The question of whether an employee gets paid for travel time depends on their contract of employment. There are various different methods of payment and these should be agreed before employment starts.
It is entirely feasible for an employment contract to stipulate that no travel time is paid for. However, this will become an issue when it means that the employee is not receiving the national minimum wage (NMW) for the hours worked because, in some cases, travel time will be classed as working time for which NMW needs to be paid.
Ordinary work travel, for example, travelling from home before work and to home after work, is not work-related travel and does not fall to be counted as working time for which NMW must be paid. If the travel is part of the employee’s duties then this can be classed as work-related travel so should be counted.
If the employee is driving from home to the client at the beginning of the workday then this will be classed as ordinary work travel as they are travelling from their home to the workplace. This can be seen in parallel to a non-client visiting employee who does not get paid to commute from their home to the office, and back again, every day. The time spent on this journey does not have to be counted.
If the employee is driving from the office to visit the client during the workday this can be classed as part of the employee’s duties as they are, technically, driving to a different job site during the working day. This should be classed as working time and needs to be included in the calculation for assessing whether the employee has been paid NMW.
If the employee is driving from a previous client to the next client this is similar to the above scenario of travelling between work locations. If the employee is a field-based representative then travelling from client to client is part of their working day and travelling is directly associated with their job as it is part of their employment duties. The whole of the journey in this scenario should be counted.
If the employee is driving from a client to their home at the end of the working day this can be classed as a commute home from their place of work and this time does not need to be counted.
If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.