The Tyco European Court of Justice ruling: What it means & what you need to do
Posted on September 18, 2015 by Ben Allan
Posted on September 18, 2015 by Ben Allan
If you run a field operation with a home based (mobile) workforce, such as care workers or field engineers, you will be aware that there are a number of recent judgements and legislation changes that could affect your business. Here we explain the effects of the latest judgement, the Tyco European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling.
Working Time Regulations (WTR) are concerned with what ‘working time’ is and how it is spent, particularly in terms of rest and holidays etc. Crucially, until this ruling, it was not clear when ‘working time’ began for a mobile worker and when it ended.
On 10th September, the ECJ ruled on a case about Tyco technicians in Spain. This clarified this point with immediate effect in the UK.
The judgement stated that the time mobile workers spend travelling from their home to their first appointment and from their last appointment back home, now constitutes as ‘working time’. In essence the working day has officially just got longer.
This recent judgement only clarifies what constitutes working time, it does not define what you should pay. Legally you do not have to pay for all the time that a worker is working for you.
Therefore, the two key factors you need to consider are:
Your employment contracts should be reviewed by your lawyers; they will give you a view as to whether and how the contracts are affected and what changes might need to be put in place. Depending on how the contracts are structured you may not need to make any changes.
If the contracts show that the additional working time should be paid for or the contracts are not clear, you will need to make a management decision as to whether you can, or wish to, pay for this additional period of time. This is where legal matters become commercial issues.
To make this call you will need to understand your exposure – How much could this additional time cost you? And then balance this against the commercial effects of making these contract changes.
The measure of this exposure is where we have built our reputation.
The current National Minimum Wage (NMW) law excludes travel from home to the first appointment and travel from the last appointment to home. But this case law was made before the latest WTR clarification.
We now have the Living Wage legislation being promised for next year, with details coming this Autumn. It is not known whether the government will take the opportunity to harmonise the definition of “working time” with the WTR when it makes this change.
The Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Limited case of last year, which ruled that travel between appointments should be covered under the National Minimum Wage Act (NMW), might give an indication as to what could constitute as travel in upcoming legislation.
We are the UK’s leading specialist in the dynamics of field teams. We understand how field teams behave. We have the expertise to provide you with an accurate calculation of the time taken for your staff to travel to and from their first and last appointments. We can then convert this into a clear financial cost that you can use to better inform your decisions on how to manage these changes.
Once you have decided how you want to change, we can then help you with operational structures and processes to make sure you maximise your value from this change.
If you would like to speak one our team about the next steps to take please contact us.
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