The plaintiff is employed by the defendant’s construction company as a technical employee. He is obliged under his employment contract to work on various construction sites in Germany and abroad. The employee was sent to a construction site in China for three months in 2015. At the request of the employee, the employer booked a return flight in business class with stopover in Dubai instead of a direct flight to China in economy class.
For the four days of travel, the employer paid the employee his usual remuneration for eight hours per day. The employee went to court claiming remuneration for an additional 37 hours of travelling. He was of the opinion that the entire time of travel from his home to the construction side abroad and back shall be remunerated like work.
The German Federal Labor Court has ruled in October 2018 that if an employer temporarily sends an employee abroad, the trips to and from the workplace are to be remunerated like work, because they were made exclusively in the employer’s interest. Generally, the travel time of an economy class flight to and from the employee’s destination is decisive for the length of the travel time to be remunerated. In the present case, the previous instance did not sufficiently determine the actual travel times, so that the highest German Labor Court referred the case back to the regional Labor Court, which will rule on the case again, taking into account the legal view of the Federal Labour Court.