Employment Law on Reasonable Travelling Distance

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis


02 Oct 2019


Your staff’s daily commute to work comes in many forms, from cycling to trains, to cars and everything in between.

In the UK, cars are the most popular mode of transport, with 53% of employees using them to get to and from work. Trains and buses are the next most common options.

A 2018 survey by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows that over the last 10 years, the time for an average commute to work by British workers increased by five minutes. With rail commute taking the longest.

The time your employee spends commuting to work can have an impact on their performance, wellbeing and job satisfaction levels.

This piece explores the employment law surrounding reasonable daily travelling distances.


Reasonable daily travelling distance

Changes must be in line with employment law. While Reasonable travelling distances in the UK aren’t specified in existing legislation, you should apply common sense and consider various local conditions.

There’re many reasons why you may be considering the distance your employees travel for work. It could be due to a:

  • Planned move.
  • Change of duties.
  • Change of working hours.
  • Alterations to the services you provide.

It’s important to remember if an employee’s contract of employment includes a ‘mobility clause’, the employee has to move to the new location. This is unless they can prove the request to move is unreasonable.

But how long is too long to commute to work? It’s each employee’s decision—they should determine what is, and isn’t, too long a distance to travel on a daily basis.

But you can keep in mind the extent of their individual journeys. This information is an indication of whether it’s a reasonable distance to travel to work. And, if necessary, you can make adjustments to their route to improve their work-life balance—more on this below.


The cost of commuting to work

In the UK, the average employee spends £146 a month travelling to work, this amounts to a total of £135,871 over the span of a lifetime.

This figure doesn’t include the value of the time they spend commuting. According to research conducted by a transport app company in the UK, they found the average commuting time per day has risen from 48 minutes to one hour.

As an employer focused on the wellbeing of your staff, there are steps you can take to reduce the effects of commuting to work including stress, anxiety, increase absences, reduced productivity, etc.

You can improve the situation for employees by offering:

The development in technology allows teams to communicate with each other from different parts of the globe.

So organisations are taking advantage of contemporary technology, communication, and project management tools such as Slack, Accello, Confluence and more.


Expert Advice

If you require assistance with working hours, flexible working requests, or any other HR issue, speak to a Croner expert today 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in employment law, HR and commercial legal advice for small & large organisations across the United Kingdom.





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