Report: EU Working Time Directive Presents Challenges for UK Businesses
The UK lags behind the rest of Europe when it comes to preparedness for the European Court of Justice latest ruling on the Working Time Directive (WTD). That is according to a report out today from ClickSoftware.
Announced in September 2015, WTD, which is expected to be implemented in the coming years, has ruled the time taken to travel to and from work at the beginning and end of each day should count as working time.
ClickSoftware’s ‘EU Travel to Work research’, which surveyed over 300 senior business leaders across Europe, found that over a third (36%) of UK businesses will not be ready when WTD work comes into force. The research also found that many European businesses are simply not ready for WTD, with over one in 10 businesses not even aware of the ruling. Across Europe, only Germany (69%) and Italy (72%) felt confident they would be completely ready.
- The UK and France are the least prepared for WTD, with 42% (UK) and 48% (France) of respondents claiming they will not be completely ready for WTD
- One in 10 European businesses are still unaware of WTD
- (60%) European businesses will have to make changes to their business because of latest EU rulings
- 30% to cut the number of planned daily jobs, but expect to pay staff more for overtime
- Nearly one in five companies will need (19%) to hire more employees to complete field-based work – highest in Italy (39%) and Germany (41%)
- Nearly half of respondents (47%) will need to implement new systems and tools
Unsurprisingly, the report found that businesses expect the ruling to have a significant impact, with 60% planning to change the way they operate, and nearly seven in ten (68%), indicating that they will or may have to change the way they schedule resources in the field. Cost is the biggest concern around the new law, according to 29% of respondents, while around one in five businesses (19%) were concerned about unknowingly breaking the rules.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Tom Heiser, CEO of ClickSoftware said, “WTD will be implemented in the next few years, and it is vitally important that businesses know what it means and what they will be required to do. Containing the cost of service delivery without sacrificing quality is critical for service-centric businesses. Most field service workers are mobile, outside the office, and travel time takes a large part of their day. The cost implications are huge. Whether or not the UK decides to adopt the law post-Brexit, British businesses will have to adapt their practices if they operate in multiple countries across Europe.”
According to the report, WTD is expected to significantly impact the lives of workers in the field. Three in 10 businesses (30%) anticipate having to reduce the number of jobs a field service employee can do in a day. However, the report also found that that same level of employers are bracing themselves to have to pay more overtime to these employees to factor in for cost of travel. To cope with this change, just under one in five (19%) businesses expect to take on more staff to be able to cope with the demand for field based work at its current level.
It is clear that most European business leaders (75%) think that the new law will benefit field service staff. Technologies such as the latest cloud software services and mobile device applications will be increasingly adopted by field service companies across Europe as employers look at new ways of improving employee productivity and efficiency out in the field, while remaining compliant. According to the research, nearly half of respondents (47%) will need to implement new systems and tools when WTD comes into effect.
In certain sectors there is a higher-than-average proportion of businesses that will or may change the way they schedule resources in the field, such as telecommunications (81%) and manufacturing (82%). Similarly, the concern about current systems and processes not being able to manage the change is notably higher for certain sectors, including utilities (20%) and manufacturing (25%).
Heiser continued, “The internet has facilitated the introduction of two major innovations within the field service industry – digital connectedness and smart mobile devices. There are clearly going to be issues with legacy updates when moving from old ways of working to the new. However, with the right tools and systems in place, this ruling should benefit both the business and the employee by helping to make the whole system more efficient.”
You can download the EU Travel Time to Work Report here.