Working Time Directive: UK and France are the least prepared for it

- Leadership - Sep 22, 2016

The UK and France lag behind the rest of Europe when it comes to it preparedness for the European Court of Justice latest ruling on the Working Time Directive (WTD).

Announced in September 2015, new regulations falling within the existing WTD, which rule the time taken to travel to and from work at the beginning and end of each day should count as working time, are expected to be implemented by 2019.

ClickSoftware’s ‘EU Travel to Work research’, which surveyed over 300 senior business leaders across Europe, found that over a third (36 percent) of UK businesses will not be ready when the latest WTD regulation comes into force.

The research also found that more than one in 10 companies are not even aware of the ruling. Across Europe, only Germany (69 percent) and Italy (72 percent) felt confident they would be completely ready.

Key findings include:

  • The UK and France are the least prepared for the latest WTD regulation, with 42 percent (UK) and 48 percent (France) of respondents claiming they will not be completely ready
  • One in 10 European businesses are still unaware of the latest European Court Justice ruling on WTD
  • Sixty percent of European companies will have to make changes to their business
  • Thirty percent will need to cut the number of planned daily jobs, but expect to pay staff more for overtime
  • Nearly one in five companies (19 percent) will need to hire more employees to complete field-based work - highest in Italy (39 percent) and Germany (41 percent)
  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) will need to implement new systems and tools

Unsurprisingly, the report found that businesses expect the new ruling to have a significant impact, with 60 percent planning to change the way they operate, and nearly seven in ten (68 percent), 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 percent of respondents, while around one in five businesses (19 percent) were concerned about unknowingly breaking the rules.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Claudine Bianchi, CMO of ClickSoftware said: “This latest regulation within the 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 up 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, the new WTD ruling is expected to significantly impact the lives of workers in the field. Three in 10 businesses (30 percent) anticipate having to reduce the number of jobs a field service employee can do in a day. However, the report also found that the 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 percent) 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 percent) 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 percent) will need to implement new systems and tools when the latest WTD regulation 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 percent) and manufacturing (82 percent). Similarly, the concern about current systems and processes not being able to manage the change is notably higher for certain sectors, including utilities (20 percent) and manufacturing (25 percent).

Bianchi 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.”

Read the September 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

Follow @BizReviewEurope

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