Case law: Employers can exclude liability to pay employees for travel time in certain circumstances

Employers with employees who travel directly to appointments to and from home should review their employment contracts to see if they can exclude liability to pay employees for travelling time, following a recent ruling.

A charity worker providing support to disabled people in the community drove his own car straight from home each day to his first appointment, and straight home after his last appointment.

His contract said that he would be paid for 1815.07 hours each year, and that any hours worked in excess of that could be taken off as time in lieu. His contract also specifically said that his working hours did not include 'Travel Time' to and from his first and last appointments, and that he would only be paid for such hours in 'exceptional circumstances'.

He claimed that his Travel Time was 'working time' within the Working Time Regulations, and was therefore entitled to be paid for them if they pushed him over his annual hours. He said the employer's failure to pay him was therefore an unlawful deduction of wages.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) said that his contract clearly stated he was not entitled to payment of wages for Travel Time, and rejected his claim for unlawful deduction of wages. Therefore, even if his Travel Time was working time under the Working Time Regulations, this did not necessarily mean he was entitled to be paid for it - the specific terms of his contract made clear that he was not so entitled.

Note that the employee was not claiming the national minimum (or living) wage, so this ruling does not affect the issue of whether his Travel Time amounted to working hours for those purposes.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers with employees who travel directly to appointments to and from home should review their employment contracts to see if they exclude liability to pay employees for travelling time

Case ref: East v Valentine UKEAT/0325/16/DM

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