Is travel time included in working hours? (Working Time Regulations – WTR)
For most workers, routine travel time commuting to work does not count as working hours.
However, for workers with ‘no fixed place of work’ and who travel directly from home to clients, the time spent travelling to and from the first and last client of the day must now be counted as working time, further to a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union. In addition, where the work involves travelling between clients, e.g. in a travelling business development role, the time spent travelling will count for the purposes of calculating working time and possibly pay – an example being where workers are paid on an hourly basis.
What counts as working hours?
Working hours are any time the employee is ‘at the employer’s disposal’. This means doing things the employer has asked them to do for their job.
Working hours include:
travel time as part of a job (this includes travel time between clients or customers)
time spent working abroad
unpaid overtime the employer has asked the employee to do and the employee has agreed
time spent on call at the workplace
any time treated as ‘working time’ under a contract
Working hours do not include:
breaks when no work is done, such as lunch breaks
travelling that’s outside of normal working hours and not requested by the employer
unpaid overtime the employee has volunteered for, such as staying late to finish something off
paid or unpaid holiday
travel to and from work (if the employee has a fixed place of work)
Time spent on call away from the workplace
This time usually counts as working hours if the employee has to do anything work-related while on call – e.g. responding to work phone calls or emails. It does not usually count as working hours if the employee can spend the time in any way they choose.
There are different rules for travel for people with no fixed place of work – see above.
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