By law is travel time (visiting a client in other city) considered as work time in Germany?

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I know that daily commute time is not considered as work time (Arbeitszeit), however, I'm confused if the time I travel (usually 2-3Hrs each direction) to visit a client in another city, couple of times a month, is considered as work time?

According to my company it's not. Since I'm not "actually" working and might sleep or use mobile phone during the travel. They say it will only be considered as work time if I'm actually doing some work while traveling. They do, however, pay for ticket and lunch *I'm glad*.

On average I travel about 15-20Hr (including train delays) a month for my company, and I feel like it's unfair to not pay me for that time. I mean if it's not "work time" then it's also not my private free time.

Does anyone has an idea on how it is legally? I would like to know how it's regulated in Germany.

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19 minutes ago, fredadi said:

According to my company it's not. Since I'm not "actually" working and might sleep or use mobile phone during the travel. They say it will only be considered as work time if I'm actually doing some work while traveling. They do, however, pay for ticket and lunch *I'm glad*.

 

Be glad, they are right. Source 1, source 2 (both in German)

 

 

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In my company they call it Reisezeit as part of a business trip (Dienstreise) and I can take this as time off in lieu or I get paid for this. 

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On 12/5/2017, 3:47:47, fredadi said:

I know that daily commute time is not considered as work time (Arbeitszeit), ...

Hello fredadi - you mention above which may be the case in your company. There are many other companies out there with the same type of work policy but it may be worth perhaps taking a look at your own work contract do you have a fixed number of hours you are allowed to work or do you have a work contract where there is nothing mentioned about working hours and you work what it takes then hours travelling may not come in to play at all 

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So, if you travel 4 hours somewhere it is expected to arrive there, work 8 hours and then travel back 4 hours?

In our company it is working time but there are limits per day, I think max 4 hours are working time. But at the end nobody really cares because at least on this most bosses have common sense. They don't send you to Asia and expect you to work today and tomorrow as per normal.

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I don't know about the law, but we had similar situations at my previous work, where initially we were not allowed to count travel as work time. We all complained, and came to the compromise that when driving, it would count 100% as work time, otherwise we could count 50% as working time. As mentioned above, appeal to common sense from your managers. 

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On 12/7/2017, 8:18:49, Krieg said:

So, if you travel 4 hours somewhere it is expected to arrive there, work 8 hours and then travel back 4 hours?

In our company it is working time but there are limits per day, I think max 4 hours are working time. But at the end nobody really cares because at least on this most bosses have common sense. They don't send you to Asia and expect you to work today and tomorrow as per normal.

Not exactly 4 hours. Let's say 2.5Hrs each direction, and yes the day I travel to client I work 8 hs + 5 hrs travel time + the train delays.

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In a previous job I just received a 13th month salary for overtime and travel time, no matter how much overtime or travel time I had, so just check your contract as well.

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According to THIS website (which appears to be quite up to date), travel time to your normal place of work is not working time, whereas travel to and from another location is.

While it appears that your company should be reimbursing you for your 5 hours of travel time on these days, it seems not to be the case that you are owed your normal rate of pay for those hours. The rules only specify that you should be reimbursed (and since there is a minimum salary of 8.84€ per hour, you should be receiving at bare minimum 44.20€ for each of these journeys - more if delays are incurred).

More importantly, though, you should not be working more than 10 hours in any one day including these journeys. That means, at least as far as the law is concerned, you should work no longer than 5 hours at this customer (unless you stay overnight and travel back to your company the following day).

 

For people who don't have a fixed place of work, like a door to door salesperson, the time to travel to their first customer from their home and the time to return home from their last customer is to be included as working time.

 

Here is an extract from the site I linked:

Pro Fahrstunde ist seit dem 1. Januar 2017 also mindestens ein Bruttolohn von 8,84 Euro zu zahlen.

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And just to prove that nothing is straightforward in German law, HERE is an article which further details how your trips to the customer might not be counted as working time.

 

The deciding question seems to be how you travel. If you travel on public transport / by plane and therefore do not have to concentrate on driving or such like, then the journey is classified as follows:

- Working time if you are required to conduct work-related business en-route (i.e. preparing presentation, speaking to customer on the phone etc.).

- Rest time if you are allowed to use the time to do what you like (read a book / sleep).

 

If you drive yourself in your own or a rental vehicle, then it counts as working time unless your boss suggested for you to take public transport and you went ahead and drove anyway - then it's rest time.

 

So as unfair as it seems (and to people with young children or other responsibilities which make their time seem so much more valuable, it seems extremely unfair), if you are required to travel you don't necessarily have to get paid for it. Every contract I have had says that I will be expected to make reasonable amounts of business travel. Apparently though (according to linked article) it doesn't matter if this is in your contract or not.

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2 minutes ago, toBnruG said:

The deciding question seems to be how you travel.

 

Actually it's about how you travel and what you do, that's what the highcourt (BAG) decided:

 

"Das Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG) hat sich mit dem Thema, das immer wieder zu juristischen Auseinandersetzung führt, natürlich längst beschäftigt. Ergebnis: Es kommt darauf an, was der Arbeitnehmerwährend der Dienstreise im Wortsinn macht.

 

"Sitzt er beispielsweise nur in der Bahn oder im Flieger, liest eine private Zeitschrift, isst oder döst, so gilt die Reisezeit als Ruhezeit im Sinne des Arbeitszeitgesetzes. (...)

 

Wer also seine Zeit nach Belieben gestalten kann, solange er unterwegs ist, der verbringt dort keine Arbeitszeit und kann dafür auch keine Vergütung verlangen."

 

https://karrierebibel.de/dienstreisen/ ("Source 2" in my first post)

 

And that's exactly fredadis case:

 

"Since I'm not "actually" working and might sleep or use mobile phone during the travel. They say it will only be considered as work time if I'm actually doing some work while traveling."

 

I suggest you do some work on your laptop, fredadi. :) 

 

 

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