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Travel time is working time

Germany: If an employee does not have a fixed place of work, then travel time from home to the working location is regarded as working time.

Companies that have employees without a fixed place of work face higher costs. For example, this applies to companies whose employees work as service technicians in the field and perform their work primarily on site at the customer’s premises. These employees often drive from their home directly to the customer, using a company car.

Until now, many companies did not regard the time of the first journey, i.e. from the employee’s home to the first customer, and the last journey, i.e. back home, as working time. Often, working time is only the time from the beginning of the first service until the end of the last service (including possible travel in between).

Now, the ECJ has set bounds on this legal interpretation. According to the court, working time for these employees already begins on leaving home and ends only on return home. The particular work of field staff without a fixed place of work justifies this interpretation: for these employees travel time is a typical part of their work.

As a result, companies are expected to adjust their costs for providing services to the customer, because they will need to include additional working time/overtime hours.

Source: ECJ, decision of 10.09.2015, C-266/14