Appraisal Training from vivoHR

HR Support for Trade Businesses

Mobile Workers

Do your employees work on site for your clients, maybe based in one place for the duration of a job or perhaps visiting multiple sites in one day?

Do they drive a vehicle to carry out their work – either provided by you or using their own vehicle and claiming mileage?  Do they come to your business premises at the start and end of every day or are they driving straight to clients from home?

Depending on your situation, if you have employees driving vehicles, read our guidance on vehicle use and consider putting a policy or agreement in place to cover this.  Don’t forget that there may be tax implications to consider if a vehicle is kept at your employee’s home overnight and you allow personal use.

There was much media interest in 2015 when the European Court of Justice determined that time spent travelling to and from the first and last jobs of the day by workers who do not have a fixed place of employment should be considered as work.   Such workers are often referred to as mobile workers or field-based workers.

It has long been a requirement that travel between various work sites throughout the course of a working day which are a fundamental requirement of carrying out the work, should be treated as working time both for the purposes of calculating compliance with maximum working hours rules, the need for rest breaks, and for pay purposes.

This ruling about travel time only apples to mobile workers, so if a worker has a fixed place of work but is asked to work from another location from time to time, or for a period such a a secondment or to complete a site-based project, then whether the time it takes to travel to that place of work will be classed as working time will depend on their contract.

This ruling is also interesting, and somewhat confusing as it only applies to worker rights under Working Time Directive for the purposes of calculating maximum working hours and rest breaks.  Workers are not entitled, unless their contract allows for it, to pay for this travel time and therefore it has no impact on calculating total pay or overtime, and does not affect National Minimum Wage calculations.

If the mobile nature of your work means that you have lone workers you should consider how you will ensure their safety and well-being and how you will keep in contact.  Some employers introduce devices or phone apps that enable employees to be in contact if they have any problems but can’t make a call; these often include GPS trackers and a system for enabling workers to “clock off “ when they safely return home.  This can help you to ensure you are meeting your Duty of Care to all lone workers.

A key consideration for businesses with mobile workers is how you can effectively communicate with everyone, keep everyone up to date and engaged with the business and ensure they adhere to your desired standards to work.  How are important messages communicated and how do you ensure you get regular and useful feedback from your employees?  How do you build a sense of team work and positive working relationships if people are moving between jobs?   With staff based in multiple locations it is important to plan for how you will manage this so that employees remain committed, loyal and high performing.


More about vivoHR support for trade businesses:-

We have pulled together lots of useful information for Office Managers and Owners of trade businesses.

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