The Department of Transport has announced (via Twitter) a temporary relaxation of HGV driving hours rules from Monday 12 July for drivers within Great Britain, operating under the retained EU drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage of goods by road. The temporary changes would mean the replacement of either:
The alternative pattern of weekly rest periods for drivers using the relaxation related to weekly rest periods is as follows:
Consecutive weekly rest periods taken before 12 July 2021 must be taken into account for this relaxation, and up to 3 consecutive rest periods may include 1 taken before 8 July 2021.
This can’t be used in combination with existing rules for international driving, which allow for 2 consecutive reduced weekly rest breaks in certain circumstances.
The temporary relaxation will come into force from 12.01am 12 July and will last until 11:59 pm on 8 August 2021.
It is essential that businesses who intend using the relaxation notify the Department of Transport and send a follow-up notification at the end of the relaxation period. Full details can be found in the guidance on the government website, or by clicking here.
The guidance warns that it should be used only where necessary and it should not be used where drivers are engaged in partly international journeys.
You should bear this in mind that this relaxation has been brought about by the national shortage of drivers. This makes consulting with and engaging your driving workforce of paramount importance because if you lose people through introducing changes which are unpopular, this will not only be hugely disruptive for the business but the likelihood of being able to replace them quickly is rapidly diminishing.
If your business has decided that it will not avail itself of the relaxation of the rules, it is still an opportunity to increase engagement with your drivers by communicating this to them, as this demonstrates your focus on their wellbeing. However, given the ever-changing economic landscape, you may wish to make it clear that you will keep this under review in case circumstances change.
The guidance stresses that driver safety must not be compromised and drivers “should not be expected to drive while tired”. It also advises that the “practical implementation of the temporary relaxation should be through agreement between employers and employees and driver representatives”.
So, if you intend to use this relaxation, then we recommend that you:
As a final note, you should also be mindful that employees and casual workers raising health and safety issues enjoy special protection under the Employment Rights Act, and these protections apply from day one of their employment/engagement. You should also be aware that in some circumstances the duty to make reasonable adjustments for those suffering long term physical or mental health conditions may apply. If you require assistance with navigating these changes, please contact the Health & Safety and Employment Law Advice Teams at Citation.
Remember… if you have any questions or concerns about how this may affect your business, you can call our 24/7 advice line on 0345 844 4848.
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