The Court of Justice of the European Union has held, in a judgment on 10 September 2015, that time spent by security equipment technicians travelling from home to their first work appointment at a customer’s premises and home from their last appointment of the day is “working time” for the purposes of Directive 2003/88/EC, the Working Time Directive.
The Court found in Case C-266/14 Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones obreres v Tyco that the journeys of the workers in question, who were employed to go to the customers designated by their employer, were a necessary means of providing those workers’ technical services to those customers. It held that it would distort the meaning of working time, and therefore jeopardize the health and safety objectives of the Directive, if only the time spent carrying out the activity of installing and maintaining the security systems could be taken into account when assessing the length of time spent working by an employee. The Court considered that all three elements of the concept of “working time” identified in the Directive were satisfied – that is that the worker is at work during this time, is at the employer’s disposal and is carrying out his activities or duties in accordance with national laws and/or practices. It noted that the fact that the journeys in question began and ended at the workers’ homes stemmed from the fact that their employer had decided to abolish regional offices, where their journeys had previously been regarded as having commenced and finished, rather than from any desire of the workers, who had lost the ability to determine the distance between their homes and the usual place of the start and finish of their working day.
The Court recognized, in line with its previous case law, that the Directive only regulates aspects of the organization of working time and does not in general cover workers’ pay which is covered by national law.
The judgment is here.
Sarah Lee appeared at the hearing instructed by the Government Legal Department on behalf of the United Kingdom Government.