The ECJ has handed down its decision in the case of Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another concerning employees who do not have a fixed place of work and spend time travelling between sites and whether this is working time within the meaning of the Directive.
Tyco employed technicians whose role was to install and maintain security equipment in Spain. They were given a company vehicle and travelled from their own home within a geographical patch. They had no central base save for a weekly visit to the office to collect tools and materials. During the travel time they did not carry out any installations or maintenance and were merely travelling to site. They had the individual autonomy to plan their itinerary and route.
Tyco tried to argue that as they weren’t actually carrying out installations and maintenance during the travel to the first job it was a rest period. The ECJ disagreed and gave that argument short shrift. With regards to the autonomy point the ECJ disagreed that this meant they were not covered by the Directive. The time could not be used freely by the technicians for their own interests and they were at the disposal of their employer so it was working time within the meaning of the Directive.
The decision will impact on employers who have mobile workers who don’t have a central working place and whose working day may now start from the time they leave home rather than the time first onsite. Employers will therefore need to consider their policies to ensure that they have adequate rest breaks and do not exceed the maximum working time. For employees paid by the hour it may also impact on the payments they receive as if all time is working time employers will need to ensure that they do not fall foul of other legislation like the national minimum wage and contractual payments due depending on the wording of the contract.