The commute to a employer finished for 95% of all employees with a single carriageway road. There are approx. 5000 staff on side and they are all trying to get in the front gate between 7:30 and 8:00AM. This is worse after big holidays, Christmas and in bad weather. The wait is anything from 15 minutes to a hour depending where you enter the queue (multiple side roads are used to get in further up)

Inevitably there is a traffic queue which is created directly by the employer. A smaller/split site or working with the local council would alleviate the problem.

A large number of employees start their clock once they hit the back of the traffic queue and stop when they get out at the end of the day.

The contract of work states that your working day a little flexable but is 8 hours starting 7:30-8:00 AM.

Is this ethical/advisable? It is the employers responsibility to fix?

I understand this is similar to: Do long commutes count against personal or work hours? but I don't think it is a duplicate as it raises the point about poor site planning on behalf of the employer.

  • Note: In terms of clocking, most don't clock overtime as such, they just leave earlier to balance.
    – John
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 7:08
  • 5000 cars on a single carriageway entering in an hour is pretty good I would think, in fifteen minutes is magic, must be a pretty big carpark.
    – Kilisi
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 7:13
  • 1
    As said in the linked answer, your commute is generally on your own time. If I were an employee there that made it on time for whatever reason, the employees that are "clocking in early" would basically just be leaving early from my perspective. Whether this is okay or not is another question. Is it an hourly pay system, salary, etc?
    – Brandin
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 8:28
  • 2
    Highly related: How to clock time on a mandatory shuttle?
    – Lilienthal
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 11:36
  • I worked at a large facility and the company's solution was to put people into shifts. Each shift had start/end/lunch/break times that were offset from other shifts (how many shifts and how much you need to offset depends on how many people you have - it could be that just 15 minutes difference can help). This spaced out when people came and went enough that the traffic was less of a problem, and an added benefit was that there was more coverage around the times that folks are normally off the clock so the day doesn't end abruptly.
    – ColleenV
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


It would certainly be advisable for the company to try to fix this if possible. The status quo is aggravating thousands of employees (and wasting a lot of their time), and many employees seem to blame the company. This is a very poor position for the company to be in.

The most obvious solution would be allowing more flexibility in start times--though without knowing the work it is hard to know the cost of this. Maybe there are compelling reasons why all employees need to be on site at the same time.

Other solutions, such as working with the council (presumably to change road configuration?) or moving to multiple sites, seem quite likely to be costly.

I don't see any ethical issue, however. There isn't an ethical mandate for a company to configure things optimally for employee convenience, and it may be that constraints make this quite difficult to change.

Commute times remain employee responsibility, even if affected by company policy. Requiring employees to drive to work during times of high traffic is the norm...that is why rush hour exists. While this case seems more avoidable than most (since the problem is right outside the company), it's not unusual to be required to come in at a time that takes 15 minutes to an hour extra for most employees.

The employees starting the clock while still on the road are acting unethically, unless they were given permission to do that.

If I faced this situation, I would try to come up with a creative solution to avoid the annoying wait. Such as:

  • Parking a mile away and riding my bike the last mile.
  • Coming in at 7:00, then spending a half hour of personal time at the office, where at least I can do something useful or interesting with my time, rather than sitting in traffic.
  • Flex time would help a lot.
    – shoover
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:28
  • "The cost of this"? Flexible hours rather bring some benefits to the employer. For example, larger time coverage. Flexible hours are good for the employees too. Commented May 9, 2017 at 22:13

My previous employer had a similar issue. They got a new work site and their own car garage. They failed to anticipate traffic congestion during rush hour so everyday employees leave and wait in the car garage for typically 45 minutes to an hour just to get out of the car garage. After numerous complaints they came up with the best solution: hire a cop. They had to push the city a little but eventually they got a officer posted everyday during rush hours and the back up in the garage is reduced to a few minutes.

So first step is to get people to complain to HR and offer good solutions. My guess is a simple traffic officer will do to minimize congestion getting out.

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