The working time rules that apply to you depend on whether you drive a vehicle in scope of EU or GB domestic drivers’ hours rules. Drivers who are subject to GB domestic rules are not governed by the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 but are affected by four provisions under the 1998 regulations.
- weekly working time, which must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week over the reference period (although individuals can ‘opt out’ of this requirement if they want to);
- an entitlement to 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave;
- health assessment for night workers; and
- an entitlement to adequate rest.
Therefore, from a working time perspective, drivers subject to GB domestic hours rules are not capped at 60 hours’ working time. However, drivers subject to GB domestic rules are still governed by a 48-hour average but individuals can opt out of this.
Do our drivers have to take holidays? Also, do we legally have to show holidays in our working time calculations for drivers who do not want to take any holiday? The driver in question is a full-time driver and works under EU driver’s hours’ rules which we conform with. The problem we have is that the driver in question never wants to take holiday and would rather be at work.
Everyone needs a holiday from work, even if only to recharge the batteries. Under the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005, mobile workers are required to have a minimum of 20 days’ statutory holiday per year. This is a legal requirement.
Regarding Working Time, the 20 days must be recorded as eight hours per day or 48 hours per week. The days can be spread out throughout the year but there must be at least 20 days’ holiday recorded for your drivers. Any days above the 20 statutory days can be recorded as zero regarding working time calculations.
The main directive only required four weeks of paid holiday, but the UK Government has extended this to 5.6 weeks. Employers can stipulate when leave is taken and there is no legal requirement to time off on bank holidays.
A RULE RIGIDLY APPLIED
Our fleet is made up of mainly rigid vehicles; however, we do have some articulated vehicles. There are occasions when we need to take the tractor units to, or collect them from, the maintenance provider, but the drivers of the articulated vehicles have gone home. However, there is usually a driver of a rigid vehicle in the yard who is available. As the rigid drivers only have a Category C vocational licence, could we use them to take solo tractor units for service? We have had conflicting reports regarding this situation, with comments that the fifth wheel needs to be disabled. As we do not want to break the law, what is the answer?
When a tractor unit is separated from its trailer it will be classed as a rigid vehicle, therefore if no trailer is attached to the vehicle, it can be driven on a Category C Licence. There is no need to disable the fifth wheel or take any other action. If the tractor unit is driven solo (without a semi-trailer attached) it can be driven on a Category C Licence.
MIXED FLEET MESSAGES
We operate a mixed fleet of goods vehicles, but do not transport any dangerous goods and have been advised by one of our parts suppliers that all our goods vehicles are required to carry fire extinguishers, is this true?
It may be best practice, but not all goods vehicles are required to carry fire extinguishers. Vehicles carrying dangerous goods are required to carry firefighting equipment and the amount and size of fire extinguishers carried will be determined by the quantities of hazardous goods they are carrying and the size of the vehicle (Transport Unit).
Regulations also require all minibuses and PSVs to carry suitable and efficient apparatus for extinguishing fire. Any fire extinguishers carried on a vehicle should be regularly inspected and maintained in a serviceable condition at all times. They should also display an inscription at least showing the next inspection or the maximum permissible period of use as applicable.