Drivers’ hours and tachographs rules: goods vehicles (GV262)

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Annex 2. Working time rules

The working time rules that apply to you depend on whether you drive a vehicle in scope of the EU or GB domestic drivers’ hours rules.

Driving under the EU drivers’ hours rules

If you operate a vehicle in scope of the EU drivers’ hours rules, then you are subject to the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 (as amended – ‘the 2005 Regulations’), unless you are an occasional mobile worker (see text boxes at the end of this Annex for definitions).

The main provisions of the 2005 Regulations are as follows:

  • weekly working time must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week over the reference period - a maximum working time of 60 hours can be performed in any single week providing the average 48-hour limit is not exceeded
  • night work: if night work is performed, working time must not exceed 10 hours in any 24-hour period. Night time is the period between 00.00 and 04.00 for goods vehicles and between 01.00 and 05.00 for passenger vehicles. The 10-hour limit may be exceeded if this is permitted under a collective or workforce agreement
  • breaks:
    • mobile workers must not work more than 6 consecutive hours without taking a break
    • if your working hours total between 6 and 9 hours, working time should be interrupted by a break or breaks totalling at least 30 minutes
    • if your working hours total more than 9 hours, working time should be interrupted by a break or breaks totalling at least 45 minutes
    • breaks should be of at least 15 minutes’ duration
  • rest: the regulations are the same as the EU or AETR drivers’ hours rules
  • record keeping: records need to be kept for two years after the period in question

The reference period for calculating the 48-hour week is normally 17 weeks, but it can be extended to 26 weeks if this is permitted under a collective or workforce agreement.

There is no ‘opt-out’ for individuals wishing to work longer than an average 48-hour week, but breaks and ‘periods of availability’ do not count as working time.

Generally speaking, a period of availability (POA) is waiting time, the duration of which is known about in advance. Examples of what might count as a POA are accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing or waiting while other workers load/unload your vehicle. For mobile workers driving in a team, a POA would also include time spent sitting next to the driver while the vehicle is in motion (unless the mobile worker is taking a break or performing other work ie navigation).

In addition, you are affected by two provisions under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended – ‘the 1998 Regulations’). These are:

  • an entitlement to 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave
  • health checks for night workers

If you only occasionally drive vehicles subject to the EU drivers’ hours rules, you may be able to take advantage of the exemption from the 2005 Regulations for occasional mobile workers (see text box below to see if you meet the criteria).

Self-employed drivers were brought in scope of the EU Working Time Directive 2002/15/EC in GB in May 2012, by the Road Transport (Working Time) Amendment Regulations 2012.

DVSA enforces the provisions of the 2005 Regulations and the requirement for health checks for night workers (under the 1998 Regulations). If you have any questions about matters relating to annual leave, call the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) national helpline on 0300 123 1100, for free support and advice.

Driving under the GB domestic drivers’ hours rules (or are an occasional mobile worker)

If you drive a vehicle subject to the GB domestic drivers’ hours rules or are an occasional mobile worker (see text box for definition below), you are affected by four provisions under the 1998 Regulations.

These are:

  • weekly working time, which must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week over the reference period (although individuals can ‘opt out’ of this requirement if they want to)
  • an entitlement to 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave
  • health checks for night workers
  • an entitlement to adequate rest

Adequate rest

Adequate rest means that workers should have regular rest periods. These rest periods should be sufficiently long and continuous to ensure that workers do not harm themselves, fellow workers or others and that they do not damage their health in the short or long term.

The reference period for calculating the 48-hour average week is normally a rolling 17-week period. However, this reference period can be extended up to 52 weeks, if this is permitted under a collective or workforce agreement.

The 1998 Regulations do not apply to self-employed drivers (see text box below for definition). Please note that this definition is different to the one used under the 2005 Regulations.

DVSA enforces the working time limits and the requirement for health checks for night workers under the 1998 Regulations for drivers operating under the GB domestic drivers’ hours rules (and occasional mobile workers). If you have any questions about matters relating to rest or annual leave, call the ACAS national helpline on 0300 123 1100, for free support and advice.

Further information

For further details on the 1998 Regulations, contact the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 020 7215 5000 or access their website at www.bis.gov.uk

Definition of a self-employed driver under the 2005 Regulations

‘Self-employed driver’ means anyone whose main occupation is to transport passengers or goods by road for hire or reward within the meaning of Community legislation under cover of a Community licence or any other professional authorisation to carry out such transport, who is entitled to work for himself and who is not tied to an employer by an employment contract or by any other type of working hierarchical relationship, who is free to organise the relevant working activities, whose income depends directly on the profits made and who has the freedom, individually or through a co-operation between self-employed drivers, to have commercial relations with several customers (Regulation 2 of SI 2005/639).

Definition of an occasional mobile worker under the 2005 Regulations

A mobile worker would be exempt from the 2005 Regulations if:

  • they work 10 days or less within scope of the European drivers’ hours rules in a reference period that is shorter than 26 weeks or
  • they work 15 days or less within scope of the European drivers’ hours rules in a reference period that is 26 weeks or longer

Definition of self-employed under the 1998 Regulations

You are self-employed if you are running your own business and are free to work for different clients and customers.