I make quite a song and dance in Escape Everything! and New Escapologist about commuting time.
It’s seldom counted as part of the working day, so any number of hours are lost to sitting in buses or train or traffic jams. It’s completely unpaid and completely fruitless. You’re trapped in a tin box and you’re slowly dying, en-route to somewhere you don’t really want to be.
Well, it looks like there’s been a breakthrough:
Large numbers of workers could be entitled to more pay or a reduction in hours after the European court of justice ruled that travel to and from some jobs could be counted as part of a working day.
At the moment it applies to people who don’t have a conventional, static workplace and instead commute from home to a job site. Social workers for example, might travel from their home to the home of a client. This sadly doesn’t include those who travel from home to the same office each morning. Still, it’s one hell of a start.
The judgment said: “During the necessary travelling time – which generally cannot be shortened – the workers are therefore not able to use their time freely and pursue their own interests.
There will, of course, always be a Negative Nancy:
one employment lawyer said the judgement could have unintended repercussions […] “The need to pay employees for travel time means that for some businesses the servicing of clients in remote areas may no longer be profitable.”
Good! There’s a popular school of thought that if your business is dependent on involuntary free servitude, you shouldn’t be in business.