Should you get paid for your daily commute?

29th June 2015

Should you get paid for your daily commute?

commuteDo you have employee sales reps or other workers who have no fixed base of work and who travel to appointments to see customers? If so, then you’ll want to keep tabs on a case which is working its way towards the European Court of Justice.

In Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another, the issue was whether time spent by security maintenance technicians, who were home-based but had to respond to call outs to fix alarms on customer’s sites, should have travelling time to and from their first and last customers counted towards working time for the purposes of the Working Time Directive.

In order to count as working time, the employee has to be at their employer’s disposal, and when they were travelling to and from home, it was difficult to see how they met that part of the test. The Advocate General has said that the travel time does still count – and so this would have to be counted towards the 48 hour working week and also be taken into account when considering daily and weekly rest breaks. The Advocate General’s decisions are not binding on the ECJ, but they are usually followed. Of course, the concern for employers is the risk that this could be abused by employees, if they were to undertake personal business as part of those journeys – for example taking children to school or incorporating a quick food shop en-route. In the Advocate General’s view, that would be for the employer to monitor and deal with as a disciplinary issue. We’ll see what the final outcome is when the ECJ considers the case shortly.

If this decision goes through is upheld then you are going to need to review your contracts if you employ workers whose base is their home and who travel to clients as part of their duties. If you don’t currently pay them for their travel to and from home, you soon might have to. If you want your contracts of employment reviewed or any advice on the ramifications of this case, contact Andrew West on 01473 298102 or email

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