The Supreme Court is now considering an issue that could have financial consequences for several hundred thousand workers in Norway.The question is simple: Is travel time working time?
If your employer informs you that tomorrow you have to work at Lillehammer.Tonight, you need to travel from Oslo to Lillehammer to be ready to do the job. Are you entitled to pay, and overtime for the time you will spend traveling tonight?
‘’According to the current regulations, this travel time will normally be considered free time and you will not be entitled to pay or retirement bonuses unless agreed with an employer,” said Legal Advisor, Hans Gjermund Gauslaa of the HR company, ‘Infotjenester’.
The Supreme Court considered the case on the 2nd and 3rd of May,and they will probably make their decision available before the summer.
“Since the Supreme Court ruling will have very big financial implications for both employees and employers, there is a great deal of excitement about what they decide,” said Gauslaa.
EFTA: Travel time is working time
The Supreme Court asked the EFTA Court in 2016 for assistance in interpreting EEA legislation in the field. The EFTA Court confirmed last November that travel time is to be regarded as working time when an employee is ordered by his employer to perform tasks outside his regular workplace.
The starting point for the assessment was the case of a Norwegian police officer who was usually employed at Gaular Länsmannskontor in Sogn and Fjordane. In several cases where he was sent on assignments elsewhere in the region, travel time was not approved as working time.
‘’The EFTA Court has considered the matter from the EU Work Directive, a directive to which Norway is also bound. The statement from EFTA is based on what the Supreme Court now considers regarding the case’’, Gauslaa said.
The question is, how many others than this single policeman will be affected by the decision, he argued.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today