What is commuting?
In relation to the world of work, it refers to the movement of a worker from his/her place of dwelling to the place where he/she works and back home from the place of work.
How can a worker reach the workplace or return home from the workplace?
- By utilising public transport like boda bodas, taxis, trains and buses.
- By walking.
- By means of personal vehicles/ cars.
- By taking advantage of transport provided by an employer ,which could be a company van.
Why should a worker be concerned about commuting?
- It is the only way which a worker can reach his or her place of work.
- It creates employment for other workers who are involved in the transportation business like drivers, conductors and others.
- Some employees may be staying far which means that they may arrive at their workplace late therefore affecting their company’s productivity.
- It may affect a worker’s relationship with the employer.
What is the role of your employer in the process of you as a commuting worker?
The employer may provide transportation for his/her employees to the workplace from an agreed meeting point (to and fro), for example, using a company van.
The employer may also provide a direct transport refund to employees by topping up their salaries so that they can decide whichever way to get to the workplace.
Some employers may provide fuel cards to their employees as a way of helping them to mitigate transport costs (for those who may have personal vehicles).
Furthermore, employers may provide accommodation to their staff members which helps employees not to have any commuting costs, if the accommodation is within the company premises.
What must an employee do in case he/she is injured while travelling to work or back home from work?
The employer is responsible for the safety of his or her workers even when they are travelling from home to the workplace or going back home from the workplace. The employer is therefore required by law insure his or her workers against injuries under the Workers Compensation Act 2000. The worker should therefore make a claim for treatment or compensation with his or her employer in the case of injury.
What are the negative effects of commuting, especially long distances, that the worker must be aware of?
- Travelling long distances may make an employee tired and fail to concentrate properly on the job.
- The worker may be at risk of having an accident.
- A worker may be fired if they persistently come late to work because he or she commutes from a distant place.
- Most of the salary of the worker may be spent on transport costs.
- Work may pile up if a worker continuous leaves early in order to avoid traffic jams.
- Workers who drive themselves to work may contribute to environmental pollution.
How can workers reduce the negative effects of commuting?
By negotiating with their employer for transportation benefits such as provision of fuel cards to those that have their own private cars. By providing cash benefits in addition to salary or providing commuter workplace buses/ taxis which would help to reduce commuter expenses. Workers could also talk to their employer about introducing flexible working hours to cater for commuting time.
Workers should advise their employers to purchase an insurance policy which is required under the Workers Compensation Act 2000.
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