time. In reaching its decision the Court took into account what happened previously when Tyco had regional offices. Then working time ran from when the worker picked up the vehicle and job sheet from the office until they returned to the office. The ECJ saw no difference between the time spent travelling to the regional office and back again to time spent travelling from the workers home and back again. In both cases the worker was carrying out their duties and at the employer’s disposal.

Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors said “This decision provides some welcome clarification of what counts as working time. Workers who have no fixed place of work and who spend time travelling to and from customers’ premises should ensure that they are being paid for their travel time.

To read the full judgement, go to: