I have received the following question: Is the 24-hour rest period set in stone irrespective, or does it only count when the next day is a working day that that driver is working?

Before answering this question it is useful to look at some of the terms used in the legislation as it helps understand the context:

Under Article 4 of Regulation 561/2006

(d) ‘break’ means any period during which a driver may not carry out any driving or any other work and which is used exclusively for recuperation;

(e) ‘other work’ means all activities which are defined as working time in Article 3(a) of Directive 2002/15/EC except ‘driving’, including any work for the same or another employer, within or outside of the transport sector;

(f) ‘rest’ means any uninterrupted period during which a driver may freely dispose of their time;

(g) ‘daily rest period’ means the daily period during which a driver may freely dispose of their time and covers a ‘regular daily rest period’ and a ‘reduced daily rest period’:

– ‘regular daily rest period’ means any period of rest of at least 11 hours.

Alternatively, this regular daily rest period may be taken in two periods, the first of which must be an uninterrupted period of at least three hours and the second an uninterrupted period of at least nine hours,

– ‘reduced daily rest period’ means any period of rest of at least nine hours but less than 11 hours;

(h) ‘weekly rest period’ means the weekly period during which a driver may freely dispose of their time and covers a ‘regular weekly rest period’ and a ‘reduced weekly rest period’:

– ‘regular weekly rest period’ means any period of rest of at least 45 hours,

– ‘reduced weekly rest period’ means any period of rest of less than 45 hours, which may, subject to the conditions laid down in Article 8(6), be shortened to a minimum of 24 consecutive hours.

So to begin with, the 24 hours rest period which is referred to in the question, is the minimum amount required to qualify for a reduced weekly rest period.

Article 8 goes on to deal with the requirements of weekly rest:

  1. A driver shall take daily and weekly rest periods.
  2. Within each period of 24 hours after the end of the previous daily rest period or weekly rest period a driver shall have taken a new daily rest period.

If the portion of the daily rest period which falls within that 24 hour period is at least nine hours but less than 11 hours, then the daily rest period in question shall be regarded as a reduced daily rest period.

  1. A daily rest period may be extended to make a regular weekly rest period or a reduced weekly rest period.
  2. A driver may have at most three reduced daily rest periods between any two weekly rest periods.
  3. By way of derogation from paragraph 2, within 30 hours of the end of a daily or weekly rest period, a driver engaged in multi-manning must have taken a new daily rest period of at least nine hours.
  4. In any two consecutive weeks a driver shall take at least:

– two regular weekly rest periods, or

– one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours. However, the reduction shall be compensated by an equivalent period of rest taken en bloc before the end of the third week following the week in question.

A weekly rest period shall start no later than at the end of six 24-hour periods from the end of the previous weekly rest period.

  1. Any rest taken as compensation for a reduced weekly rest period shall be attached to another rest period of at least nine hours.
  2. Where a driver chooses to do this, daily rest periods and reduced weekly rest periods away from base may be taken in a vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities for each driver and the vehicle is stationary.
  3. A weekly rest period that falls in two weeks may be counted in either week, but not in both.

Hopefully this clearly explains the requirements for weekly rest. If you drive an in-scope vehicle in any week then you must comply with the EU tachograph laws. That includes taking the required weekly rest period. Regardless of what you may be doing the following week.