What is a ‘period of availability’?

What is a ‘period of availability’?

Under the Road Transport Working Time Directive, a ‘period of availability’ is waiting time whose duration is known in advance by the mobile worker or self employed driver. During this waiting time, the mobile worker or self-employed driver does not have to stay at their work station, but they must be available to:

  • answer calls,
  • start work or resume driving,
  • carry out other work.

Periods of availability include, for example, time spent accompanying a vehicle being transported by train or ferry, time waiting at border crossings or delays due to traffic restrictions.

Here are some other examples.

  • When a mobile worker arrives at work, they are told they will not be required to carry out any duties for a specified period but that they must remain on site to answer calls or be ready to take up work.
  • If the mobile worker is told of a one-hour delay but is then told before the end of the first hour that a further delay of one hour is expected, then the second hour also counts as a period of availability.
  • Unless they’re doing other work, the time spent by a relief driver travelling as a passenger would count as a period of availability - this time or part of it could also be treated as a break.
  • If a driver knows that they are usually delayed at a shopping centre for an hour, this time counts as a period of availability. However, if the driver experiences a two-hour delay when they normally only expect one hour, the second hour is counted as working time.

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