The Advocate General has given the opinion that travelling workers who have no fixed workplace should be entitled to class their journeys from home to their first customer, and from their last customer to home, as working time. There is no dispute that the travel time between customers counts as working time.

The opinion was given in response to a Spanish court’s referral of the Federación de Servicios Privados del Sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL case to the European Court of Justice.

The group of workers in question in this case, who travel to customers throughout Spain to install security systems, complained that their employer was breaching working time rules by not counting these journeys as working time. Usually, time spent travelling to and from work would be classed as rest time. However, the Advocate General concluded that the requirements for working time, under the Working Time Directive, were satisfied because travelling was an integral part of performing their duties and they were at their employer’s disposal during this time.

Although not binding, it seems likely that this opinion will be followed by the ECJ when it provides its ruling later this year. This decision would be directly relevant to many workers in the UK such as telecommunications engineers.