News & Events
The Ride of the Falling Leaves 2015
by David Rumm 24th September 2015


To maintain our connection with South London Cycling and to support Dulwich Paragon Cycling Club, we are riding The Ride of the Falling Leaves 2015 which is on 04th October. Looking forward to the rich autumn colours and views around Dulwich, Surrey and Kent.

Travelling Time for Workers with No Fixed Workplace Counts as ‘Working Time’
by Gemma Workman 21st September 2015

In the recent case of Federación de Servicios Privados del Sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and anor, the European Court of Justice has held that, for workers who do not have a fixed or habitual place of work, time spent travelling between their homes and the premises of the first and last customers designated by their employer constitutes ‘working time’.

TIS employs around 75 workers in Spain to install and maintain security equipment in homes and business premises.  Although the workers are all assigned to the central office in Madrid, each has responsibility for a particular geographical area.  The workers have the use of a company vehicle in which they travel every day from their homes to the places where they carry out work.  They use the same vehicle to return home at the end of the day.  The extent of such travel varies from day to day and can sometimes be over 100 km.  Under TIS’s policy, neither the first nor last journey of the day – namely the journey from the worker’s home to the first customer, and the journey from the last customer to the worker’s home – is counted as ‘working time’.  TIS therefore calculates the working day as running from the worker’s arrival at the first customer of the day, to the time that the worker leaves their last customer.  The workers challenged this classification as being contrary to the EU Working Time Directive.  The case was referred to the European Court of Justice, seeking a clarification on the meaning of ‘working time’ in this context.

In June 2015, the view was that travelling workers who have no fixed or habitual workplace should be able to count the time spent travelling from home to the first customer, and from the last customer back to their homes as ‘working time’ under the Directive.  It was noted that the Directive does not provide for an intermediate category between ‘working time’ and ‘rest’, so that time must be classified as one or the other.  Travelling is an integral part of the work of such ‘peripatetic workers’ and is a necessary means of providing services to the customers, meaning that it should be regarded as forming part of the workers’ activities.

The ECJ has now given its judgment.  It noted that case law has consistently defined any period during which the worker is at work, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his or her activity or duties as ‘working time’.  It adopted the observation that the workers’ journeys were a necessary means of providing their technical services to customers and that they had to be regarded as carrying out their activity or duties during that time.  Given that TIS determined the list and order of the customers for the workers to visit, and the appointment times, the workers were not free to use their time as they pleased and so were at the employer’s disposal.  Furthermore, given that travelling is an integral part of being a worker without a fixed or habitual place of work, it could not be said that their ‘place of work’ was restricted to the physical areas of their work on customers’ premises.  For all these reasons, the travelling time has to be regarded as ‘working time’ under the Directive.

In so deciding, the ECJ rejected the UK Government’s argument that this conclusion would lead to an inevitable increase in costs for the employer.  The ECJ pointed out that TIS remained free to determine the remuneration for travelling time and that, save in the special case of paid annual leave, the Directive does not apply to the remuneration of workers.  Thus, the method of remuneration would be left to the relevant provisions of national law.

Please get in touch for more information on 01892 525 353 or

Early Conciliation – The Statistics are In
by Gemma Workman 3rd September 2015

Much debate will no doubt continue regarding the practical value and impact of ACAS Early Conciliation, and the approaches which employees and employers take to engage with its requirements.

Parties may use the process to seek to establish the strength of their position to the other party in order to prevent litigation or encourage settlement.  Or they may purely refuse to engage in the process if it is considered pointless, perhaps, from the employer’s perspective, pending the individual showing commitment to his or her claim by paying the fee required to commence proceedings (if applicable).

On 7 July 2015 ACAS published statistics on the first year of operation of Early Conciliation.  In excess of 83,000 cases went to Early Conciliation between 6 April 2014 and 31 March 2015.  Some 84% of Claimants and 87% of employers said they would use it again.  Some 15% of Early Conciliation cases were concluded by way of a COT3 settlement, 63% did not progress to an Employment Tribunal Claim and 22% did lead to a Tribunal Claim, however over half of those cases were eventually resolved by ACAS later down the line before the main hearing.

While the scheme is assisting the resolution of cases to some extent, it would seem likely that the discussions about Tribunal fees will have a greater impact on whether cases end up proceeding to the Tribunal or not.

Please get in touch for more information on 01892 525 353 or

Calculating holiday pay – deal with it now or later?
by Gemma Workman 2nd July 2015

The latest ruling on holiday pay from the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Bear Scotland held that regular overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay.  This leaves many unanswered questions and countless employers around the country are confused as to what action they should take, if any, and when, to avoid backdated claims from employees amounting to thousands, if not millions of pounds.  Backdated claims can only be made if it is less than 3 months since the employee’s last holiday, or last incorrect payment (a payment not including regular overtime).

There are a vast number of different ways of remunerating employees for example bonus or commission payments, shift allowances and performance pay.  Difficulties arise in assessing these types of payments beyond basic salary that make it hard to know whether or not they should be included in the calculation for holiday pay.  What if more overtime is done in certain months?  Should it be annualised instead of calculating an average over a 12 week reference period, the same as the calculation for a week’s pay under the Working Time Regulations?

The other difficulty is to what period of holiday this ruling applies.  A full time employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks statutory holiday.  This is made up of 4 weeks’ ordinary leave and 1.6 weeks’ additional leave, being the 8 bank holidays per year.  Should employees be paid overtime etc for 4 weeks’ or the full 5.6 weeks’ statutory holiday?

There are different ways to view holiday pay and its tactics depending on if you are an employee or employer.  If you work for a business, one thing that every business should be doing in any event is an audit of the potential costs should the employees make claims for backdated holiday pay.  Once the size of the problem has been assessed, then you can decide whether to act or not.  We can advise both employers and employees as to their options regarding holiday pay.  Please get in touch to discuss now before it’s too late on 01892 525 353 or

First Tribunal Case on E-cigarettes
by Gemma Workman 25th June 2015

Businesses are being advised to review their smoking at work policies following the first employment tribunal case in the UK concerning the use of e-cigarettes.

The case involved a school catering assistant who was seen using an e-cigarette at the beginning of the school day in full view of pupils.  The headteacher reported the incident to the catering company because the school’s smoking policy did not allow smoking on school premises.  Before a disciplinary hearing was held, the catering assistant resigned and claimed she had been constructively dismissed.

The claim was dismissed by the employment tribunal but it indicated that if she had been dismissed on grounds of gross misconduct, she could have argued this was unfair because the use of e-cigarettes was not covered in the school’s smoking policy.

The important message to take from this case is to review your policies to ensure that e-cigarettes are included in your smoking policy.  We can review your smoking policy for you along with the rest of your policies to ensure they are up to date and in line with key legislation.  Please get in touch if you would like us to arrange this for you on 01892 525 353 or

Increase in Compensation Limits from 6 April 2015
by Gemma Workman 18th June 2015

The annual increase in the statutory compensation limits have now been announced and the main changes are:

  1. The maximum for a week’s pay for the purposes of calculating a redundancy payment or the basic award in unfair dismissal cases is £475 (previously £464)
  2. The maximum for the compensatory award in unfair dismissal cases is £78,335 (previously £76,574)
  3. The maximum statutory redundancy payment and basic award will therefore be £14,250 (previously £13,920)

The increases apply where the event giving rise to the entitlement to compensation such as redundancy or dismissal, occurs on or after 6 April 2015.

The amount of these potential awards now makes it even more appealing for employees to make tribunal claims so employers should always ensure that they take legal advice before firing employees.  Having concrete policies and procedures in place is a vital starting point in defending any potential claim.  Please get in touch to discuss your business requirements on 01892 525 353 or

New drug-driving laws came into force on 2 March 2015
by Gemma Workman 9th March 2015

It is now illegal to drive in England and Wales if you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood.  The police are entitled to conduct roadside testing if they think you’ve taken drugs.  There will be a series of tests e.g. asking you to walk in a straight line and they can also use a roadside drug kit to screen for illegal drugs.  If the police think you’re unfit to drive because of taking drugs, they will arrest you and will take a blood or urine test at a police station to establish which drug is involved and the quantity in the blood.

The offence for drug-driving will carry a mandatory disqualification for a minimum of 1 year, a fine of up to £5,000 and a maximum of six months’ imprisonment.  Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving which will last for 11 years.

Employers should check that driving policies and substance misuse policies reflect the current position.  We can review your driving and substance misuse policies for you along with the rest of your policies to ensure they are up to date and in line with key legislation.  Please get in touch if you would like us to arrange this for you on 01892 525 353 or

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