That sounds like it should be an easy question to answer, but as many of our readers know from experience, that's not always the case.
It is a question that is relevant to compliance not only with the Working Time Regulations 1998 but with National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation. The Advocate General in Federacion de Servicios Privados v Tyco Integrated Security has given his opinion in a case before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In summary, his decision is that in the case of peripatetic workers, the time spent travelling from their home to their first customer, and from their last customer back to their home, constitutes "working time" for the purposes of the Working Time Directive. Peripatetic workers are individuals who are not assigned to a fixed or habitual place of work and for whom travelling is a key element of their role.
The rationale behind the Advocate General’s opinion is that for those who travel to visit customers, and who do not have any fixed place of work, travelling is an essential element of their role and that the travelling is fundamental in terms of providing the customers with the service.
The Advocate General's decision is not a binding decision and the case has still to be heard in the European Court of Justice. It is unusual, however, for the Court not to follow the Advocate General's opinion. The Court's decision is now eagerly awaited!
The time spent travelling to and from home does not normally count as working time for the purposes of National Minimum Wage Legislation. For more details on compliance with the NMW please click here. A link to the Advocate General's decision can be found here.