Please note, commuting can sometimes be considered as actual working time!
The article L 3121-1 of Labor Code defines effective working time as the time during which the employee:
- is available to the employer and
- complies with his directives without being able to freely carry out personal activities
This actual working time must be paid
Conversely, article L 3121-4 of the Labor Code specifies that professional travel time to get to one’s place of work is not considered as actual working time, but that if the duration of this journey is abnormally long, the employee may claim rest or financial compensation.
This travel time, if it is abnormally long, must give rise to financial or rest compensation.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considers that, when workers do not have a fixed or usual place of work, the travel time of these workers between their home and the sites of the first and last clients designated by the employer constitutes working time.
Reversal of case law
In a judgment of March 1, 2023, concerning a maintenance technician, the social chamber of the Court of Cassation establishes the principle that travel time between home and work may have to be paid if it meets the definition of actual working time.
Be careful, therefore, to assess how to deal with commuting times, to conduct the following analysis:
The employee is free to go about his business, is not at the employer’s disposal and must not respect his directives?
NO: The employee must be paid, if applicable in the form of overtime
YES: Is this time abnormally long compared to commuting time?
Yes: You have to compensate in time or money
No: no need to pay or compensate