How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question

Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46144
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
29905560
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I am an nhs employee who has been based at home (over 150

Customer Question

I am an nhs employee who has been based at home (over 150 miles from the nhs hospital I work from) for 11 years. My manager has said I am now based at the hospital involving 7 hours driving daily due to reorganisation of the service. Do I have any rights regarding driving time as my working day would be 15 hours which would be detrimental to my health?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Have you been offered a revised contract at all?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
no
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. This is still 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.

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.

So there are arguments for both sides and sadly nothing concrete in black and white that says you can count the travel time as part of your duty or pay time.

In any event, your other rights will be involved with the fact that this is going to amount to a change of contract and you will have ways of dealing with this.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on contractual changes and your rights, 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, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46144
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. There are a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:

· Receiving the employee’s express consent to the changes.

· Forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').

· Giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the new terms.

If the changes are introduced without the employee's consent, then the following options are available:

1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that you are working ‘under protest’. This means that you do not agree with the changes but feel forced to do so. In the meantime you should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance.

2. If the changes fundamentally impact the contract, for example changes to pay, duties, place of work, etc., you may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give the impression that the changes had been accepted. The claim must be submitted in an employment tribunal within 3 months of resigning and is subject to you having at least 2 years' continuous service. You would then seek compensation for loss of earnings resulting from the employer's actions.

3. If the employment is terminated and the employer offers re-engagement on the new terms that could potentially amount to unfair dismissal. However, the employer can try and justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for doing so. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, you can make a claim for unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal. The same time limit of 3 months to claim and the requirement to have 2 years' continuous would apply.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to an employee’s contract. As such clauses give the employer the unreserved to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right and the situation must warrant it. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably and can be challenged as above.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks for that. Unfortunately my contract doesn't mention where I'm based so I don't think I'm covered for that. I was a member of a group of employees who worked from home for more than 11 years (I am the last remaining one). Changing base to include 7 hours driving each day seems unreasonable so I might be able to argue on that point.Thanks you for your help
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Even if it does not mention it, if you have been working in a specific place for some time, it could have become your contractual place of work through custom and practice. SO do not assume that the lack of anything in writing gives you no rights.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That is very helpful. Is there any way I could find out if that might have happened?Really appreciate your help
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

This area of law is rather complex and it is usually only down to the courts to establish with certainty if something had become an implied term. Nevertheless, it does not prevent employees from directly raising this argument with their employers.

The basic requirement for implying terms is the presumed intention of the parties, in other words - did the employer and employee intend for the terms in question to be treated as contractual. In general, a practice would need to have been clearly communicated and consistently applied for a substantial period of time before it can be considered an implied contractual term. Therefore, something that is uncertain, not communicated properly, not been applied consistently or has just been around for a few months is unlikely to qualify.

Case law has suggested that the following are important factors when considering whether a term has become implied in a contract:

{C}· On how many occasions, and over how long a period, the terms in question have been applied - the more times they have been applied and the longer the period over which this has occurred, the stronger the argument they had become implied into the contract

{C}· Whether the terms are always the same - large differences will make the argument they had become implied weaker

{C}· The extent to which the terms are publicised generally - there must be widespread knowledge and understanding amongst the workforce that such terms were being applied

You may tell the employer that you believe the term or practice you are relying on has been implied into the contract through 'custom and practice' and see what they say. They could of course deny that and refuse to discuss the matter and if that is the case then you can only realistically challenge this by taking your case to an employment tribunal, although you are free to raise a grievance with the employer first to try and deal with this internally.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi
Just to let you know that my meeting did not go well but the fact that I had the information you sent helped enormously with my confidence. Can't thank you enough. All the very best. Carolyn
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.

Hello Carolyn sorry to hear the meeting did not go as well as planned but at the same time glad I helped to some extent. Do not hesitate to get back to me if you need further assistance on this, or other matters. All the best for now

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Jo C.

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/EM/emus/2015-7-7_192327_bigstockportraitofconfidentfemale.64x64.jpg Jo C.'s Avatar

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BE/benjones/2015-12-1_0437_ennew.64x64.jpg Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    11553
    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BU/Buachaill/2012-5-25_211156_barrister5.64x64.jpg Buachaill's Avatar

    Buachaill

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    1754
    Barrister 17 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    894
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/UK/UKLawyer/2012-4-12_9849_F2.64x64.jpg UK_Lawyer's Avatar

    UK_Lawyer

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    750
    I am a qualified solicitor and an expert in UK law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    402
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8199
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
 
 
 

Related Law Questions