New research has led to calls for employment law reform to recognise the time spent commuting to and from work as part of a contracted employee’s hours of work.
The study from the University of the West of England found that the majority of commuters surveyed commuting on trains were sending and receiving work emails and dealing with other tasks related to their jobs, often to catch up with matters not completed during the working day.
Under current employment law this is not recognised as ‘working time’, which usually only recognises the start or end of the working day when an employee reaches or leaves their usual place of work.
More and more employees are working outside of their contracted hours. In addition to this, it is estimated that now only 6% of the employees work the traditional hours. There are increasing concerns about the erosion of work-life balance and whether sending and receiving emails outside of normal office should really be encouraged, amid concerns that it leads to a ‘blurring of boundaries’ between work and home.
With the government all consumed by Brexit, it is unlikely that the law will change any time soon; but with an increase in demand for flexible or agile working, it may well be that time spent working on the way to or from work is something that employee’s soon start asking their employers to recognise.