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Plain English Questions and Answers on Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations


  What is a Mobile worker?

A mobile worker is any worker forming part of the travelling staff. The term "Mobile worker" under the new rules applies to drivers and occupants of vehicles fitted with tachographs including porters, draymen, map readers, drivers' mates or drivers double manning.

  What is Working Time?

The time during which the mobile worker is at his workstation (Cab, Warehouse, Goods yard etc.) at the disposal of the employer and exercising his functions or activities"
eg. road transport activities, include the following:
  • driving;
  • loading and unloading;
  • cleaning and technical maintenance;
  • all other work intended to ensure the safety of the vehicle, its cargo and passengers such as monitoring loading and unloading;
  • all work to fulfil the legal or regulatory obligations directly linked to the specific transport operations under way, including dealing with administrative formalities with police, customs and immigration officers;
  • waiting time (where the foreseeable duration of the wait is not known in advance) i.e. time during which the mobile worker cannot dispose freely of his time and is required to be at his workstation, ready to take up normal work, with certain tasks associated with being on duty.

The following are not classed as Working Time under the WTRT Regulations:
  • Periods of Availability
  • Breaks / rest breaks
  • Daily rest
  • Weekly rest (under EU drivers' hours rules)
  • Routine travel to and from work
  • Voluntary work and activities outside the definition of Working Time (such as working as a Retained Fire Fighter, a Special Constable or a member of the Reserve Forces). However, such time needs to be monitored and borne in mind in the interests of health and safety.

  What are Periods of Availability?

A Period of Availability is a period of waiting time, the duration of which is known in advance.

The following criteria apply to a Period of Availability:
Where a mobile worker is not required to remain at their workstation (i.e. vehicle), but must be available to answer any calls to start or resume driving or other work; and
The duration of the period is known in advance either before departure, or before the start of the period of availability. The mobile worker need not be formally informed of a Period of Availability, but must know about it and the foreseeable duration.

Examples of periods of availability include:
  • Expected wait for loading/unloading and the driver is free to dispose of his/her time (such as waiting in canteen or rest area)
  • Waiting with broken down vehicle
  • Accompanying vehicle being transported by boat or rail
  • Foreseeable time waiting at frontiers
  • Expected delay at a customers' premises (where the mobile worker is free to dispose of their time)
  • Reporting for work, but the mobile worker is not required to undertake duties, but is to remain available on site for a foreseeable period of time
  • Expected delay at a customers' premises (where the mobile worker is free to dispose of their time)
  • Expected wait is known, but the Mobile Worker remains in the cab for reasons of safety e.g. transporting dangerous goods.

  Are Periods of Availability paid?

In most cases yes. DTI guidance states, "Working time is not the same as paid time and we would expect employees to be paid for availability time."

Periods of availability may be paid or unpaid but do not count as Working time.

  If I have my 45 minute break as per EU driver hours law, do I need to take my WTRT 30 minute brake also?

No, the break amounts are not added together. You have to comply with both laws but EU drivers' hours law takes precedence. In practice, if you follow the break times for the EU drivers' hours you will never fall foul of the Working Time (Road Transport) Regulations break laws. If, however, you work but do not drive a vehicle for the day or drive a van / non taco vehicle you would have to follow the WTRT break regulations.

  How can I record my Working Time by using the tachograph chart?

During an assignment, drivers must accurately record their time in line with EU drivers' hours rules on client's tachographs. To monitor Working Time using tachograph records, it is recommended to use the "driving" time mode, represented as a steering wheel, to monitor driving; the cross hammers mode for "other work" and waiting time (where the period of wait is not known in advance); Periods of Availability may be represented on a tachograph chart using the box containing a right diagonal line. Breaks and rest periods must also be recorded and are represented by a bed.

  How can I calculate average Working time?

Calculating a mobile worker's average weekly Working Time during a reference period in line with the Working Time (Road Transport) Regulations formula:

Working Time + (notional hours for sick leave or holiday) ÷ number of weeks = average working time for the relevant period.

Example Working Time calculation

An HGV driver has the following Working Time:
60 hours for 5 weeks, 40 hours for 12 weeks and 48 hours for 9 weeks.

Total Hours 1212 ÷ 26 = 46.61 hours

An HGV driver has the following Working Time:
60 hours for 5 weeks, 48 hours for 11 weeks, 40 hours for 8 weeks and 2 weeks holiday

Total Hours 1148 + notional 96 hours = 1244 ÷ 26 = 47.85 hours

We also provide a free online working time calculator to make your life easier.

  My mate says his agency is not doing anything about the new regulations

Advise him to stay on the right side of the law and to protect himself by moving to another, reputable, agency.

  I consistently do more than 48 hours working time and I'm worried about running out of hours before the end of the reference period?

Your employer should monitor your working time and attempt to prevent this from happening. If it is apparent that it will be a problem, they may have to move you onto other work and restrict you to shorter hours. This may affect your earning potential. You can lessen, and in most cases remove this problem, if you record your periods of availability diligently.

You could also track your hours using the online calculator.

  How do I opt out?

If you are a mobile worker in a vehicle with a tachograph you can't. There is no provision to opt out of this legislation. So please ignore anybody that tells you otherwise. Ignorance is no defence!

  Who is responsible for enforcement?

The Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA), formerly Vehicle Inspectorate, will enforce the WTRT regulations in Great Britain. VOSA has suggested their enforcement approach will be proportionate, with the onus on educating employers and workers rather than prosecution. As with existing Working Time legislation, VOSA will normally enforce the regulations in response to any complaints they receive. However, VOSA retains the right to look at Working Time records if they consider there are good grounds for doing so (e.g. in response to a licensing issue or as part of an investigation into a breach of drivers' hours rules). They may also ask to look at Working Time records following a road accident or other serious incident. A mobile worker also has a responsibility for complying with the regulations. If the mobile worker knowingly breaks the rules (e.g. neglects to inform his employer or employment business about other work, or knowingly makes a false record), then they may be liable for prosecution.

  How do I deal with a new starter in the middle of a reference period?

VOSA informed us that they would expect you to calculate the hours over the remaining weeks.

Example:
A new Driver starts mid way through a reference period, with only 8 weeks remaining. You would calculate the driving hours available by multiplying 48 hours by 8 weeks = 384 working time hours available across the remaining 8 weeks.

  How do I calculate part week holidays?

1 day's holiday = 8 hours working time
1 week's holiday (Monday to Friday) = 48 hours working time
1 week's holiday (Wednesday to Tuesday) = 40 hours working time

Explaination:
The regulations specify that a day's holiday counts as 8 hours working time and 1 weeks holiday counts as 48 hours. The regulations also define a working week as starting at 00.00 hours Monday morning. So 5 days holiday from Monday to Friday is classed as a week and 48 hours, but 5 days holiday Wednesday to Tuesday is class as two part weeks ie:
Wednesday to Friday 3 X 8 = 24 Working Time and
Monday to Tuesday 2 x 8 = 16 hours Working Time.


Disclaimer This website should be read in conjunction with the relevent legislation and appropriate legal advice.


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