What is Working Time?

2 September 2015

Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another

Advocate General Bot has given his opinion on a question referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerning what should be classed as ‘working time’. The question concerned whether time spent travelling at the beginning or end of the day by workers who did not have a fixed place of work is ‘working time’ or a ‘rest period’, as the Working Time Directive does not contain any provisions for situations falling in between the two.

In the Advocate General’s opinion, the travel time constitutes working time as it meets the three criteria that must be satisfied. These criteria stipulate that the worker must:

  • Be at the workplace;
  • Be at the disposal of the employer; and
  • Be carrying out their activities or duties.

Whilst this opinion is not binding on the ECJ, who are due to give their judgment in the coming weeks, the opinions of the Advocate General are usually followed. At present, this case does not have any material impact upon companies in the UK but it is certainly an issue that is likely to have ramifications in the UK in the near future. This may result in the need for many employers to pay employees for their journeys to and from work – which may well include you!

At Alpha, we ensure that all our members are kept up to date with any legal developments. If you would like to know more about how Alpha can help your business, please feel free to contact us.


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