New rules on drivers’ hours: impact on Reservists

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by SaBRE_helpline, Mar 12, 2007.

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  1. As has already been discussed on this forum, a new European Union Regulation on drivers’ hours, effective from 11 April 2007, will impact upon certain members of the Volunteer Reserve Forces who are drivers in their civilian employment. We hope that the following information helps to clarify the current situation.

    The new rules are contained in “EU Regulation number 561/2006” which revises existing EU drivers’ hours legislation. A copy of the new EU Regulation is available from the Department for Transport website (


    The new rules apply to “vocational drivers” – which means almost exclusively drivers of vehicles that require tachographs. They do not apply to other drivers (for example, drivers of cars or small vans).

    The changes will not affect Reservists who are drivers in the Reserve Forces but are not vocational drivers in their civilian employment.

    The key issue for the Reserve Forces is that Reservists who are vocational drivers in their civilian employment are required to take rest periods and that any time on duty with the Reserve Forces (whether undertaking driving or any other type of activity) does not count as rest time.

    Full information on drivers’ hours rules is available from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency ( but the rules generally apply to vehicles with a Maximum Authorised Mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes or with the ability to carry 10 passengers including the driver.


    The Regulation reinforces the requirement for vocational drivers to take minimum periods of continuous rest on a daily and weekly basis. In summary the requirement is for:

    a. Daily Rest. The daily rest requirement is for 11 hours continuous rest; this can be reduced to 9 hours in any one day, but only on 3 occasions in any one week. This should not prevent Reservists from attending training evenings.

    b. Weekly Rest. The weekly rest requirement is for an average of 45 hours of continuous rest. This can be reduced to 24 hours, providing that the 21 hours lost are made up within the following 21 days in a single block attached to another period of rest. It is this that clashes with Reservist weekend training.


    Reservists who are vocational drivers in their civilian employment and their employers should discuss this issue as soon as possible, with the aim of agreeing a way forward which enables both the employer to comply with the Regulation and the employee to continue to serve with the Reserve Forces.

    Sources of information and advice to prepare for that discussion are listed below.

    The main options open to discussion should be for the Reservist employee:
    a. to move to another role which is not covered by the EU drivers' hours rules, for the same employer;
    b. obtain the required rest by taking unpaid leave (for example, to take a Monday after a training weekend off) which could be additional unpaid leave specifically for this purpose;
    c. obtain the required rest by taking time out of their annual holiday requirement.

    If an agreement cannot be reached between the Reservist and the employer, the only alternatives are for the Reservist to move to a new employer (either in a role not covered by the EU drivers' hours rules or to an employer which provides additional time off) or to leave the Reserve Forces.

    Reservists who drive for their civilian employers but are not “vocational drivers” as described above should be clear that these changes do not affect them.


    The Ministry of Defence and Department for Transport are exploring the scope for an exemption from some elements of the legislation. However, even if possible, any exemption will take 12 to 18 months to come into effect and in the interim all Reservists will be required to comply with the Regulation as it currently stands.

    The MOD is also reviewing Reserve Forces’ training and work patterns to identify any opportunities for adjustments which could help accommodate vocational drivers who are also Reservists. Further guidance will be issued to Units through the chain-of-command as soon as possible. However, there is limited scope for change and vocational drivers who undertake a full week’s driving Monday to Friday will not be able to commit to a full weekend’s Reservist training unless they can take additional time off to rest.

    In addition, SaBRE is working with employers to explain the MOD’s position to employers and to encourage them to assist those affected by the Regulation to continue to serve in the Reserve Forces.


    Employers should contact SaBRE – either directly at a national level or one of SaBRE’s Regional Directors. Contact details for the Regional Directors can be found on SaBRE’s website ( along with a range of information about this and other issues relating to the employment of members of the Reserve Forces.

    Reservists should, in the first instance, speak to their chain-of-command or their Unit’s Employer Support Officer / Regimental Operations Support Officer. The UESO / ROSO has access to further assistance if required.

    SaBRE’s helpline (0800 389 5459) is also available to both employers and Reservists to provide general information and advice but detailed queries on specific cases will be referred to Units or to SaBRE’s Regional Directors. Any information SaBRE obtains about the position being adopted by major employers of vocational drivers will be available through the helpline.
  2. Can one of the Mods make this a sticky please? It's going to affect the trogs quite a lot and I know some people who will want to read this one.

  3. There is quite alot of confusion about this 'new' legislation. The weekly rest requirement for LGV drivers has been in force for as long as I can remember. Current requirement is for a rest periood of 45hrs at the end of the week. This can be reduced to 36 hours if at home or 24 hours if away from base. Any reduction has to be made up by ythe end of the third week en bloc.

    The legislation that comes into effect on 11th April 2007 sets out to simplify this and other regulations to assist compliance/enforcement. Under the new rules, you can reduce the weekly rest period to 24 hours irrespective of being at home or not but still have to make up the reduction.

    Anybody who drives an LGV all week and then reports for duty at the weekend is potentially breaking the regulations, whether you drive a military vehicle or not. Having said that, after 22 years in the road haulage industry I have never heard of it being an issue until the Royal Mail picked up on it.

    Feel free to PM me if you require further info and I will see what I can do.


  4. You are right, this is not new legislation; it is mainly the enforcement of the legislation that has been reviewed and there is now a more explicit requirement for compliance placed upon employers. As a result of the new Regulation, there is increased potential for liability should a vocational driver be involved in an accident.

    Both the employer and the employee will now be responsible for ensuring that appropriate rest periods are taken, to the letter, and that a record is kept of breaks, various periods of driving, other work and availability.

    Rest periods are defined as periods of time where an individual can freely dispose of their time, regardless of where an individual chooses to spend this time. This means that TA duty does not count as rest; rest only starts from the point you have fallen out at the end of training.

    The weekly rest periods are the potential issue here, and vocational drivers are encouraged to work with their employer and their unit to ensure that their schedule is compliant.

    We appreciate that this is adding a layer of complication, and work. But all parties agree that an individual's safety is paramount, and this is at the heart of the legislation.
  5. What are you suggesting?
  6. Have you read the first post?
  7. It's a fair cop, guv.

    [Dilfor wanders off sheepishly, hoping no-one else has noticed his appalling faux pas]
  8. I work in the civil service, in job which requires out of hours and unsociable hours working on occasion.
    Because of the European Working Time directive I am being told that I have to have a rest period of 24 hours in every 7 days (or 48 hours in every 14).
    Unless my TA weekends fall every other weekend (which they don't) it would mean that I would either have to forgo a training weekend or have annual leave from work during the week.
    This also means that if my job required me to work during the weekends when I wasn't at TA then I wouldn't be able to do so.

    Not very well explained I know but your comments would be appreciated. BTW - I'm not a vocational driver
  9. You can sign an 'opt-out' clause if your a civil service type. You can work as many hours as you like, but in return won't be able to claim being overtired or stressed and the like.

    Speak to your HR bod (if you still have one) or PPPA.
  10. if me freely disposing of my time involves me going to TA thats my choice no one holds a gun to your head and says you will turn up friday night it is no different apart from the fact you get paid than going climbing all weekend is it just if you get paid for your time its bad if you do it for free its good if so civi firms are going to have to start paying vocational drivers a hell of a lot more money