How Will Brexit Affect the Working Time Directive?

With Brexit negotiations well underway, drivers may be wondering what this means for them in the long term, as much of the current road transport legislation that applies to UK operators and their drivers derives from EU law.

A classic example of this is the Working Time Directive, a piece of EU legislation which controls the number of actual hours worked, restricting drivers to a 48-hour working week. With the UK set to leave the EU, will the Working Time Directive be abandoned?

Without a crystal ball, no one can answer this for sure, but there are several arguments which say it would be highly unlikely that following Brexit, the government will have a significant overhaul of transport law. One thing that is certain is we will continue to trade with Europe and the primary focus for the UK government is the renegotiation of trade deals to ensure trading barriers are kept to a minimum.

With this in mind, drivers operating in EU countries would still be required to comply with EU laws, including working hours and regular CPC training. So, it makes no sense to remove these laws, which would ultimately hinder our trading relationship with Europe.

The second argument for keeping the Working Time Directive is that the Government will be in no hurry to remove rules that enhance road safety, and the Working Time Directive was introduced to regulate the amount of time spent at work, in order to protect the health and safety of the European workforce. As an HGV driver, long hours are inevitable, and regular breaks and rest periods are essential. The Working Time Directive enforces this, stopping employers from abusing their staff by requesting unreasonably long hours and ensuring workers are well rested for optimum performance.

Changes following Brexit are inevitable, but our view would be that the Working Time Directive is here to stay.