Changes to Reduced Weekly Rest
The introduction of regulation EU/2020/1054 has brought changes to reduced weekly rest periods. Prior to this regulation the ruling on weekly rest periods was that a driver in any two consecutive weeks shall take, at least, two regular weekly rest periods or one regular weekly rest and one reduced weekly rest of at least 24 hours. The new regulation has a further derogation in that a driver engaged in international transport of goods may, outside the Member State of establishment, take two consecutive reduced weekly rests provided that the driver in any four consecutive weeks takes at least four weekly rest of which at least two shall be regular full weekly rests.
To qualify for this derogation the driver must start each of the two consecutive reduced weekly rests outside of the Member State where their employer is based and also the country of the driver’s place of residence
With regard to compensation for any reduction of weekly rest the previous requirement, and a requirement that is still in place when reducing one weekly rest in a consecutive two week period, is that the equivalent period of rest must be taken en bloc before the end of the third week following the week of the reduction. This compensatory period must be attached to another rest period of at least nine hours.
The requirement for taking the compensatory rest period when dealing with two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods is slightly different. The regulation states that where two reduced weekly rest periods have been taken consecutively the next weekly rest period shall be preceded by a rest period taken as compensation for those two reduced weekly rest periods. This does not clarify if the compensatory period is to be added to the regular weekly rest period however a further amendment in the new regulation does help clarify the position. The driver’s schedule should be that the driver is able to return to the employer’s operational centre where the driver is normally based, or the drivers place of residence within the period of four consecutive weeks in order to spend at least one regular weekly rest period or a weekly rest period of more than 45 hours taken in compensation for reduced weekly rest. The regulation says, however, that where the driver has taken two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods the transport undertaking shall organise the work of the driver in such a way that the driver is able to return before the start of the regular weekly rest period of more than 45 hours taken in compensation. The compensatory period must precede the weekly rest period and must be completed prior to the start of the weekly rest period begins which should be no more than 6 x 24 hour periods from the end of the previous weekly rest period
The regulation also states that the undertaking shall document how it fulfils this obligation and shall keep documentation at its premises in order to present at the request of enforcement bodies.
To summarise these changes:
- The previous reduced weekly rest periods and compensatory rest periods remain the same, i.e., one reduced weekly rest period in any two consecutive weeks with the compensatory period added to another rest period of at least nine hours by the end of the third week following the reduction
- Regular weekly rest periods and weekly rest periods of more than 45 hours taken in compensation for previous reduced weekly rest period (excluding compensation for two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods) shall not be taken in the vehicle
- If not taken at base the above weekly rest periods shall be taken in suitable gender friendly accommodation with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities. Any costs for this accommodation to be covered by the employer
- The driver may reduce their weekly rest for two consecutive weeks in any four consecutive week period. Provided:
- The driver is engaged in international transport of goods, where the reduced weekly rest will take place outside of the transport undertaking state of establishment or the drivers’ place of residence
- The compensatory rest period precedes the next regular weekly rest, the regulation implies that the compensatory period is attached to a regular weekly rest period
- The compensatory period of more than 45 hours is taken at the transport undertakings operation centre where the driver is usually based or the drivers’ place of residence
- The transport undertaking shall the reduction of the two consecutive weekly rest periods and retain this documentation