The research in question suggests that the increase to wi-fi access on trains – together with the heightened functionality of mobile phones – has made the working day longer. Indeed, it refers to over half of commuters using the upgraded free wi-fi – on the London-to-Birmingham and London-to-Aylesbury rail routes – doing so in order to access work emails.
One passenger interviewed by researchers referred to working whilst on the train home as a chance to ‘clear the decks for the day, relax and put work behind’ them.
Despite this positive spin on the situation – the authors of the report argue that its findings prompt questions about individuals becoming overworked.
Without doubt, the work has significant implications for employers. As part of minimum wage legislation – it is an obligation on employers to monitor the hours actually being worked by their employees. Under the circumstances of employees undertaking work whilst commuting – it is difficult for companies to prove that they are meeting this requirement.
The CIPP has commented that unmeasured work is an area in relation to which more detailed employer guidance needs issuing. It has warned employers that – unless they ensure that their policies on the matter are clear – they are at risk of legal claims from staff members who work extra hours outside the office as a matter of course.
As ever, Dataplan will remain vigilant, keenly observing any legislative or other developments on this issue and protecting the interests of our clients.