Travel and valuation as actual working time
The Supreme Court has unified its doctrine, according to which the employee’s travel time to his or her workplace is not effective working time
On 14 July 2016, the Social Court No. 1 of Palma de Mallorca, interpreting and applying the CJEU doctrine, ruled that the time spent travelling from the workplace to different places where the services were ordered to be provided, as well as the return journey, was working time for all purposes, and should be compensated as extraordinary. Specifically, the Court had to assess whether the time that elapsed from the time a worker, who provides services in the fire station at Palma de Mallorca Airport, enters the airport premises until his arrival at the Technical Block, where he signs in, and the effective incorporation into his job, replacing the worker he relieved, was working time. It is understood that the computation of effective working time begins from the moment the worker arrives at the Technical Block, because from that moment he is at the disposal of the employer and carrying out an activity that forms part of his provision of services.
In its ruling on this matter, the Social Division of the Supreme Court, in a unification of doctrine ruling dated 26 January 2021, concludes that, during the time spent travelling from the Technical Block to the workplace, the worker is not at the employer’s disposal, but is carrying out a preparatory task. In fact, our Court describes the journey as routine and necessary to access the workplace.
Moreover, the Collective Agreement establishes a time limit of 15 minutes for the relief, the aforementioned provision being meaningless if the working day had already begun prior to the relief, or if it did not stop until the departure from the Technical Block.
Finally, the fact that there is a record of the times of access to and departure from the airport facilities does not mean per se that we are in the presence of a working day record in which it is recorded that paid work is being carried out from that very moment.
For all these reasons, the Supreme Court unified its doctrine and determined that the employee’s necessary and usual travel to access his or her work post is not effective working time.