Often employers ask employees to travel long distances to places that are not their normal place of work, including overseas. Issues can then arise on what a company’s policy is with regards to working time, transport, health and safety and paying for travelling time. If policies and procedures are not in place, you could be left wondering what your employment rights are.
Working time, under the Working Time Regulations 1998, is defined as any period during which workers:
- Are carrying out their duties, and working at their employer’s disposal
- Are receiving ‘relevant training’
And so normal travel to work is not classed as working time.
It is also known to be additional periods which would be agreed between an employer and employee to be working time in a relevant agreement, for example the performance of a contract of employment. As stated above, travelling to work from home and back again is not classed as working time, however if you travel from home on work business, or are travelling during working hours for business purposes this will usually count as working time. Any travel taken out with working hours will also be counted as working time, if it is work related.
Should travel time be paid?
Often if you are paid an hourly rate you should be given time off in lieu for any business travel outside your normal working hours. Your entitlement to time in lieu may be found in your contract of employment and if not check with your employer. Your pay should not fall below the National Minimum Wage, which has some different rules on what is ‘working time’ according to the most recent government guidance on calculating the minimum wage (Click here for more information on calculating the minimum wage) or you can download the HR Solver App for more information.
If you are a salaried member of staff a payment for travel out with working hours is less common but it still depends on your contract of employment. You may be entitled to time off in lieu or overtime. This is also something which can be agreed between you and your employer if it is not covered in your contract of employment.
The management of travel expenses are normally directed by your company’s travel expenses policy.
Health and Safety for regular work travellers
If you travel regularly, your employer should also carry out relevant risk assessments. Frequent travel can have a negative effect on an employee’s health, which could in turn lead to sickness absence and reduced productivity. Risk assessments should ensure that you take rest breaks if you drive regularly and your eyesight should be tested regularly also.
If you make use of your own car or van for work, your company should have procedures in place to ensure your vehicle is appropriately insured and they may regularly check for this as well as check your driver’s licence for any fines and endorsements. Using mobile phones while driving, drink driving, drug driving etc. is also likely to be covered in any company policies.
If you have any questions about traveling for work purposes and your entitlement to be paid for traveling for work purposes, download the free HR Solver App today and read our Article on ‘What is considered as Travel Time’.