On the 11th June the European Court of Justice announced that peripatetic workers, that’s to say workers who are not assigned to a fixed or habitual place of work, should have the hours spent travelling from home to their first customer and back home from their last customer included within their ‘working time’.
The ruling basically concludes that travelling is an integral part of a peripatetic workers’ day and therefore must be regarded as forming part of their daily activities to provide the service expected by their customers.
The implications for business
The UK will now have to follow this ruling and the implications are not only concerned with the Working Time Regulations, but also within the National Minimum Wage Regulations (NMWR) and the payment of employees.
For example: you may have an engineer who is ‘working’ for 8 hours and travelling for 2. In order to meet the NMWR you must now ensure their 10 hours of work are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage or you could be liable for a fine (a max of £20 for each employee not paid NMW).
As a consequence the change will affect employee relations as the worker, now working 10 hours but only being paid for 8, understands that their hourly rate has reduced.
As a company there are a number of options open to you manage this change, so long as you are exceeding the National Minimum Wage.
- Continue to pay the worked hours – however this is likely to antagonise relations
- Pay a day rate i.e. the employee is to be available from 7:30am to 6pm and engaged in work between 8:30am and 5pm, for a day rate of £x
- Pay salaried, often eradicates overtime when the hours of work and needs of business are aligned.
So in short companies should now review their working periods and payment terms for peripatetic workers to ensure they are not only meeting regulations, but perhaps more importantly, maintaining a good relationship with their employees.