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Travel Time to work EU ruling – does this affect your company?

On 10th September 2015 the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a controversial decision in relation to travel time at work. This has profound implications for some Irish employers and we look at the issues below.

Firstly the impact of this decision will only be felt in the Public Sector initially. Ireland will need to implement legislation before this decision can have an affect in the private sector – and will – most likely – take years to come in effect. There are several other issues that require legislation that will be dealt with before this.

The reason that this issue was heard by the Court of Justice was due to a case taken by employees in Tyco based in Spain. Some employees had a 3 hour drive to reach Tyco’s head office in Madrid, and Tyco counted the time that was taken to drive to head office as a rest period, not working time.

Ultimately this ruling will have an impact on sales, care workers, tradesmen and any worker who does not have a fixed or habitual place of work and travels during their working day between their homes and their customers’ premises. Currently, in Ireland ‘working hours’ do not include time spent on travelling between and employee’s home and their place of work. We will wait for test cases to see the impact of this ruling and the Irish goverment will – at some stage – be required to address this as the EU Court of Justice can and will – eventually – insist on introduction of this ruling.