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Travel time + Working hours = Total hours on job
HRK News Bureau | New Delhi | Monday, 14 September 2015

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In a landmark judgement by the European Court of Justice, the travel time to reach the place of work, in case there is no fixed place of work, and the return journey back home will be counted as working time under the law.

There are many people who spend around two hours commuting to the client’s office and another two hours on the return journey. This makes around four hours a day, which is almost half of the mandatory eight hours one is expected to put in in a regular job.

In a landmark judgement by the European Court of Justice, the travel time to reach the place of work, in case there is no fixed place of work, and the return journey back home will be counted as working time under the law.

Many professionals who work in clients’ offices and those in the sales and services industry will come under this purview.

It all started when Tyco, a Spanish security systems company, shifted all its employees to its central office in Madrid in 2011. As a result, employees had to drive over three hours covering 100 kilometres to reach their clients' homes, and the company did not count this as working time.

A legal case was filed and the court ruled that the travelling time to the client’s place will be included as working hours.

It said that the journey the workers undertake to the customers their employers designate, is a necessary means of providing their technical services at the premises of those customers. By not taking those journeys into account, Tyco was claiming that only the time spent carrying out the activity of installing and maintaining the security systems falls within the concept of working time, which distorts that concept and jeopardises the objective of protecting the safety and health of workers.

The ruling could also force companies in Europe, including the UK, to pay higher salaries to avoid breaking the minimum wages laws, as well as give employees more breaks.

Under the EU Working Time Directive, employees cannot work more than 48 hours in a week unless they choose to.

© 2016 HR Katha

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