Labor law question: Can the boss dictate how to get to work?

Bus, train, bike or car: which means of transport do employees have to choose to get to work? And does that concern the employer at all?.

Labor law question: Can the boss dictate how to get to work?

Bus, train, bike or car: which means of transport do employees have to choose to get to work? And does that concern the employer at all?

The company has announced new sustainability goals and would like employees to use public transport or bikes to get to work in the future. Is such a rule legitimate?

"No, the employer cannot dictate how employees get to work from their place of residence," says Peter Meyer, a specialist lawyer for labor law in Berlin. The commute to work is not part of the working time, so employers can usually not make any specifications here.

According to Peter Meyer, various scenarios are conceivable in which employees would like to be given the choice of a specific means of transport for their journey to work. "Perhaps someone should use the company car with advertising printed on it or cycle to work for reasons of sustainability - but in practice this rarely happens," says the specialist lawyer.

Employers can also indirectly influence the choice of transport - for example by not providing on-site parking spaces. "The employer is usually not obliged to do this if the company headquarters can also be reached by public transport." The search for a parking space is then the responsibility of the employees if they want to continue to come to work with their private car.

However, according to Meyer, if the workplace cannot be reached by public transport, things are different again. Then employers usually have to either provide parking spaces at the company headquarters for the employees - or set up a shuttle service themselves or something similar.

About the person: Peter Meyer is a specialist lawyer for labor law and a member of the executive committee of the labor law working group in the German Bar Association (DAV).

(This article was first published on Tuesday, January 03, 2023.)

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