Instant Improver

Does Your Boss Owe You Money for Travelling to Work?

In many ways, travelling to work is actually more stressful than the actual work itself.

The honking of cars in the traffic jam, the slow, packed buses, the sardine-can tube - by the time you actually get through your company's doors you feel like you've gone 12 rounds with Floyd Mayweather. And what makes it worse? You're not even getting paid for it. In fact, you're paying to go through this hell.

But perhaps no longer. A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice suggests that the time taken to travel to and from work at the beginning and the end of the day, for those without a fixed office, should count as 'time at work' and employers could be liable pay for it. The likes of care workers, gas fitters, electrical engineers and sales reps may all be affected.

The ruling stems from the application of the Working Time Directive, which aims to protect workers from exploitation and oversees rules on how many hours a week workers are active and the breaks and holidays they are entitled to. It's come from an ongoing legal dispute involving a Spanish company named Tyco, which shut down its regional offices in 2011, meaning that employees had to travel varying distances to their first appointment of the day.

The ruling said: "The fact that the workers begin and finish the journeys at their homes stems directly from the decision of their employer to abolish the regional offices and not from the desire of the workers themselves. Requiring them to bear the burden of their employer's choice would be contrary to the objective of protecting the safety and health of workers pursued by the directive, which includes the necessity of guaranteeing workers a minimum rest period."

BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman speculated that, "Employers may have to organise work schedules to ensure workers' first and last appointments are close to their homes", while Chris Tutton, from the solicitors Irwin Mitchell, told the BBC: "Thousands of employers may now potentially be in breach of working time regulation rules in the UK."

Please, someone get a test case going for those of us in offices - surely we deserve some payment too?

[via BBC]

(Image: Shutterstock)