This GMS Flash Alert covers new rules currently moving through the European Union’s legislative process that concern drivers in international road transport and the haulage/freight transport sector. Amongst other things the proposals include maximum work and minimum rest times for drivers, when and how often trucks must return to the company’s operational centre, and standards and a certification procedure for safe and secure parking areas. They also set out how and under what circumstances drivers in goods and passenger transport can be posted to another EU country and plans for the second version of the “smart tachograph.”
On 7 April 2020, the European Council adopted:
The new rules, which are aimed exclusively at drivers in international road transport, seek to create more harmonised and stable business conditions for transport companies, many of which are small- and medium-sized companies.
Although not yet promulgated, road transport companies should be paying attention to the new regulations and consider what changes they may have to make in order to be in compliance, which may help them avoid sanctions for violations.
The new rules should be welcome news for those employed in the haulage/freight transport sector and their employers, as they stipulate a set of standards that will apply to the sector and establish harmonised rules on travel and driving time, work schedules, and the posting of workers to other EU countries, amongst other things.
Affecting working conditions and operations:
1. The rules for maximum work and minimum rest times for drivers remain unchanged, but the organisation of work schedules will contain a certain degree of flexibility. Drivers in international freight transport will have the right to return home every three or four weeks, depending on their work schedule.
Regular weekly rest period of at least 45 hours must be spent outside the vehicle. The employer must pay for the accommodation if the rest period is taken away from home.
2. Trucks in international transport must return to the company’s operational centre at least once every eight weeks. This will allow the drivers to return home with the vehicle and it will tighten the link between the transport operator’s place of establishment and its activities.
3. The EU Commission will develop standards and a certification procedure for safe and secure parking areas through secondary legislation. A website will be launched with information about these specific parking areas.
4. The current “cabotage” system allowing a maximum of three operations in seven days carried out within a national market outside a transport operator´s own country will continue. However, a “cooling off period” of four days will be introduced before further “cabotage” operations can be carried out in the same country using the same vehicle. A member state may apply these same rules to road “legs” of combined transport in its territory.
Affecting drivers as posted workers:
5. Professional drivers in goods and passenger transport can be posted to another EU country and benefit from the principle of the “same pay for the same work at the same place.”
6. If an operation is organised in such a way that the link between the driver’s work and the country of establishment remains intact, the driver will be excluded from the posting rules. This means that bilateral transport operations are explicitly excluded.
7. On the way to a destination country and on the way back, one additional activity of loading and/or unloading of goods is permitted in both directions without falling under the posting rules.
8. Transit is excluded from the posting rules.
9. For all other operations, including the “cabotage,” the posting rules apply from the first day of operations.
10. The posting rules will create a unified control standard based on a communication tool developed by the European Commission, to which the transport operator can send its posting declarations directly.
Regarding enforcement of the rules:
11. In order to enforce the rules in international road transport, it is crucial to have reliable systems that register when and where a vehicle crosses a border, and to track on-/offloading activities. The second version of the smart tachograph will do this automatically. It will be introduced in three different stages for vehicles carrying out international transport. New trucks will have to be fitted with this device in 2023; those vehicles that have an analogue or digital tachograph will have to be retrofitted by the end of 2024; and those equipped with a version 1 smart tachograph, in 2025.
Certain modernised measures for information sharing and administrative cooperation between the member states will be introduced.
The next step is for the European Parliament to adopt the changes at the so-called second reading and for the final versions to be published in the EU Official Journal. The rules on posting of drivers/employees and market access will become applicable 18 months after the entry into force of the legal acts. The rules on the driving times proposal, including the return of drivers, will apply 20 days after publication, with the exception of the special deadlines for new tachographs.
Companies in international transport should begin a review of their operations, assess where any gaps may exist between current processes and systems and what is required under the new rules. Their compliance with the new working conditions for drivers will be essential.
Companies should also revise their working schedules and organisational diagrams as well as plan for installing the new tachographs on their vehicles.
1 See the full text: Draft regulation for driving time and rest periods (Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 and Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 with a view to adapting them to developments in the sector – Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement).
For related information, see the announcement on the website of the European Parliament Think Tank “Road transport: Enforcement and special provisions for posted workers” (20 April 2020) at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI%282017%29614596 .
Also, see the Council of the EU 20 December 2019 press release “Truck drivers reform: Coreper confirms provisional agreement on mobility package“ at: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/12/20/truck-drivers-reform-coreper-confirms-provisional-agreement-on-mobility-package/ .
2 Full text: Draft regulation for access to the profession and to the market (Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 and Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 with a view to adapting them to developments in the sector -- Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement).
3 Full text: Draft directive for posting of drivers in the road transport sector (Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2006/22/EC as regards enforcement requirements and laying down specific rules with respect to Directive 96/71/EC and Directive 2014/67/EU for posting drivers in the road transport sector – Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement).
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The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in The Netherlands.
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