Autotime is urging UK employers to evaluate their management processes after the European Court of Justice ruled that time spent travelling to and from first and last appointments by workers without a fixed office should be regarded as working time.
Previously this travelling time has not been regarded as work by most employers.
Employers with workers who travel as part of their jobs such as sales reps, care workers and utility engineers may be in breach of EU working time regulations.
The court says the ruling has been enforced to protect the health and safety of mobile workers as set out in the European Union's working time directive, which stipulates that they cannot work more than 48 hours in a week unless they opt out.
Christian Berenger, operations director at Autotime said: “The new ruling could leave contractors, already under pressure to deliver their services cost-effectively, confronted by increased labour costs and facing a tough battle to operate profitably within tight margins.
“To minimise compliance risk, employers need to put systems in place that will enable them to gain total transparency of their workforce, track their movements and plan staff workloads to coincide with their daily commute to minimise costs.”
Factoring travelling time and more hours into workers' timesheets will place more workload on the shoulders of HR and payroll teams.
The latest cloud-based workforce management solutions provide the transparency and tools they need to administer the new EU ruling and efficiently manage remote workers.
A secure web portal empowers staff to view their assigned workloads and verify the start and finish times for every job using their smartphone or tablet.
Real-time data access allows managers to track the whereabouts and task status of their workforce, calculate the ‘actual hours’ worked and respond to operational issues with better informed decisions as they happen.
Scheduling functions provide managers with the ability to optimise staff shifts by allocating job tasks to dovetail with their daily commute, ensuring assignments at the start and end of the day are located near employees' homes to minimise travel time.
‘Live’ adjustments can be made to staff schedules throughout the day to meet the demands of the business should workers be required to carry out emergency work or respond urgently to issues as part of client SLAs.
Alert notifications can also be configured to highlight when workers are approaching the 48 hour threshold as part of Working Time Directive.
Berenger added: “The role of technology in supporting organisations to comply with the new EU ruling surrounding mobile workers should not be underestimated. With HR teams under increased pressure to keep up with changing employment regulations, employers must evaluate their business practices or risk falling foul of the law.
“By gaining instant visibility of their remote workers and streamlining compliance tasks, workforce management systems can not only meet their legal obligations but optimise their workforce for future bottom line growth.”