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Working time

Directive 2002/15/EC lays down minimum requirements with regard to the organization of the working time for all persons performing mobile road transport activities, including self-employed drivers, in order to improve road safety, health and safety of drivers, and prevent distortion of competition. It also supplements the provisions of Regulation (EC) 561/2006 which lays down common rules on drivers' driving time and rest periods.

More particularly, it contains the following general provisions:

  • Definitions of working time, periods of availability, place of work, mobile worker, self-employed driver, week, night time and night work;
  • Maximum working week: 48 hours (this can be extended to 60 hours provided an average of 48 hours per week is not exceeded in any 4 month period);
  • Breaks: not more than 6 hours should be worked consecutively without a break (at least 30 min when 6 to 9 hours are worked per day);
  • Rest time: the provisions of Regulation (EC) 561/2006 are maintained;
  • Night work: not more than 10 hours worked in any 24-hour period when a night shift is performed.

The rules are applicable to all mobile workers from 23 March 2005, while self-employed drivers were temporary excluded until 23 March 2009. A proposal for a Directive by the Commission to make this exclusion permanent while tackling the problem of false self-employed drivers was rejected by the European Parliament. Working time rules are thus applicable to all drivers, including self-employed ones, as of 23 March 2009.