Tax News 2018

Should the time spent on business trips and on-call service be included in the working time?

Jožica Hribar Jožica HribarJožica Hribar

The [Slovene] Employment Relationship Act (hereinafter: “ZDR-1”) defines the working time as the sum of the effective working time, the time for the break during the working time and the time of all justified absences from duty. Furthermore, ZDR-1 regulates the effective working time as the time employees spend working, which means that they are at the employer's disposal and fulfil their obligations agreed upon in their employment contracts. On the basis of this interpretation of the effective working time it can therefore be concluded that the time during which employees “do not work”, but travel or wait for the employer's call, is also considered working time. This interpretation of the working time was also upheld by the Higher Labour and Social Court in Ljubljana (in its judgement Pdp 618/2011) and, at European level, by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case “Tyco” (C-266/14;, in which it decided that the time mobile workers (employees without a fixed workplace) spend on business trips shall be included in the working time. Moreover, the recent case law of the European Court of Justice, Case “Matzak” (C-518/15;, also supports the interpretation that the working time shall include the entire time employees spend home on-duty-service as, during that time, they are at the employer's disposal.

There is no clear legal definition as to what exactly the working time should include as each case must be assessed individually, taking into account the type of work and applicable legislation. However, it is highly advisable to take into consideration the judgements of the European Court of Justice as they indirectly apply in all Member States and should, as such, be taken into account throughout the European Union.

That is why we recommend the employers to lay down, in detail, the definition of working time in their internal files to avoid potential confusion. For further information and support in preparing internal files, please do not hesitate to contact us.