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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47381
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work courier business (delivering tools etc). I get

Customer Question

I work for a courier business (delivering tools etc). I get and hourly rate (minimum wage) and paid for 37.5 hours per week, 5 days a week. My contract states, I start work at 8.30am, entitled to one hour unpaid leave and I am not entitled to overtime and work on a job and finish basis.
I travel (in works van) to my works depot every morning which takes 30 mins. I load up the van, get my work sheets from office (which gives me details of where I have to deliver the goods). From then on I am out on the road all day and usually involves some distance. The route is determined my my work and not allowed to deviate from it.
Quite often I finish my last drop off at around 5pm then drive home. I worked out my hours and on an average over 4 weeks I work and extra 37 hours per month. I asked my employers about this as it meant overall I wasn't getting minimum wage for all the hours I do. They responded by saying I don't get paid from the minute I make my final drop off.
That means the travel home which usually takes about 2 and a half hours is not paid. surely this can not be legal?
Please advise
Thanks in anticipation
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I live in the North East of England.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello how long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
worked there for 4 years in June. when I first started the workload wasn't as bad, sometimes we got an early finish, and in my opinion that made up for the late finishes. But two years the workload increased, so did the distance and has remained the same since. I have frequently mentioned this to my manager who just states it the nature of the job, work on a job and finish basis, I not entitled to overtime, I luck to have a job, wont put on an extra driver.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
This can still be somewhat of a legal grey area. As far as the law is concerned, a worker is only entitled to be paid for time which amounts to 'working time', which according to the Working Time Regulations 1998 includes ‘any period during which a person is working, at his employer’s disposal and carrying out his activity or duties’. As you can see travel time is not specifically included in there so it comes down to an interpretation of whether it can be included in this definition.Guidance from the Government's Business Link advice service suggests that the definition of working time includes 'travel as part of a worker's duties', but would not include travelling to the workplace, unless the travel is undertaken following "booking on" or reporting to an assigned depot or booking-on point, or time spent travelling outside normal working hours. Also note that this is not law, only guidance.Recent guidance from the Advocate General of the European Courts of Justice has provided further clarification on this. His advice is not binding but it is usually followed by the ECJ so it can still be useful. It said that in general there are three aspects to 'working time', those being (a) at the workplace, (b) at the disposal of the employer, (c) engaged in work duties.However, since then a formal decision in the ECJ was handed down in the case of Tyco Integrated Security. The company employed technicians who install and maintain security equipment at customers' premises in Spain. The technicians were provided with a vehicle and they travelled from their own homes to the locations they were instructed to install the equipment. They were not generally required to travel to an office or a central location before attending the clients’ sites. The Court decided that the time travelling from home to their customers’ locations was working time because the workers were ‘at the disposal’ of the employer and accordingly it should be included in their normal working hours. You can try and use the same analogy for the return trip from the clients’ sites back home.So if there is a requirement to travel to/from clients as part of the working day and duties and at that time the worker is entirely at the employer’s disposal, they can certainly argue that this time constitutes ‘working time’ and should be taken into account when calculating their remuneration and count towards their working hours.This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have to try and challenge this, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for that.Lots of information to digest but its a start!I have read some of the Tyco case, and must admit that I agree with the ruling.Just for clarification...I realise that my travel time to the depot is my time (not included as commuting).I clock in at the depot every morning, but I am unable to clock out as my last delivery is usually after the depot is closed and locked (and I could be miles away). If I had the option of clocking out that would make a huge difference to my working hours. One thing I find strange is I have a place of work and not required to clock back out. Also its the works van, so I have to return that evening so the van can be loaded up for the next working day. Will give you an example of my day...arrive at depot and clock in at 8.30am, load van, once loaded set off to various locations around the North East/West of England. My last drop could be in Barrow-in-Furness at 5.00pm, 140 miles away from Newcastle Upon Tyne (where the depot is located). I then have to drive all the way back. If I drove back from the depot it would only take 30mins.Given all the info above, what do you think my best course of action(s) should be, best ways of tackling them and with whom? Also what odds do you think I have at getting a result?Thanks again
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I would say you likely have a reason to argue and claim that you should be paid for the time back to the depot and anything after that is your own commute home. So wherever you are at the end of your shift and have to drive back home, you should try and go for that travel time, less the 30 mins you would drive to get home had you returned to the depot. In terms of challenging his further the first step would be trough a formal internal grievance with the employer. Following that you are only left with a possible tribunal option by claiming deduction of wages. Ig it gets that far then in order to try and resolve this, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that this is being treated as unlawful deduction of wages and ask them to pay back the money within 7 days. Advise them that if they fail to pay the money that is owed, legal proceedings could follow. If the employer does not return the money as requested, the time limit to claim is only 3 months from the date the deductions were made. To make the claim, form ET1 needs to be completed and submitted - you can find it here: https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/employment-tribunals Hopefully by warning the employer you are aware of your rights and are not going to hesitate taking further action they will be prompted to reconsider their position and work towards resolving this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks Ben for all the information and your time.Your have reaffirmed what I believed (or hoped) to be the case and I know have a clear route to follow.In your opinion what it the likely hood of this winning in court and is there any further advice you can give to help me? Also looking that grey area you mentioned earlier, will this still be covered given all of the above?I can not thank you enough for all your help. Life is hard when you are on the bread line (minimum wage) but its even harder when your employer makes you work long hours for no extra pay.David
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the kind feedback. How likely you are to win in court is anyone’s guess. There are so many factors that can influence a decision – even with a strong case, things can go against you. At the same time the same applies to the employer so it could swing either way – I really cannot advise you on this but there is law which can back you up so you would hope that the tribunal just looks at your circumstances and applies the law correctly which would place you in a more favourable position. And it is a grey area because there are a thousand and one ways to interpret what amount to working time, what with all these different arrangements different jobs and industries may have in place. So that s why there is always going to be some uncertainty and you must hope that the general interpretations are applied favourably to you. Sorry I could not be more firm in my opinion.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Once again THANK YOU for all your help.David
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Most welcome, all the best

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