The scenario is relevant to both the road haulage and PCV industry, as the same principles apply when planning the routes and work associated with collection and carriage of cargo or passengers. The question that was received is provided below.

Question

We are having an issue with a driver with respect to his planned weekly rest periods as there is a dispute between and him the company. Please look at the following schedule and advise as to whether this schedule would be legal.

The driver will take a 45-hour regular weekly rest period on Saturday 12 July and Sunday 13 July 2014.

He returns to work on Monday 14 July 2014 at 7 am and will then work his normal shifts of 0700–1730 hours on Monday 14 July 2014, Tuesday 15 July 2014 and Wednesday 16 July 2014, ending at 1730 hours.

The driver will next start work again on the evening of Thursday 17 July 2014 at 1730 hours, therefore taking 24 hours off.

The driver will work away over Friday 18 July 2014, Saturday 19 July 2014, Sunday 20 July 2014, Monday 21 July 2014 and Tuesday 21 July 2014, eventually finishing on Wednesday 23 July 2014 at 1230 hours. We have scheduled him to finish away from base on the Wednesday in order to collect a load or passengers the following day to transport them back to the depot.

The driver will not start again until he departs at 1400 hours on Thursday 24 July 2014 (25.5 hours’ rest). This will enable him to undertake this work and deliver the load or the passengers back to the depot, ending at approximately 1900 hours.

The driver has booked Friday as a holiday and is off on Saturday and Sunday.

However, the driver is insisting on two aspects.

1. By working on each day from Thursday 17 July at 1730 hours to Wednesday 23 July he will have worked on seven consecutive days and this is not allowed.

2. Furthermore, he states that at no time can he do back-to-back reductions of a weekly rest. He is refusing to do the work scheduled and is saying he would have to end on Wednesday and that we should schedule him back to the depot that day.

Can you please advise if the above scenario is legal or do we need to get the driver back to the depot on Wednesday 23 July 2014 and send another driver to undertake the work on the Thursday 24 July?

Answer

The easiest way to explain scenarios like these is to take the stage by stage and explain the law as it stands at each point, thereby creating a full picture.

The legislation

The understanding of the weekly rest legislation needs to be looked at as both the “fixed” week and “working” week come into effect.

Under the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations (SI 2006 No. 561) Article 4(i), a “fixed” week is defined as being from 0000 hours on a Monday to 2400 hours the following Sunday.

Under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations (SI 2006 No. 561) Article 4(h), a regular weekly rest period is a period of at least 45 consecutive hours, while a reduced weekly rest period is one that is less than 45 consecutive, but not less than 24, consecutive hours.

Under the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations (SI 2006 No. 561) Article 8(6), in any two “fixed” weeks, i.e. from 0000 hours on a Monday until 2400 hours two Sundays later, the driver shall take at least two regular weekly rest periods or at least one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period. Therefore, the driver can take more weekly rests than this, but not less.

The scheduled work

Therefore, looking at your described work schedule above:

  • Saturday 12 July — rest
  • Sunday 13 July — rest

The driver will take a weekly rest period of over 45 hours and therefore this will be a regular weekly rest period for fixed week 1. Therefore, the driver will be required to take at least a reduced weekly rest period (at least 24 hours) in week 2.

  • Monday 14 July: start work at 0730 hours — fixed week 2 starts at 0000 hours Monday

Having ended the previous weekly rest period at 0730 hours on Monday, the driver has a maximum of 144 hours, i.e. until 0730 hours on Sunday 20 July, to begin the next weekly rest period.

  • Tuesday 15 July — work 0700–1730 hours.
  • Wednesday 16 July — work 0700–1730 hours.
  • Thursday 17 July — start work at 1730 hours — end 0330 hours.

Operators, Transport Managers, Transport Manager, TM, Driver, Drivers, Solicitors, Solicitor, Barrister, Barristers, DVSA, JAUPT, DVLA, High Standard, Professional, Experts, Forensic, Transport, Compliance, Consultancy, Compliancy, Operational, Management, Consultants, forensically trained, Qualify tachographs analyst, Court witness, Wealth of knowledge, Experience, Expert Witness

Various myths have developed with respect to the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations in some service station forecourts around the UK. These myths have developed into “facts” that lead to problems within the industry, as the example question below shows. Gordon Humphreys of Foster Tachographs Ltd provides a detailed answer to a question asked by an operator on the subject of his driver’s weekly rest periods

This will, therefore, be a reduced weekly rest period of 24 hours taken between 1730 hours on Wednesday through to 1730 hours on Thursday.

Providing this is at least 24 hours, then this qualifies as a reduced weekly rest and therefore compensation of the difference between 45 and 24 (i.e. 21 hours) is required by the end of week 5 (the end of the third week following).

The driver has now met the legal requirement of having, in any two fixed week period (week 1 and week 2), at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest period.

The driver has now met the legal requirement of having, in any two fixed week period (week 1 and week 2), at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest period.

A new working week has commenced at 1730 hours on Thursday 17 July.

  • Friday 18 July — work 1430–0130 hours
  • Saturday 19 July — work 1230–2330 hours
  • Sunday 20 July — work 1030–2130 hours
  • Monday 21 July — work 0830–1930 hours — fixed week 3 starts at 0000 hours Monday
  • Tuesday 22 July — work 0730–1930 hours
  • Wednesday 23 July — work 0630–1230 hours

At this stage, the first concern of the driver can be addressed. As stated, the driver has a maximum of 144 hours between each weekly rest. Therefore, the next weekly rest was due to begin, at the latest, at 1730 hours on Wednesday 23 July and although the work scheduled has spanned over seven calendar days, the work has been condensed within the 144 hours limit between weekly rest periods and therefore is legal.

The driver has ended the working week at 1230 hours on Wednesday (five hours before the 144 hours limit between weekly rest periods is reached).

A new working week has commenced at 1400 hours on Thursday 24 July.

The driver will then have taken a weekly rest period of 25.5 hours, a reduced weekly rest period, and therefore a compensation of 19.5 hours (45–25.5 = 19.5) is required by the end of week 6 (the end of the third week following).

At this stage, the legal requirement of having, in any two fixed weeks (week 2 and week 3), at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest periods has not yet been met.

  • Thursday 24 July — work 1400–1900 hours — the driver will start a weekly rest period at 1900 hours.
  • Friday 25 July — rest
  • Saturday 26 July — rest
  • Sunday 27 July — rest

Therefore, a regular weekly rest, i.e. of at least 45 consecutive hours, will start at this time, having ended work at an estimated time of 1900 hours on Thursday. The driver will then be off at rest all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is not due to start the next working shift until 0900 hours on Monday 28 July 2014.

However, having taken a reduced weekly rest already this week, the driver then takes a regular weekly rest period (i.e. of at least 45 consecutive hours) of some 86 consecutive hours from an estimated end time of 1900 hours on Thursday 24 July. Therefore, in the two-week period of week 2 and week 3, the driver will take one regular and two reduced weekly rest periods which will meet the legal criteria of taking at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest periods.

However, for the two reduced weekly rest periods, the driver is required to pay back a total of 40.5 hours; in two separate, but complete blocks of 21 hours and 19.5 hours.

Therefore, by planning the driver’s return to work at 0900 hours on Monday 28 July, this rest period of 86 hours could then be considered as 45 + 21 (compensation for week 2) + 19.5 (compensation for week 3) and all time is paid back with 30 minutes left over.

Conclusion

In conclusion and based on the information provided, this work schedule would be legal as in each two-week period the driver is able to take at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest period, while at the same time the driver never goes more than 144 hours between weekly rest periods.

There is flexibility which means shifts could be arranged around how and when the compensations were made, although we would always advise that arrangements are made to pay back reductions as soon as possible.

You could sign up for email alerts for the Latest News and Features to get updates from the Foster Compliance from the link below or call us on 01772 655 155 or send us an email to admin@fostertachographs.co.uk

Regular Compliance Updates mailing list