If the employer temporarily sends the employee to work abroad, …

If the employer temporarily sends the employee to work abroad, the time required for the outward and return journey must be remunerated.


The plaintiff is obliged under his employment contract to work on changing construction sites at home and abroad. In 2015 he was sent to a construction site in China. At his request, the defendant booked a return flight in business class with a stopover in Dubai instead of a direct flight in economy class. For the four days of travel, the defendant paid the plaintiff the remuneration agreed in the employment contract for eight hours each, a total of 1,149.44 euros gross. With its complaint the plaintiff demands remuneration for further 37 hours with the reason, the entire travel time from its dwelling to the external job and back is like work to be remunerated. The labor court rejected the complaint.

The Regional Labour Court upheld the plaintiff's appeal. The defendant's appeal was partially successful before the Fifth Senate of the Federal Labour Court. If the employer temporarily sends an employee abroad, the trips to and from the external workplace are made exclusively in the employer's interest and are therefore usually remunerated as work. In principle, the travel time required for an economy class flight is required. In the absence of sufficient findings by the Higher Labour Court on the extent of the plaintiff's travel time actually required, the Senate was unable to reach a final decision on the matter and therefore referred the case back to the Higher Labour Court for retrial and decision, setting aside the appeal judgment.

Federal Labour Court, judgment of 17.10.2018, Ref.: 5 AZR 553/17