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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49816
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have cleaners, who are picked up in a van and taken to work.

Customer Question

I have cleaners, who are picked up in a van and taken to work. I pay them for the travel time endured from job to job. However there is a dispute. I say you get paid from the first job they arrive on, staff say they are paid as soon as they get in the van?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you mean they are claiming they should be paid from the time they leave the office to go to the first job?

JACUSTOMER-xz7l2jop- : We don't leave from the office, the staff meet up in Glasgow City centre, and then travel to first job from this point
JACUSTOMER-xz7l2jop- : We pay for travel, during the day, we didn't mind paying the drivers, but we are expected to pay for the passengers as well.
Ben Jones :

This is somewhat of a legal grey area to be honest. According to the Working Time Regulations 1998, ‘working time’ includes ‘any period during which a person is working, at his employer’s disposal and carrying out his activity or duties’.

According to guidance from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the definition of working time also includes business travel time, but does not include home-to-work travel and time spent travelling outside normal working hours.

So if they are required to travel to/from clients as part of their working day and duties and at that time they are 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 maximum working hours per week and remuneration.

JACUSTOMER-xz7l2jop- : They are paid travel time between jobs, but it's the time traveling to the first job that is the issue.
Ben Jones :

Yes I understand but there is nothing specific in law that says it should either be paid or not - it depends on whether it amounts to working time and that is open to interpretation as you can see. To be honest if you refuse to pay them, then they will have to challenge this in an employment tribunal - with the fees and time involved they may be out off from gong that far and may eventually just accept it

JACUSTOMER-xz7l2jop- : I would say it is travel time to work, they say they are paid when the van arrives, so what do I do pay them or not?
Ben Jones :

Only a court or tribunal can decide whether this is working time or not - arguments exist for both sides. You can take the risk and not pay them - it is then for them to challenge this and take it further if necessary, which they may or may not do. If they do and it is found that it was working time then you may have to pay them any arrears due

JACUSTOMER-xz7l2jop- : It's not them that are loosing wages, it is me who is loosing time?
Ben Jones :

Well it's both

Ben Jones :

That is on the assumption it does amount to working time

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

JACUSTOMER-xz7l2jop- : No, we have tried every avenue to obtain an answer on this and are no further forward. Our staff seem to get union advice, which is 100% we are wrong! but our reality is the staff are wasting a lot of time traveling. It isn't a requirement of ours to be picked up, we thought we were doing them a favour, but it has worked against us. We are loosing that much time we are going to have to start paying off staff.
Ben Jones :

I am afraid no legal answer exists on this so I cannot provide one - there are many legal areas that are defined as 'grey areas' and this is definitely one of them - as mentioned arguments exist for both sides, in these circumstances only a court fan make a definitive decision based on the specific facts of the case

Ben Jones :

If it is not a contractual clause to be picked up then you can decide to stop doing this if it will resolve the issue