New Working Time legislation for drivers announced
The Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 have been laid before Parliament, the Government has announced. The new Regulations will come into force on 4th April 2005 and will apply to commercial drivers and crews of Heavy Goods Vehicles and Public Service Vehicles in Great Britain. Transport Minister David Jamieson said: " These Regulations should deliver safety benefits for drivers and other road users, improve drivers' working conditions and help make the road transport sector more attractive as a career choice. " We have worked closely with industry and unions to ensure that the new arrangements are practical, clear and equitable. We intend to review the new rules in the light of operational experience to make sure that this remains the case."
Information about the new regulations:
1. The new Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations implement the Road Transport (Working Time) Directive - 2002/15/EC. This is one of three sector-specific European Directives which have been made in addition to the general Working Time Directive - 93/104/EC - the other two cover seafarers and the aviation sector. The new Regulations implement EU-wide working time arrangements for road transport in the UK.
2. The Road Transport Directive applies to "mobile workers" participating in road transport activities under the EU drivers' hours rules set out in EU Regulation 3820/85/EC. Drivers and crew of most goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, coaches and some (non local) buses will be affected - although there are exemptions in respect of some vehicles. Limits on driving time and minimum rest and break times already apply to most drivers under the EU drivers' hours rules. Non mobile workers and drivers of vehicles that are not subject to 3820/85/EC (e.g. light vans, employed taxi drivers) are subject to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (ie the Regulations implementing the general working time Directive 93/104).
3. The new Regulations, and associated formal guidance (which was also published today, Monday 14/03/05), follow extensive public consultation:
- first, in October 2003, the Department consulted industry and other stakeholders on how the Directive should be implemented, then
- draft regulations and guidance reflecting the earlier consultation were published for further consultation, closing in December 2004.
4. The latter consultation yielded 52 responses, with the largest number coming from trade associations and trades unions (or their representatives). A summary of the consultation responses and the Government's subsequent conclusions will be published on the DFT's website
5. The main provisions of the new Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations are:
- weekly working time is limited to an average of 48 hours (normally calculated over a four month reference period),
- a maximum of 60 hours work can be performed in a single week, so long as the average 48 hour limit is maintained,
- night workers are restricted to 10 hours working time in any 24 hour period,
- requirements relating to breaks that workers must be allowed.
6. In addition, under the new Regulations:
- where there is either a collective agreement or a workforce agreement at company level between the employer and employees, companies will be able to use the derogations available under the Directive:-
- the 4 month reference period for calculating the average 48 hour week can be extended to 6 months
- the 10 hour limit (over a 24 hour period) for night workers can be exceeded, although the 60 hour weekly limit will still apply, and drivers will still have to respect the EU drivers' hours rules
- the definition of "night time" is a period between 00.00-04.00 for drivers and crew of goods vehicles and 01.00-05.00 for drivers and crew of passenger vehicles,
- workers who occasionally perform road transport activities will be subject to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended) rather than these new Regulations.
7. Self-employed drivers will not be covered by the new Regulations until March 2009.
8. Similar Regulations implementing the Directive for Northern Ireland will be made shortly.
9. The new Regulations will be enforced in Great Britain by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) - primarily in response to complaints they receive. VOSA's response will be proportionate, with an onus on educating employers and workers. The Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency (DVTA) will enforce the new regime in Northern Ireland when it is introduced.