Most employees find themselves in their usual workplace in their everyday work and do their work there. But not all projects can be done from a desk. For direct contact with customers or to represent their own company at trade fairs, some employees have to change their place of work . The common term of business trip covers travel activities that employees do for professional reasons outside of their everyday workplace.
What counts as a business trip?
According to percomputer.com, anyone who goes on a business trip or on a work trip travels from A to B for professional reasons. But what exactly does this mean? Interestingly, there are no legal regulations on this. The extent to which such trips are declared as “business trips” by the own company depends accordingly on the company. A classic point of contention is, among other things, that travel times are sometimes not viewed as duty time. However, this only applies if the distance is covered, for example, in an airplane or train and the employee concerned could relax privately. In contrast, car journeys are generally recognized as service time. In short: everyday life shows that companies answer the question “What is a business trip?”
In contrast to this, however, there are fixed specifications with regard to the consideration of whether the relevant activity is a business trip or possibly “just” a business trip. As the names suggest, business trips are limited to shorter distances, for example to visiting a customer on the same street. Any business travel insurance does not apply here, and mileage flat rates do not have to be billed.
Classic examples of business trips
These are related to the business travel costs that can be billed:
- Appointments with customers in another city
- A visit to another company branch
- Measure up
- Conferences (e.g. abroad)
- Visits to construction sites for projects in another city
- Participation in training courses
Is travel time the same as working time?
During working hours, it is generally possible to have the time spent traveling on public transport counted as working time. The activities with which the time window is filled are ultimately irrelevant. If an employee sleeps on the train journey that takes him to the said appointment in the morning as requested by the boss, this time can still be claimed. If train journeys or flights do not fall within normal working hours , the tasks directed at the employee decide whether the time spent can still be taken into account in the form of overtime.
Travel by private car
If the company in question has approved it, business trips may also be undertaken in your own car. In this context, the mileage allowance factor is of particular interest. However, if the company decides against paying this flat rate, it may also be possible to deduct a corresponding amount as income- related expenses to assert and deduct this part of the business trip for tax purposes. If you want to stay on the safe side here, you should always pay attention to the applicable legislation, among other things. Because: Experience shows that the relevant regulations can change quickly here. For example, if taking a passenger with you brought a higher mileage allowance in the past, this factor has been removed as part of a reform.
Drive with the company car
However, anyone who decides to start their business trip in a company car is not entitled to charge a mileage allowance. After all, the employee did not incur any costs due to the use of the company vehicle. A clear distinction must be made here from the private use of company cars, in the context of which, as is well known, the 1% rule and the corresponding tax claims play a role.
Business travel insurance
Once at the destination of the business trip, statutory accident insurance cover does not exist for the employee in every situation. The business occasion is decisive for the protection . In addition to the clearly specified activities, this also includes exploring the location on site or refueling the car used for a business trip. Only a part of the trips that have to be made during the business trip are also insured. This includes the routes to and from the accommodation to the actual place of business activity. Depending on whether you are driving your own car or whether you are moving in a potentially more dangerous environment, it may be worthwhile to take out supplementary insurance or to discuss it with your employer. For example, many sales representatives take out so-called business travel insurance for their private vehicle. In addition, many insurance providers are now turning to employers
Working Hours Act and Protection of Employees
The question of how a business trip is related to the factor of working hours is of course also interesting with regard to the Working Hours Act. This must of course be adhered to, regardless of whether in the company or outside. According to legal requirements, a working time of eight hours (minus breaks) may not be exceeded. In exceptional cases, working hours of ten hours per day are tolerated. Furthermore, the regulations of the Working Hours Act state that an uninterrupted (!) Rest period of eleven hours must be guaranteed after work. Here, too, there are industry-specific exceptions. Anyone who would like to find out more about their rights and obligations (also in connection with working on Sundays and public holidays) should definitely clarify how travel times and the like affect their working hours before starting a business trip. It also makes sense to keep track of the relevant daily routines. In the course of a one-day business trip, however, the statutory provisions are usually rarely or not at all violated. The risk increases with longer stays.