Research by ROADPOL shows that 6% of truck drivers in the Netherlands do not have their driving and rest time in order or they manipulate their tachograph. This can have nasty consequences, such as: fines and higher penalties in accidents. But what are the rules around rest times and what if your employer does not give you the correct rest times? In this blog article, we’ll tell you more about rest time and what you can do if you can’t use your rest time.
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What are the rules around rest periods?
According to the central government, the following rules apply to maximum rest time. As a driver, you must follow these rules:
- Daily rest must be at least 11 consecutive hours
- In between 2 sufficient weekly rests, you may shorten 3 times the daily rest to 9 hours. This is called the reduced daily rest period. You do not have to make up this reduction at another time.
- You may also take the daily rest in 2 parts. The 1st part must then be at least 3 hours. The 2nd part must be at least 9 hours. The other way around (first 9 hours and then 3 hours) is not allowed. Daily rest in 2 parts counts as a normal daily rest time.
- Within 24 hours of the end of the previous rest period (daily rest or weekly rest), the new daily rest period must have ended. A 30-hour period applies to 2 drivers.
- Additional rules apply to international transportation. A driver may take 2 weeks of reduced weekly rest outside the Netherlands. An abbreviated weekly rest lasts a minimum of 24 and a maximum of 45 hours. This reduced rest must be compensated by an extended regular weekly rest. By the number of hours by which the reduced weekly rest differs from the normal 45-hour rest period. In addition, the driver must take at least 2 regular weekly rests in a 4-week period.
If these rules are not followed, you face the possibility of a fine that could reach €1,980. The legal cap on exceeding biweekly driving hours is €110 per hour. The shortfall on weekly rest costs €110 per hour. If you find yourself in the occasion where the driving time is in danger of being exceeded, you should make sure that this excess is as short as possible. Therefore, stop at an appropriate stopping place and make a note of your exceeding on a record sheet, a printout of the tachograph or in your duty roster. Also explain the reason for this violation.
What should I do if my employer doesn’t let me get enough rest?”
Even if your employer says you don’t have to pay the fine, you are still at risk. And not just in the form of a fine. For example, you face much higher penalties if you are involved in an accident AND you violated your rest period. Your employer may say you won’t have to pay the fine, but he can never take an endorsement on your judicial record or driver’s license from you. Especially if these promises were made verbally, chances are you will be the one who ends up paying.
One easy solution is to look at new job openings for truck drivers. So you can find an employer who does take your working conditions seriously. Check out IQ Select, for example, they offer the largest selection of permanent jobs in the transportation industry, so there’s always a transportation job that better suits you.
If you cannot resolve the situation with your employer first, you can do the following:
First, you can present the problem to the works council, if there is one in your company. This council has to check whether working hours are respected. In addition, the Environmental and Transport Inspectorate (ILenT) is responsible for enforcing driving and rest periods. You can file a report with them and you can contact them for questions regarding rest times.
We hope that as a truck driver you can take advantage of your well-deserved rest time, but in case your employer is holding you back, you know what to do.