Mobility Package – what is this?
The Mobility Package introduces changes in the regulations on drivers’ drive time and rest periods, on how to delegate drivers, on fair competition (that is fair access to the European Union market) and on tachographs.
The idea of the Mobility Package is to improve drivers’ working conditions, especially in the member states where the minimum wage is not too high. In July 2020, the Mobility Package was announced by the European Parliament. The regulations were put into force 20 days after their announcement, that is on August 20, 2020.
The Mobility Package brings changes referring to the transport industry in the currently binding regulations, that is Regulation no. 561/2006 and 165/2014.
The Mobility Package
In August 2020 there were first changes introduced into the regulations on the Mobility Package. The driver shall return to the place of residence or to the employer’s operational centre, at least every 4 consecutive weeks. The driver must not take regular 45-hour weekly rests in the vehicle cabin. The driver should take this rest in a hotel or in another appropriate place.
It is possible to take reduced weekly rests, two in a row, in the international transport, if you fulfill the following conditions:
- both reduced weekly rests are taken outside the country where the employer’s operational centre or the driver’s residence are placed;
- in four consecutive calendar weeks at least two regular weekly rests and two reduced weekly rests should be taken;
- if the driver takes two reduced weekly rests, the weekly rest which follows should be a regular weekly rest. However the driver is obliged to compensate the reduced weekly rests and to precede them by a daily rest. The rest should be taken in the place of residence or in the company’s operational centre.
Mobility Package – extended drive time
The drive time can be extended by the driver to a maximum of 1 or 2 hours if the driver returns to the base. In this situation the driver is obliged to state the reason for the extension of his drive time on the tachograph printout or on the chart.
It is possible to extend the daily drive time provided the driver returns to the employer’s operational centre or to the place of residence. If the driver wants to extend the daily drive time by 1 or 2 hours, the driver is forced to take an additional 30-minute break. If the driver did not take this break, the drive time extension would generate an infringement in accordance with the applicable regulations of the Mobility Package.
It is necessary to compensate the extended drive time with at least 9 hours of daily rest in a maximum of three consecutive weeks.
The changes in EU Driver Hours in 2020 have been a hot issue for Polish entrepreneurs for some time. These days the road transport generates worries for transport carriers due to the tightening of the rules within the Mobility Package.
Limited working time at night
The transport industry will undergo a lot of changes and modifications. Some of them refer to the driver hours. One of these changes is the night drive time shortened to 10 hours. This will not apply, as before, to the consecutive 24 hours, it is about to finish the daily regular rest or the daily reduced rest. This is a convenient change especially for some road carriers.
Road transport operational centre
The transport undertaker should possess a suitable area for the operational centre. Initially the size of the centre was to be adjusted to the number of the company’s all vehicles. However there were comments reported at the stage of public consultation referring to the draft law. One of the proposals is the size of the operational centre which space amounts to at least half of the vehicles possessed by the company.
Penalties in the transport industry
Changes in the regulations on the road transport will also cover new penalties for taking regular weekly rests or other weekly rests of over 45 hours (as compensation for reduced weekly rests) in the vehicle cabin or in another inadequate place.
Changes in the Mobility Package
In February 2022 new changes will come into force. The driver, after crossing a border of a Member State, shall enter the symbol of the country in which he arrives, at the nearest possible stopping place. Due to the changes proposed by the European Commission, both the missing symbol of the country after crossing the border and the missing symbol of the country where the driver starts and finishes work, may result in initiating the procedure of evaluating the reputation of the company.
Mobility Package: travel expenses and allowances
The driver will receive the minimum remuneration which is binding for business trips in a given country. The compensation will not be paid in case of transit and bilateral transport (there and back – for load and unload).
The employer will not be able to include travel expenses and allowances for accommodation to the minimum remuneration. Lack of travel expenses and allowances in business trip calculation with regard to foreign remuneration is advantageous for drivers. When the whole sector of Polish carriers complies with the regulations of the Mobility Package, they will bear the greater costs while delegating drivers. The scope of the carriers’ duties will increase with the necessity to control the correctness of records while crossing the borders as well as driver hours in order to correctly calculate the driver’s remuneration.
Mobility Package: transit
The minimum wage will not apply in case of the combined transit carried out as bilateral transport. For example if the driver from Poland goes to Belgium via Germany, Germany is the transit country and the employer does not have to pay the remuneration for the driver’s stay in Germany since that is the part of his work on a transit basis. In case of the bilateral transport the employer is also not obliged to pay the foreign remuneration which applies to the country being the driver’s destination.
The calculation of foreign remuneration will apply to the cabotage transport. The employer will have to pay the driver the difference between the minimum wage of our country and the minimum wage of the country where the cabotage is undertaken.
Mobility Package: cabotage
More changes will appear at the end of February 2022. The vehicle will have to go to the country of registration every 8 weeks. If the driver performs three cabotage operations on the territory of a given country, subsequent operations will be suspended for the next four days. The recommended changes referring to the driver’s return to his country of registration will generate even more carbon emission. This contradicts the assumptions of the European Green Deal, which requires climate neutrality. Now the road transport is responsible for 24% of the EU carbon emission. The Green Deal intends to diminish the carbon emission by 90% before 2050. To sum it up, drivers’ returns, often with no load, as well as stops after cabotage operations do not seem to help. On the contrary, they will generate even more carbon emission. Therefore some regulations of the changes in the Mobility Package have nothing to do with the plans assumed in the Green Deal.
The combined transport can be carried out on a cabotage basis (provided the transit takes place in one member state of the European Union).
Mobility Package: road transport operator licence for a group of entrepreneurs
The biggest change will apply to transport vehicles with the gross vehicle weight (GVW) exceeding 2.5 tonnes. There will be quite spectacular changes for the companies which will soon have to fulfill the requirement of obtaining the road operator transport licence as well as obtaining the authorisation to pursue the profession of a carrier. The carrier also pays the financial insurance for the first vehicle amounting to 1800 euros and 900 euros for each subsequent one. The transport carrier will have to possess its operational centre where all the files and accounting books are kept. This will of course generate greater costs for the companies, especially for small enterprises and for self-employed van drivers. One-person businesses and micro companies will bear greater costs. Transport undertakers, also from 2.5 tonnes of gross vehicle weight (GVW), will have to comply with the common regulations (referring both to licence and cabotage).
Mobility Package: good repute
For not delegating drivers not only financial penalties will be imposed but also the carrier may lose his good repute and even lose the licence. The consequences of the changes, which will be put into force next year, will be without any doubt the increase in costs for transport companies. The carrier will be able to regain his lost licence, however he will have to undergo an adequate training lasting at least three months or to pass the exam before the relevant committee.
Another change to be put into force will be to equip the newly-registered vehicles with smart tachographs of the second generation. These tachographs will automatically monitor the moment of crossing the state border via the satellite system.
It’s been over a year since the previous changes and now new regulations on smart tachographs will appear. So far smart tachographs of the second generation have been binding only in newly-registered vehicles. However from December 2024 tachographs of the fifth generation should be also fitted in older vehicles undertaking the international transport. The replacement of tachographs will not apply to the vehicles carrying out exclusively the domestic transport. The scope of control comprising 28 days will increase up to 56 days.
Next, smart tachographs of the second generation will replace smart tachographs of the first generation. Afterwards this tachograph will also have to be replaced by the smart tachograph of the fifth generation.
Mobility Package: tachographs also in vans
The biggest change to come has been considered for a few years. It concerns the vehicles of the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 2.5 tonnes in the international transport. The vehicles will have to be fitted with smart tachographs of the second generation. Therefore their drivers will have to comply with the regulations on drive time and rest periods.
If the driver from Poland drives within the EU or cross trade, the regulations on the driver’s minimum remuneration of a given country will apply.
The announced changes will be most noticeable for countries such as Poland where the minimum wage is not too high in comparison to some member countries of the European Union. The Polish employers will have to pay out the compensation for the foreign remuneration of a given country. The compliance with the new regulations will cause a rise in costs which have to be covered by transport undertakers. In order to avoid the losses, the transport carriers will certainly raise the prices. We, the final consumers, will cover this difference.
As a summary, we present below the most vital changes in the Mobility Package:
- The announcement of the Mobility Package
- Obligatory driver’s return to his place of residence or to the company’s operational centre not less often than every 4 weeks.
- The ban to take 45-hour weekly rests in the vehicle cabin.
- The possibility to take two reduced weekly rests in two consecutive weeks (international transport) under the following conditions:
- Both reduced weekly rests will be taken outside Poland. This regulation does not apply to the domestic transport undertaken exclusively on the territory of Poland and in AETR countries.
- In the period of four consecutive weeks at least two regular weekly rests and two reduced weekly rests should be taken.
- After two reduced weekly rests the following rest period should be regular. However the weekly rest should be preceded by the compensation for the previous reductions and preceded by the daily rest. This rest period should be taken either in the place of residence or in the company’s operational centre.
- Drive time can be extended by 1 or 2 hours at most provided the driver returns to the operational centre or to the place of residence. However it is necessary to record the extended drive time on the tachograph printout or on the chart. It’s necessary to compensate the extended drive time together with at least 9-hour rest in the period of a maximum of three consecutive weeks. The drive time extended by two hours must be preceded by a 30-minute break taken directly before the start of drive time.
- New exemptions for the vehicles according to Article 3 and 13 of the Regulation no. 561/2006.
- The change of the principles for breaks in crew driving (the driver remains available on the passenger seat, this time can be taken as a break provided he does not help the driver who drives the vehicle).
- There appears an obligation to record the symbols of countries on the charts. It is also mandatory to monitor the drivers’ returns. The regular or reduced weekly rest can be interrupted on a ferry or on a train. However in terms of regular 45-hour weekly rest two conditions have to be fulfilled:
- driver’s stay on the ferry should last at least 8 hours;
- the driver should have an access to a sleeper berth.
- At the beginning of the first stop after crossing the border of a member state the driver enters the symbol of the country which he arrives in. This stop takes place at the nearest possible place at the border or after crossing the border;
- The compensation for the minimum wage will not be obligatory in case of transit and bilateral transport (two additional operations, load and unload);
- Transfers between two countries undertaken by the carrier who does not have its operational centre in either of them.
- Every eight weeks the driver is obliged to return the vehicle to the place of its registration
- After three cabotage operations undertaken on the territory of a given country, next cabotage operations will be stopped for four days
- The combined transport can be undertaken on a cabotage basis (provided the drive takes place in one EU country).
- The road transport operator licence will be required for the vehicles above 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW)
- The requirement for financial liability of 1800 euros for the first vehicle and 900 euros for each subsequent vehicle
- Transport undertakers who use vehicles above 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) will be obliged to register their operational centre
- Transport undertakers who use vehicles above 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) shall comply with the common rules (for the licence and cabotage).
- All newly-registered vehicles will have to be fitted with smart tachographs of the fifth generation. New tachographs will automatically monitor the moment of border crossing via the satellite system.
- The scope of road inspection will increase up to 56 days
- Smart tachographs of the second generation shall also be fitted in older vehicles which participate in the international transport and they do not possess tachographs of the fourth generation so far.
- Smart tachographs of the second generation shall also be fitted in older vehicles which are fitted with a smart tachograph of the first generation.
- Smart tachographs of the second generation will be mandatory for the vehicles above 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) which operate in the international transport.
Cabotage – transport services within one EU country undertaken by a foreign carrier (which comes from another country)
Cross trade – carriage of goods undertaken between two countries by a carrier who does not have its operational centre in either of them
Bilateral transport – transport undertaken on the basis of bilateral agreement concluded between two countries, these agreements are also binding with countries outside EU
Combined transport – transport which consists of different forms of carriage