Road Transport Working Time Directive
(the basic structure)
Prior to its introduction on the 4th April 2005, the Working Time Directive (WTD) for the road transport sector had been the subject of
furious debate in Brussels and Westminster since it's initial proposal in 1997. It was expected to be one of the most expensive pieces of
legislation ever to affect operators of goods vehicles and their drivers, and deemed likely one of the most onerous. Do not be under any
misapprehension on this, what applied in April 2005, applies today, if your company operates 'In Scope' vehicles (those vehicles
subject to EU drivers hours and tachograph regulations) the Road Transport Working Time Directive applies to YOU and there is NO OPT OUT.
The implications of the WTD for road transport operations were expected to be significant and hard felt, and regardless of whether you are an operator of 'In Scope' vehicles within the manufacturing industry (or other), your company will feel the effects in the same way as operators within the general haulage sector.
Consider this. At the time of introduction, the Department for Transport (DfT) had estimated that an additional 12,600 vehicles could be
required with a compliance cost to the Road Transport Industry in excess of £1 billion per annum. The Freight Transport Association (FTA)
carried out a survey at the time and suggested that an average 48-hour working week - without utilising periods of availability
(POA's) - could result in a 10% reduction in productivity, resulting in a requirement for an additional 12,900 extra drivers
of regulated vehicles - approximately 5% of the then current UK driver workforce.
Consider also, with the national driver shortage at the time, the problem would have become further compounded as existing drivers would be in considerable demand, possibly resulting in certain sectors within transport offering better pay and conditions to attract drivers away from their then current employers.
We believe that many of these factors have transpired. However, we are also aware that few (if any) operators have been the subject of any form of WTD investigation by the policing authority (VOSA), and we are also aware that hundreds of operators of In Scope vehicles have done nothing to implement a WTD policy within their operations some three years after the implementation date.
- What actually applies?
- What Defines Working Time?
- Who is affected?
- Employers Checklist
- Further Reading
What actually applies?
Well, in simple terms, the following: -
- An average 48-hour working week over a defined reference period (minimum 4 months).
- A maximum 60 hours in any week - capped.
- A maximum of 10 hours night work in any 24 hour period. Night work being defined as any mobile workers time - where any part - falls between 00.00 hrs and 04.00 hrs for mobile workers of commercial vehicles.
- The right to a 30 minute break if working time totals between 6 and 9 hours, or 45 minutes if over 9 hours. Please note here, that all breaks, daily, weekly rest are driven by the EC Drivers Hours rules for all drivers of 'In Scope' vehicles, if the driver is deemed as being a mobile worker.
- Self employed drivers will not be covered by the directive until 2009.
- Occassional drivers (as defined) will remain covered under the 1998 Working Time Regulations
What Defines Working Time?
The regulations define 'working time' as being from the beginning to the end of the mobile workers working day, where the mobile worker is at his/her workstation at the disposal of the employer for the purposes of carrying out his/her function, where that function is devoted to all road transport activities.
Working time applicable to all mobile workers includes the following:
- Driving an 'in scope' (regulated) vehicle.
- Loading and Unloading of the vehicle.
- Vehicle Cleaning and Maintenance.
- Safety work including defect checks and admin.
- Waiting to load or unload the vehicle at depot; however, if waiting time is known in advance by your drivers at a client's premises, in which case this would meet the criteria of availability - POA.
- Overtime (as per points above).
- Training where it is part of normal work and also part of the commercial operation.
- Any secondary employment (driving of a regulated vehicle) where the points above apply. However, where any other form of secondary employment (including non regulated driving) is concerned, EU driver's hours and tachograph regulations will apply (EC561/06 - formally EC3820/85).
- A week is defined as being from 00.00 Monday to 24.00 on the following Sunday for the purposes of recording data for the reference period.
- Under this ACT, all 'Mobile Workers' are entitled to 20 days annual holiday
Who is affected?
Effectively, any employed worker who either drives or crews an 'In Scope' vehicle as laid out below:
- Mobile workers (drivers and crew) - involved in operations subject to EU driver's hour's regulations (EC561/06 - formally EC3820/85).
- Occasional drivers who drive 'in scope' vehicles for more than 15 days within a 26 week reference period or any occasional driver who does so for more than 10 days in a reference period of less than 26 weeks. Examples also include despatch/warehouse staff who occasionally drive 'in scope' vehicles, and fall into the category of a 'mobile worker'.
- Agency drivers - those subject to normal terms and conditions of employment as a driver as per any of the above.
Background - The Admin Function
It was expected that human resource and payroll departments would find their workloads increased as a result of the directive unless the depots affected already had solid procedures for keeping records of drivers hours. However, it was our view that this would not be the case as Transport managers and Supervisors would likely be the ones to produce accurate pay returns, and with them already tasked with ensuring compliance of EU drivers hours and tachograph regulations, as well as maintaining legal fleet compliance under the constraints of their companies operator's licence would find the WTD placing serious demands on them. We have found this to be the case where transport managers have fully implemented the WTD on behalf of their companies.
At the time of implementation, some senior managers within the National/International haulage sector were already confused by the working time directive's content and impact, and again, we've also found this to be the case not only at senior level, but also in many HR/Payroll departments as well.
Putting together the procedures and programs to ensure full compliance was a sizeable task then, and the complexities are no different today.
It was enevitable, that this task would fall into the laps of Transport Managers/Supervisors, along with the need to educate and train
the workforce who fell under the banner of 'Mobile Worker'.
We believe it's as true today as it was in 2005, that it is imperative that (subject to your operation) sufficient numbers of mobile workers (and vehicles) are in place to maintain service levels within the bounds of the directive, and failure on any level to get this right will affect not just your own operation but that of the people who keep you in business - your customers.
What counts as working time?
- Identify activities that count as working time and those which count as periods of availability
- Confirm with your employees whether or not he/she is undertaking any work outside his/her employment for you. It should be noted that any work carried out for another employer, where the individual is classed as a mobile worker in his main employment; or where that individuals joint activities result in he/she being classified as such, must be recorded by both operators
Calculating working time
- Decide on your preferred option (fixed or rolling), to monitor compliance with the average 48 hour working week
- If a longer reference period or different start/finish dates are needed, consider a collective or workforce agreement with the employees
- If an agreement is reached, make sure the reference period does not exceed 26 weeks
- Identify the mobile workers who are likely to be affected by the limits on night work
- If more than ten hours working time is normally performed (during a 24 hour period) consider whether the number of hours can be reduced
- If necessary, consult your workforce about the possibility of working longer hours under a relevant agreement
- That all mobile workers can take the rest and breaks they are obliged to take
- That mixing driving with other work does not lead to a breach in the break requirements under these Regulations
- Inform employees of their rights under the regulations and maintain details of any relevant agreement
- Notify employees that they must provide (in writing) an account of any working time they have performed for another employer
- Decide which records/systems you are going to use to record working time
If tachograph records are used
- a separate record of working time will be required if the mobile worker is not travelling that day
- if using an agency or out-sourced driving personnel, confirm with the agency (or individual) that the agency or employment business has had the opportunity to copy the tachograph chart, so they can keep a record of working time performed by their drivers
Although the above gives you an insight into the WTD and its required application, we have included additional links here within this section to further explain the following, and which include:
- Mobile workers - definition and layout
- Reference Periods - data layout, including downloadable spreadsheets
- Period of Availability - POA, which includes downloadable timesheet/record form
- Penalties - what will follow for non-compliance
Putting this in place is a requirement under the law, it is not difficult to put together and maintain records accurately and properly, and despite the fact that it's yet another item of adminstration to be dealt with, we've found in this cost conscious world, it does have certain advantages.
Further information on the Road Transport Working Time Directive can be found at the links below.