THE Government has confirmed that new legislation as part of the Working Time Directive will force fleets to monitor the number of hours their drivers spend behind the wheel.
An amendment to the controversial directive for the road transport sector will introduce tough new standards on the fleet industry when it comes into force on August 1.
The Horizontal Amending Directive (HAD) contains four key provisions affecting all vehicle operators which until this year have fallen outside the original directive or were exempt from European Union drivers' hours rules.
Provisions are for a 48-hour average working week, which drivers can opt out of; the requirement for four weeks' paid annual leave; regular health checks for night workers and the need for rest breaks.
Employment Relations Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: 'These minimum standards will protect workers from excessive hours and unreasonable working patterns. They will be good for productivity and encourage better work-life balance.'
The move follows a major consultation at the end of last year and meetings with industry leaders on the proposals.
Although the Working Time Directive has been law in Britain since 1998, until this new amendment it had excluded key sectors including air, rail and road workers.