Businesses need to be aware of a new European court ruling which has clarified that travelling time to and from work could itself be classed as work.
In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice has said that time spent to and from first and last appointments by workers without a fixed office should be regarded as working time and that wages should be paid in relation to this.
Within most businesses this time has not previously been considered as work and it means that firms operating without a fixed office may be in breach of EU working time regulations.
Failing to meet these regulations could see an employer brought before the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, which could lead to improvement notices being issued. Subsequent failure to comply can lead to unlimited fines and imprisonment.
This new ruling represents a significant change to the current Working Time Regulations and could have a number of implications on a business, ranging from additional wage costs for travelling time to fines or even imprisonment for those who fail to meet its requirements.
While some business owners may not be happy with this new measure it is important that they comply with it, or face the prospect of an investigation that could have a significant effect on them and their business.
This new ruling is most likely to affect care businesses, sales representatives and tradesmen who begin and end their working day at home.
Speaking to a professional regarding your responsibilities as an employer in regards to the Working Time Regulations could save you a lot of problems further down the line.
Ross Brooke Limited Chartered Accountants are members of UK200Group with offices throughout the UK and Associates overseas.