Travelling time to first job and home from last job for a field engineer (and breaks)

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ZeroWingUK

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Aug 20, 2013
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Hi,

I am an IT engineer / trainer and my job involves a lot of travel every day.

I could potentially have to drive anywhere in the country but usually anything from 1 hour to 3 hours on average to my first job and the same at the end of the day.

I am expected to be at my first appointment for 9:00 so that may involve leaving home at 6 or 7 am. The same amount of travel time for returning home from my last job of the day also applies. My employer expects me to travel approx 3 hours per day (1.5 hours in the morning from and 1.5 hours back to home in the evening) without getting paid for it, they do not consider that working time. If I have to travel more than 3 hours in total to and from work, nothing is said and they assume that I will just do it (their thinking is that some days require less than 1.5 hours travel in each direction so it is "swings and roundabouts"). Is this 3 hour requirement imposed by my employer legal?

I also travel between jobs during the day, this is considered working time by my employer and is not a problem.

I have never been allocated any time for a break in my schedule in the 3 years that I have worked here and have access to all the past schedules to prove it. We have been promised breaks but it has never happened.

My schedule can be very difficult on some days and I feel I have to drive aggressively to get to my jobs on time (to meet the KPIs). On the other hand my schedule can have very large gaps, if a job is cancelled for example and I am far away from home it makes more sense to sit in my vehicle and wait for the next appointment (this may be up to 3 hours!). During this time I am contactable via the company mobile phone.

My head office is approx 120 miles from my house and takes an average of 2 to 2.5 hours (with traffic). I very rarely have to travel to head office, possibly once or twice a year. I do however have to visit a logistics company (about 30 mins from home) a couple of times a week to collect any deliveries.

I do not pay for any fuel for travelling to and from work and I do not have private use of the company vehicle (have to park it outside my house though).

My boss's opinion is that the job is "swings and roundabouts" and sometimes it is busy and sometimes I get to finish early. He also thinks that the 3 hours of unpaid travel per day is acceptable.

I have done this for nearly 3 years now but lately it is just taking it out of me (maybe getting too old for it!). I think if things continue I will be involved in an accident on the roads at some point. :(

I would just like some thoughts on this before I approach my employer.

Where do I stand in terms of employment law and regulations?

Thanks.
 
I worked as an FSE for a large US company for some years. We were expected to arrive at 9am with the proviso that we didn't have to leave home before 8am. We finished at 5.30pm and the drive home was as long as it took. We worked smaller areas than you though, mine was Kent, Sussex, Surrey and South London. I suspect there is no law that governs this though.

What the law will deal with is your driving. They may ask you to travel 100 miles in less than 2 hours but if you get nicked for speeding or dangerous driving that will not be a defence. I also suspect that the company will wash their hands of it, they're not permitted to encourage you to break the law.
 
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ZeroWingUK

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Aug 20, 2013
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Yes talking it through would surely cause problems.

The workload has changed since I took the job, after doing 14 hours today and only getting paid for 8 I am ready to just walk out as I can't take it anymore.

To make things worse I received this email today from the owner of the company

*email content removed by admin*

Just a quick note to give you an idea of the times and distances involved:
My destination this morning was 2 hours 45 minutes away which meant I left the house at 6 am, I returned at 18:00 and then had other work to do on the laptop which took me until 20:00.

I am not sure this is the correct forum for this so can anyone recommend who would be the best person to see about the legality of the situation, eg citizens advice or another organisation?

Thanks.
 
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ZeroWingUK

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Aug 20, 2013
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Did you know how far away your jobs would be when you started?

I don't know any companies that pay for traveling to and from work, except sales reps.

Do you think talking it through with the company would cause a problem?

Travelling to work to a set destination that is a reasonable distance is fair enough, but in my case the destination is different everyday and could theoretically be anywhere in the country, yet I am required to be there for 9am.

On average this is between 1 to 3 hours at the start and end of the day. So this could mean up to 6 hours of driving which I don't get a penny for. This is also having an negative effect on my home life.

The email that I have since posted which was sent today sets out clearly what is now expected and this has changed from what was originally expected when I took the job.
 
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TotallySport

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Jul 18, 2007
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Travelling to work to a set destination that is a reasonable distance is fair enough, but in my case the destination is different everyday and could theoretically be anywhere in the country, yet I am required to be there for 9am.

On average this is between 1 to 3 hours at the start and end of the day. So this could mean up to 6 hours of driving which I don't get a penny for. This is also having an negative effect on my home life.

The email that I have since posted which was sent today sets out clearly what is now expected and this has changed from what was originally expected when I took the job.
I hear what your saying, and in an ideal world........

If your a qualified engineer, have you thought about australia? If I was qualified in something I would certain look for a better lifestyle overseas, its not going to happen in the UK IMO.

Sorry i can't offer much more but I wish you luck.
 
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ZeroWingUK

Free Member
Aug 20, 2013
5
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I hear what your saying, and in an ideal world........

If your a qualified engineer, have you thought about australia? If I was qualified in something I would certain look for a better lifestyle overseas, its not going to happen in the UK IMO.

Sorry i can't offer much more but I wish you luck.

Haha! that is a bit extreme, thanks anyway! :D
 
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