What are ‘breaks’ and ‘rest periods’?

What are ‘breaks’ and ‘rest periods’?


‘Breaks’ are short intervals of at least 15 minutes’ duration when the worker stops their work activity completely. The worker or self-employed driver may use them only for recuperation – that is, they must actually rest and not use the time to do other work.

A ‘rest period’ is an unbroken period of time when the self-employed driver or worker is free to use their time as they wish.

All mobile workers and self-employed drivers are subject to the break and rest provisions of EU Rules on Drivers Hours when travelling;

  • 11 continuous hours of rest in every 24-hour period. This may be reduced to 9 hours but no more than three times between two weekly rest periods
  • 45 minutes’ break after 4.5 hours of driving. This 45 minutes may be split into 15 minutes followed by 30 minutes during the 4.5 hours driving
  • 30 minutes’ break after six hours of working (but not driving or combined if driving time is less than 4.5 hours). This 30 minute-break may be split into two shorter breaks of 15 minutes each
  • 45 minutes’ break after nine hours of working (but not driving or combined if driving time is less than 4.5 hours). This 45-minute break may be split into three shorter breaks of 15 minutes each
  • Daily and weekly rest times for this Directive are the same as those in the EU Rules on Drivers Hours




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