How many hours am I allowed to drive my van for?

For most same day couriers within the UK the only legal restrictions on driving and working time will be the domestic drivers’ hours rules and some aspects of the Working Time Directive.

The GB Domestic Drivers’ Hours Rules apply to all drivers of goods vehicles, however small, driven in Great Britain (Northern Ireland has its own rules) in connection with a business, where EU drivers’ hours rules (tacho regulations) don’t apply.

The rules are quite straightforward. In any day (defined as 24 hours from the start of duty) you’re allowed to drive for a maximum of 10 hours. Driving is defined as being at the controls of a vehicle for the purposes of controlling its movement, whether Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 4:19 pm, July 24, 2008

Tags: , , , ,

Karoshi – Occupational Sudden Death

Karoshi is a Japanese word which is literally translated as “death from overwork”. It generally refers to sudden deaths by stroke or heart attack caused by work-related stress.

In 2006 a 45-year-old Toyota employee died, apparently from working less than 20 hours overtime per week in the run up to launching a new product.

His death has now been classed as an industrial injury, meaning that his family can claim against his employers’ insurances.

60 hours per week is classed as a short week by many in the UK same day courier industry. While HGV drivers are limited by law to 48 hours work a week and any employed workers can insist on working a maximum of 48 hours per week with 5 weeks holiday per year, many courier owner-drivers and courier company owner-managers work in excess of 70 hours per week with few if any holidays.

For the working man, doing his best to provide for his family, is it not better to have a few more years to spend with the family, rather than a few extra quid each year and an early death? Life is apparently a journey, not a destination.

(Written by me, working at 1837 on a Saturday evening)

Posted under Courier Basics, Courier Business, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 6:37 pm, July 19, 2008

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 Read More…

Posted under Drivers' Hours, Employment

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

Tags: ,

Employment issue question

If you’re not inspecting the vans on a daily basis and the drivers aren’t signing a vehicle defect sheet every day then you’re laying yourself wide open if they were to have a maintenance related accident.

If he has been filling in a damage/defect sheet and he’s not mentioned the damage then it’s presumably gross misconduct anyway, so no notice needed.

This is one of the reasons why you’re meant to give them a written statement of their employment particulars within 2 months of them starting. It protects the company as well as the employee.

Posted under Employment

Posted by Alec at 4:05 pm, May 9, 2008

Driving Hours

I feel a FAQ answer coming on….
But in the meantime….

If they’re only driving vehicles that aren’t on tacho they’re covered by the Working Time Directive but not by the Road Transport Directive – so they’re allowed to opt out of the hours requirement of the WTD.

They’re also covered by the UK domestic driving rules which limits them to a maximum of 10 hours per day driving and 11 hours per day total ‘duty time’.

No written records need to be kept, but if your employee was to drive for say 11 hours a day and had an accident that killed someone (or him) you’d probably be charged with manslaughter.

Posted under Courier Basics, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 1:14 pm, April 26, 2008

Terminating a Drivers Employment

One week’s statutory notice or whatever it says in the written statement of employment particulars that you made available to him within two months of him starting working for you.

Posted under Employment

Posted by Alec at 2:44 pm, April 4, 2008

Employed or Self EmployedDrivers

“you can not employ a driver on a self employed basis if he/she only works for you as inland rev say there is no reason why can not be paye. “

Luckily it’s not the IR who decide, it’s the courts, and they think differently. There is case law relating to the transport industry which allows companies to ’employ’ self-employed drivers to drive the company’s vehicles – as long as the contract’s properly worded.

There’s also no specific law against paying a driver a percentage or a mileage rate. I think the reason this is seen as a problem is that if you’re running vehicles over 3500kg and you receive attention from the Traffic Commissioners following an accident or drivers’ hours offences they they’re likely to rule that a bonus scheme, or mileage based payments is a contributing factor to the problem and penalise the company more than they would normally.

Posted under Employment

Posted by Alec at 10:01 am, March 10, 2008

CRB Checks

“How do you go about getting CRB checked” – you don’t, unless you’re involved in an activity which requires it. Most couriers aren’t involved in anything that would involve a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure, so they can’t be CRB checked by their employers or customers.

All that can be obtained is a Basic Disclosure, which is only ever issued to the applicant (the driver or whoever), these are available from Ignore the fact that it’s a Scottish service – it covers the whole of the UK.

Posted under Employment

Posted by Alec at 9:54 am, February 12, 2008