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RT (Working Time) R 2005

With Effect from 4th April 2005 drivers will have to comply with regulations that implement the Road Transport Directive (RTD) in the UK.

Minimum Working Hours
The regulations introduce a maximum average 48-hour working week and a maximum of 60 working hours in any single week.

Who Is Affected?
The Regulations have created a new class of ‘worker’, namely the ‘mobile worker’. Not all workers are affected. Those mobile workers affected are listed below:

  • Drivers who are subject to EU Drivers’ Hours Rules 3820/85
  • Other members of the vehicle crew such as drivers’ mates’, abnormal load attendants and porters.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, drivers working through Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses are captured by the Regulations.
  • Some self-employed drivers who meet a rigorous definition in the regulation are exempt until March 2009.
  • Any workers who only occasionally work with the scope of EU Drivers’ Hours Rules will be subject to the Working Time Directive 1998 (as amended), rather than these Regulations. You are an occasional mobile worker if you:
    o Work on fewer than 11 days within scope of EU Drivers’ Hours Rules in a reference period that is shorter than 26 weeks.
    o Work on fewer than 16 days within scope of EU Drivers’ Hours Rules in a reference period that is 26 weeks of longer
  • ‘Mobile Workers’ within the scope of these Regulations, unlike other classes of employee or class of ‘worker’ governed by Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended) cannot opt out.

What Is Working Time?
It’s the time actually worked during the shift. POA’s, which are described below and breaks, do not count as working time – even if they are paid. It’s what would be regarded as part of the normal working day e.g. driving, loading, safety checks, cab based training etc.

Periods of Availability (‘POA’)
These are defined as waiting time, the duration of which you are aware of in advance and where the worker does not have to remain at their workstation but may do so for security and / or safety reasons. However, the worker must be available to answer calls and/or resume work. Periods of availability are not counted as working time. You should be aware of the POA in advance i.e. before the period starts and of its approximate duration. It does not include delays due to congestion, road closures or diversions etc., as the driver is still ‘working’.

Calculating Working Time Limits
The limits are:

  • 60 hours in any given week
  • An average of 48 hours in any reference period
  • No more than 10 hours night work in any 24 hour period

The average weekly working time should be calculated over 4 months (normally 17/18 week reference period). If the workforce agrees, the reference period can be extended to 6 months (26 weeks). Employers and their workforce can agree to use a fixed or rolling reference period.

Reference Periods
There are four types of reference period:

  • Fixed calendar option which is calculated over a set four month period (normally 17 weeks) starting on the nearest Monday on or after: 1st December / 1st April / 1st August.
  • Rolling reference period of no more than 17 weeks which applies providing the employer notifies his workforce in writing.
  • Rolling reference period of between 17 and 26 weeks which can be agreed via a workforce agreement
  • Fixed reference period of between 17 and 26 weeks which can be agreed via a workforce agreement.

Workforce Agreements
A workforce agreement (as distinct from a collective agreement with a trade union or workforce organisation) is an agreement between an employer and the employer’s ‘mobile’ workforce. Within any one ‘mobile’ workforce, multiple workforce agreements may exist. There are specific requirements as to the content and procedure for securing and implementation of such agreements. If the workforce agrees, the reference period and the date of its implementation can be varied as above and / or the 10-hour night working limit can be extended. Failure to comply with these specific requirements renders such agreements invalid.

Any holidays provided in addition to the pro-rata 4 weeks’ statutory leave, to which all workers are entitles, will count as zero hours and may be used to average working time. The 4-weeks statutory holiday entitlement will count as 48 hours per week or 8 hours per day in the calculations of average working time.

Night Shift
For the purpose of the Regulations, night time is between midnight and 4am (for goods vehicles) and 1am and 5am (for passenger vehicles). Anyone who works during that period will be regarded as a night worker, regardless of when they start or finish work. Unless there is a workforce agreement in place, night workers must not exceed a shift work limit of 10 hours in any 24-hour period regardless of when the shift starts or finishes. Breaks and POAs are not included in the 10-hour limit.

Rest and Breaks
Minimum daily and weekly rest provisions are generally applied to drivers by the EU Drivers’ Hours Rules. The new Regulations also apply daily / weekly rest requirements to other mobile workers, trainees and apprentices. Break requirements under EU Drivers’ Hours Rules take precedence when driving.

The rules on breaks will also apply on days when the mobile worker is not travelling.

The New Regulations Require:

  • Mobile workers who come under the scope of the Road Transport Regulations should not work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break
  • If working hours total between 6-9 hours a day, a break of at least 30 minutes in total is required.
  • Working time should be interrupted with a break of 45 minutes if working hours total more than 9 hours a day.
  • Breaks can be divided up into 15 minute intervals / periods

Emergency Situations
Employers must schedule work in such a way that workers are able to comply with the regulations. However, provided road safety is not compromised and to enable the driver (‘mobile worker’) to reach a suitable stopping place, they may depart from these rules to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of persons, the vehicle or of its load. An emergency only applies in cases where it unexpectedly becomes impossible to comply with the Regulations. The driver (or ‘mobile worker’) should record all the reasons for doing so. However, repeated and regular occurrences might indicate that employers were not, in fact, scheduling work to enable compliance with the regulations.

Record Keeping

  • Working Time records must be kept for a minimum of two years plus the reference period in which the time is worked.
  • Employers are responsible for keeping Working Time records.
  • Mobile workers must inform an employer in writing for two or more during the reference period.
  • Employment agencies and / or Employment Businesses must keep records if the workers are paid by them
  • Drivers shall record all working activity including POA’s

Who’s Enforcing It?
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in Great Britain and the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency will be able to impose a range of improvement, enforcement and prohibition notices. These may lead to prosecution and imprisonment of a driver, employer and / or any other third party causing commission of an offence.