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European Court may rule in favour of employees

In the case of Federacion de Servicios Privados v Tyco and Another, the ECJ was asked to consider the proper definition of working time. The case involved employees of a company which installed security systems. Each employee was based at home and assigned a geographical area and the company set up a number of site visits but did not treat as working time and did not pay for the time spent travelling from home to the first site visit and travelling home from the last site visit.
In the case of home-based workers, the Advocate General has ruled that the employee is on working time from the moment they leave home until the moment they return. All journeys from home to the first customer, from customer to next customer or from the last customer to home were working time because they were within the employer’s authority and subject to their employment duties when they were travelling.
The opinion of the Advocate General is not binding on the European Court of Justice but it is very likely the court will follow the opinion of the Advocate General.
If this becomes a ruling, it will affect

* the calculation of working time
* the 48-hour weekly maximum
* holiday entitlement
* work rest breaks

If it is to be regarded as the working time it has to be asked whether, under European Law, it must, therefore, be remunerated also.

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