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(Working Time) Regulations and an online Driver Hours Calculator.
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Information extracted from DfT Guidance dated 14th of March 2005, please check with DfT for the latest version and use that for legal advice.

Section 5 - Rest and breaks

5.1  Main points

Employers check:

  • That all mobile workers can take the rest and breaks they are obliged to take.
  • That mixing driving with other work does not lead to a breach in the break requirements under these Regulations (see examples below).

All workers are subject to rest provisions under the Community Drivers' Hours regulation when travelling.

5.2  Daily rest

Drivers already have minimum daily rest requirements under Community Drivers' Hours regulation. When driving, the Community Drivers' Hours regulation requires 11 consecutive hours rest in each period of 24 hours (calculated from the moment the driver commences work), with the possibility of reducing this to 9 consecutive hours up to 3 times a week. Any reduced daily rest must be compensated for by the end of the following week. Alternatively, 12 hours rest may be taken in two or three periods, the last of which must be at least 8 consecutive hours long.

Under the new working time regulations, identical daily rest requirements will also apply to other members of the travelling staff (the crew, trainees and apprentices).

5.3  Weekly rest

The Community Drivers' Hours regulation require 45 consecutive hours weekly rest, but this can be reduced to 36 or 24 hours (depending upon where it is taken) provided that any reduction is compensated for within three weeks.   Rest requirements, are additional to any paid annual leave entitlement that drivers are entitled to under other working time legislation.

5.4  Breaks

The Community Drivers' Hours regulation require a break of 45 minutes after 4˝ hours cumulative or continuous driving (or 2 or 3 breaks of no less than 15 minutes which total 45 minutes during or immediately after the driving period). However, the break requirements under the new regulations will affect workers who do a mixture of driving and non-driving work. The rules on breaks will also apply on days when the mobile worker is not travelling.

The new regulations require:

When taking a break, drivers may not perform anything that might be regarded as "other work" during this period. Breaks taken under these regulations may be taken at the workstation (typically this means the driver's cab - but see glossary for fuller definition of this and other terms).

Frequently asked questions:

Q: Do these breaks count towards the working time of mobile workers.No. Whether paid or unpaid, breaks do not count towards any of the limits under these Regulations.

Q:   How are breaks calculated when a driver has also taken a period of availability?

Breaks requirements under working time legislation are triggered by the amount of working time that is performed, rather than the length of shift or attendance time (see example 4 over the page). In addition, there is nothing to prevent a mobile worker taking a break in the middle of a period of availability, as long as they meet all the appropriate requirements for taking a break.

Examples of breaks:3

1. ˝ hour other work + 4˝ hour driving triggers a 45 minute break under EU drivers hours rules. Another 4˝ hours driving triggers another 45 minute break under EU drivers' hours rules. No breaks taken under the Road Transport Regulations (RTR). Daily break time = 90 minutes

Examples of Breaks - Example 1

2.   4 hours other work + 2 hours driving triggers a break (30 minutes in this case) under Working Time Regulations. Another 3 hours work (9 hours in total) and another 15 minute break is needed under working time regulations. Total breaks = 45 minutes

Examples of Breaks - Example 2

3. Three hours driving + 2 hours other work + 1 hour driving will trigger a break (30 minutes in this case) under working time rules. Another ˝ of driving = 4˝ driving, requiring another 15 minute break under EU drivers hours rules. No further breaks are required. Daily break time = 45 minutes.

Examples of Breaks - Example 3

4. Three hours driving + 2 hours availability + 3 hour other work triggers a break requirement under Working Time Regulations (30 minutes in this case). Another 1˝ hours driving triggers the remaining 15 minutes under EU drivers' hours rules. No further breaks are required. Daily break = 45 minutes. (If all the conditions are met, then a driver could take his mandatory break during the PoA)

Examples of breaks - example 4

 Examples of breaks - Key

3 Note: If "other work" consists of driving under UK Drivers' Hours rules, then additional break requirements may apply.

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