In the case of Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras –v – Tyco, the Advocate General has held that, where an employee has no fixed or habitual place of work, time spent travelling from home to the first place of work of the day and from the last place of work of the day to home should be counted as working time for purposes of the EU Working Time Directive.
The employees in this case installed and maintained security alarm systems. They had no fixed place of work. They were provided with a company vehicle and allocated to a particular region. On each working day, the employees travelled to jobs at customers’ premises allocated by the employer. At least once a week, the employees would travel to a logistics centre to collect parts needed for their work.
The employer counted the employees’ working time as starting when the employee arrived at the first job of the day and continuing until the end of the final job of the day. Travel time between jobs counted as working time. However, time spent travelling from home to the first job of the day and from the last job of the day back home did not count. The employees challenged this before the Spanish courts, saying that this was “working time” for the purposes of the EU’s Working Time Directive.
The Spanish court referred the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”). Prior to the CJEU making a decision, a preliminary assessment had been undertaken by the Advocate General. The Advocate General’s view is usually, but not always, followed by the CJEU.