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14 Sep 2015

EU rules workers must be paid for travelling

The European Court of Justice has ruled that workers without a fixed office should be paid for the time spent travelling between appointments, BBC News reports.

Until now, firms that employed staff in roles such as plumbing, gas fitting and care work did not consider time spent travelling to be part of the working day.

However, an enduring legal case in Spain caused the European Union to rethink its stance on the matter. Security system Tyco closed its regional offices back in 2011, meaning that staff had to travel long distances before they could begin their working day.

According to the court ruling, “The fact that the workers begin and finish the journeys at their homes stems directly from the decision of their employer […] and not from the desire of the workers themselves.”

It added that forcing these employees to “bear the burden of their employer´s choice” would go against the goals of the EU´s working time directive – a policy that was put in place to protect employees from exploitation and ensure that they have adequate working hours, breaks and holiday.

One of the directive´s key objectives is to ensure that no European employee is required to work more than 48 hours per week.

Speaking to the BBC, Irwin Mitchell solicitor Chris Tutton noted that, “Thousands of employers may now potentially be in breach of working time regulation rules in the UK.”

Meanwhile, BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman predicted that the ruling would have a “huge effect,” with employers potentially having to re-arrange work schedules “to ensure workers´ first and last appointments are close to their homes.”

Copyright M2 Bespoke 2015

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