What Counts as Work Time on a Business Trip?

What is counted as working time?

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Business trips have become a regular aspect of everyday work life in many lines of business, but what constitutes a business trip? Technically, you are on a business trip each time your employer instructs you to carry out work-related tasks outside of your workplace. The occasion could be as simple as meeting with a customer or visiting a trade fair. However, be careful, not every job that is conducted outside of the firm’s premises is considered a business trip. A particular distance between the firm and the travel destination is crucial.

Does a business trip equal work time?

Travelling can be a burden since you often have to travel long distances. This can often cause stress, especially in the event of train and flight delays or an increased noise level due to one’s fellow travellers. It, therefore, makes sense if you find yourself wondering whether your business trip can be counted as work time. The answer is yes and no. As a rule, only certain activities that are carried out during a business trip are officially regarded as work time.

Business trips during and outside of work time

Business trips are to be compensated in entirely normal manner even if the business trip was concluded prior to the end of a regular workday. After all, it is up to your employer to decide whether he or she would like to make use of your full work volume or not. There is no standard regulation for business trips that take place outside of work hours. Whether the business trip can be counted as work time depends on the situation. Regulations concerning this matter can usually be found in your contract of employment or labour agreement. By the way, employees in high positions and corresponding abundant salaries frequently find themselves at a disadvantage and often don’t receive any additional compensation for business travel.  

Is travel time work time?

Whether an employee can count travel time towards work time is a frequently asked question relating to business trips and work time. It is certain that it is generally possible to count or payout travel time as overtime. However, several conditions must be met:
Firstly, the means of transport that you use for the business trip is essential. If you go by car, the driving time counts as work time, since you cannot use the time to relax, given that you need to concentrate on the road. Careful: The situation changes as soon as you decide to drive even though other means of transport would have been available.
If you use another means of transport and decide to go by e. g. plane, the question whether flight time equals work time depends on whether your employer instructed you to use the time for work- related tasks, such as preparing or following-up a meeting . If this is not the case and you are able to spend the time travelled according to your own wishes, it may not be counted as work time.

While on the business trip: work time or free time?

The question what counts as work time is very easy to answer once you have arrived at your final destination. The time that you spend meeting with clients or engaging in other work-related activities counts as work time, whereas time spent relaxing at the hotel or pursuing one’s personal interests is considered free time. A precise documentation of how you spent your business trip is advisable in order for your business trip to be easily acknowledged as work time.
Published by Megali on 10/12/2018 Photo credit: © fotofabrika

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