The Working Time Directive and Road Transport Directive for Couriers

I won’t go into the full details of the Road Transport Directive (RTD) here since most companies affected by it are haulage companies rather than same day couriers and should have a CPC holder with knowledge of such matters. I’ll cover it in full in a future posting. Since the RTD has much stricter rules than the Working Time Directive it’s important to know whether you’re covered by it.

Does the RTD apply?

The RTD applies only to mobile workers who work in vehicles to which EU drivers’ hours rules apply – that is vehicles with a tachograph fitted. THIS WILL INCLUDE MOST DRIVERS OF TRANSIT OR SPRINTER VANS USED TO TOW TRAILERS.

‘Working in’ would include driving, shunting, navigating, training, loading etc and would include driver’s mates.

It applies to some self-employed drivers under limited circumstances but looks set to include all self-employed drivers (of vehicles with tachos) from March 2009.

Workers who only occasionally drive or work in vehicles to which EU drivers’ hours rules apply are still subject to the RTD even when not driving if they work in vehicles with tachos for 11 days or more during a reference period that is shorter than 26 weeks or 16 days or more where the reference period is 26 weeks or longer.

For example a warehouseman who takes a 7.5 tonner out to refuel it now and again would be covered by the RTD during all his working time if he drove the 7.5 on 11 separate days during the reference period, even if it was for just ten minutes each time.

A worker who is covered by the RTD because of work carried out for one employer would also be covered by the RTD if he carries out any other work for other employers – weekend work for example.

A mobile worker who isn’t covered by the RTD is still covered by the Working Time Directive (WTD)

What does the WTD mean to couriers?

The Working Time Directive does not apply to the self-employed. Unlike the RTD (see above) there are no firm plans to broaden its scope to include self-employed workers.

The rights that the WTD gives to mobile workers not covered by the RTD are:

An average 48 hour working week over (usually) a 17 week period. Workers can choose to opt out of the 48 hour maximum working week but the opt out must be voluntary and in writing and they can cancel their opt out at short notice.

Adequate rest, both daily and weekly – but unspecified. ‘Adequate rest’ means that workers have regular rest periods.  These should be sufficiently long and continuous to ensure that workers do not injure themselves, fellow workers or others and that they do not damage their health, either in the short term or in the longer term.

Free health assesments for night workers. This must be offered to all workers before they start regularly working at night time – which is defined as: at least three hours between 11pm and 6am or (by agreement with your workers) at least 3 hours during any 7 hour period which includes the period between Midnight and 5 am. Free health assessments must be offered on a regular basis, usually once a year or more.

A minimum of 4.8 weeks per year paid holiday per year (increases to 5.6 weeks on 1st April 2009). The employer is free (within reason) to specify the dates when the holidays can be taken and Bank Holidays are included in the minimum entitlement.

These are the minimum entitlements, employers are of course entitled to offer their employees better terms.

Further reading:

WTD Guidance

RTD Guidance

Posted under Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 3:27 pm, July 19, 2008

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