A recent European Court of Justice ruling in connection with the Working Time Directive (WTD) says that where you have an employee with no fixed or habitual workplace, for example they travel from place to place to carry out their job, the journey to their first job and home from their last job should be counted as working time.

Some of the most obviously include sales reps, home carers and travelling trades such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians.

The UK’s opt out from the WTD only covers the 48 hour working week, so it seems that this is another working time ruling that will affect UK businesses.

How to respond? Our advice would be to assess a) which and how many roles you think this will affect in your business, b) what kind of distances you are talking about when it comes to your employee’s travelling, c) whether your current contract or handbook says anything about how these hours are treated or, in the absence of any rules, how that time is actually treated now, and d) what the impact would be of including these as working hours and whether it would reduce the amount of work done on a day to day basis dramatically.

The potential impact of including these journeys as working hours is that fewer jobs would be completed within the working day. Alternatively, it will mean that the extra hours need to be paid for in addition to the standard working week. In this case however you need to be careful that you don’t exceed the 48 hour week rule – unless of course your employees have signed an opt out!!

Each businesses’ circumstances will dictate the most practical response, but you may need to see if you can minimise the impact by reorganising journey plans or the size of territories to shorten travelling distances and improve productivity to offset the additional costs of hours added onto the working day.

If you are looking for professional advice on any of the issues raised above, then give us a call on 01424 425113. We provide tailored service that is unique to you. First of all you can come in for a FREE consultant where one of our members of staff will speak with you about how exactly we can help you.

We are an award winning family run firm, specialising in small business and service charge accounts. We are based in Hastings, East Sussex offering affordable fixed fees to all.

About Graham Knight

Graham Knight FCCA AIRPM Graham has vast experience of commercial accountancy within the UK and oversees. Graham is a genuine specialist in the Service Charge and Block Management industry and was a Finalist at the 2015/16 National Property Awards. Graham volunteers much of his spare time to not-for-profit Hastings Sport CIC.

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