Employing road transport workers: driving time and rest periods
Weekly working time
If you employ workers engaged in road transport activities, you must ensure that they comply with the EU rules on average weekly working time of 48 hours.
An employee is considered a transport worker when they:
- carry out road transport activities (such as driving, loading, and unloading, assisting passengers get on and off the vehicle, cleaning and technical maintenance, monitoring of loading and unloading of goods, administrative formalities)
- do not have any free time and are required to wait at their workstation/vehicle, for example during periods of loading or unloading
If you are a self-employed driver, you can count as working time activities during which you are required to be at your workstation or in your vehicle, at the disposal of the client or undertaking transport activities.
As an employer, remember that your staff can only drive up to a maximum of 9 hours per day. However, you can extend the daily driving time to maximum 10 hours and not more than twice a week. Your drivers cannot drive more than 56 hours per week and their total fortnightly driving time cannot exceed 90 hours.
You can extend the working time, if required, to a maximum of 60 hours in one week. This extension is possible only if your employees work an average of 48 hours per week over a 4-month period.
You hire a driver to transport your goods to another EU country. During the course of one week, they drive for 56 hours and carry out 4 hours of vehicle maintenance - a total of 60 hours. In order to comply with the EU rules on average weekly working time of 48 hours, the driver must work less than 48 hours during the weeks following this assignment within the 4-month reference period.
EU rules on driving times and rest periods apply to vehicles that:
carry goods and have a maximum permissible mass greater than 3.5 tonnes, or
carry passengers and have the capacity of minimum 10 seats, including the driver
Breaks during the working day
Your staff should not work for more than 6 consecutive hours without a break. If your employees work between 6 and 9 hours, they are entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes. If they work more than 9 hours, they are entitled to a break of at least 45 minutes
After driving period of 4.5 hours, you must ensure that your drivers take an uninterrupted break of at least 45 minutes, unless they take a rest period. Alternatively, this break can be split into two parts: the first break lasting at least 15 minutes, followed by a second break of at least 30 minutes.
Night work means any work performed during night-time. According to EU rules, night-time work refers to a period of at least 4 hours between 00:00 and 07:00. However, this period varies across EU countries.
If your employees work within a specific window of at least 4 hours between 00:00 and 07:00, they are considered night workers. If they do night work, your employees cannot carry more than 10 hours of working time in each 24-hour period.
Daily rest periods
You must guarantee your employees a regular daily rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours. You can reduce the rest period to 9 hours for a maximum of 3 times between any two weekly rest periods. The driver can split a regular daily rest period into two parts: the first part must be of at least 3 hours, the second part of at least 9 hours, so that the sum of the two parts must be of at least 12 hours.
WarningDrivers must complete the daily rest period within 24 hours from the start of the working day.
Drivers who take uninterrupted rest periods of 45 hours or more must rest in a suitable gender-friendly accommodation with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities, and not in the vehicle. As an employer, you must cover the costs of such accommodation.
Your employees should have an uninterrupted rest period of 45 hours per week, which you can reduce to 24 hours every second week. If you reduce the weekly rest period, you must agree with your employees on a compensatory rest period.
When managing your employee’s working schedule, you must ensure that they have 45 continuous hours of rest after 6 days of driving and at least 24 hours every second week.
Your employees may take a reduced rest period only every second week if you compensate them for the reduction with an equivalent single rest period before the end of the third following week. You must attach this compensation to another rest period of at least 9 hours.
Special rules for drivers who carry goods
Exceptional rules apply to drivers who are engaged in international carriage of goods:
- Drivers may take two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods abroad, provided that in any 4 consecutive weeks they take at least 4 weekly rest periods. At least two of those rest periods must be regular weekly rest periods.
- After two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods, you must organise the return of your driver during the third week.
- Within the third week, the compensating rest time must precede and be taken together with the regular weekly rest period.
Special rules for drivers who carry passengers
If your coach drivers occasionally carry passengers and drive at least 24 consecutive hours in another EU or non-EU country, they can postpone their weekly rest period. They can wait for up to 12 days to take it, starting from the end of the last weekly rest period taken. This rule is also known as the “12 day rule” and only applies when the vehicle is fitted with a digital or smart tachograph.
Your drivers can take their reduced weekly rest periods as follows:
- at least 45 hours before the journey
- at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest period back to back (69 hours), or two regular weekly rest periods (45 hours + 45 hours), after the journey
Your employees may take a reduced rest period only every second week if you compensate them with an equivalent single rest period before the end of the third following week. You must attach this compensation to another rest period of at least 9 hours.
If your vehicles are single-manned, your driver must take a break every 3 hours when driving between 22:00 and 6:00.
You own a travel company in Slovenia, and you want to organise a 10-day coach trip to Portugal, with some stops in other EU countries. The trip starts on 11 April and ends on 21 April. Your coach driver has 48 hours rest during the weekend of 9 and 10 April and starts driving on 11 April. According to the rules on rest periods, the driver is allowed to start their weekly rest period after the end of the journey. However, their rest period must start no later than 12 days after 11 April, which means no later than 23 April.
As an employer, you must organise the driver's work and time off so that they are not away on work for more than 4 weeks in a row.
According to EU rules, the return place of the driver can be either:
- the driver's official residence
- the employer's operational centre
It is up to the driver to choose the place of return. If the driver does not make a choice, the employer can make that decision.
A tachograph is a device that records:
- driving times
- breaks and rest periods
- vehicle speed and distance performed
- other work or tasks performed by the driver (such as loading and unloading goods)
As an employer, you must ensure that your drivers are trained to correctly use the tachograph. You must keep the tachograph records for at least 1 year. Copies can be provided to the driver or local authorities upon request.
WarningLocal authorities can inspect the tachograph at any time during roadside checks. Recording irregularities can be subject to penalties.
Special rules apply when your employees are posted drivers.