31 May 2017 is an important date for the transport industry in Europe – the European Commission presented 8 main lines of legislative action with particular emphasis on road transport. The most important of these are:
- Organizing the issue of minimum wage for drivers
- Simplifying the driving time and rest time regulations
- Changing the cabotage rules
- Combating so-called “mailbox companies”
- Professionalization of the transport market below 3.5 tons
Minimum wage for transport drivers
There are significant changes ahead of companies dealing with international transport. The issues of applying the minimum wage for drivers in individual countries will be arranged at the level of European regulations. Activities to ensure the “equal pay for equal work” are continued.
Particular attention was paid to the fact that only some of the Member States have now applied the rules on posting in road transport. The new rules, on the other hand, will apply to all EU countries.
The first question: When should the minimum wage be paid?
The driver will be treated as a posted worker, that is, they should be provided with a minimum wage in accordance with the regulations of the country in which they are performing work at the moment, if:
- they perform cabotage (from the first day)
- they stay in the country for at least 3 days in a month
This means that even if a driver travels through a country in transit (without loading and unloading), then the employer will pay the minimum wage applicable to that country anyway – if the driver stays the country for at least 3 days in a month.
The second question: What about administrative duties?
In this case, the European Commission wants to make it easier for companies to meet the administrative requirements related to payment and control of minimum wages mainly through:
- cancelling the obligation to appoint a representative on the territory of a country
- storing the necessary documentation in electronic form
On the other hand, in order to make controls more effective, the drivers will mark in the tachograph crossing the borders – first it is to be done manually during rest, and later it is to be taken care of by the GPS mounted in the tachograph.
Simplifying the driving time and rest time regulations
Under the mobility package, rules concerning taking the weekly rest periods will also change. It has been emphasized, however, that the current driving and rest time standards are correct and necessary to ensure road safety. This means that neither the driving time will be increased nor rest time reduced.
The changes will include the application of weekly rest rules in such a way as to make it easier for drivers to spend more time at home and not on the road. This is also to benefit transport companies by increasing the flexibility of working time – drivers will be able to take more shortened weekly rest periods on the road.
It should be noted, however, that the driver during the regular weekly rest will have to be provided with accommodation outside the vehicle cab. The rules are to be more specific in this regard. Currently the regulations include such a ban, but it is not enforced by all countries.
Changing the cabotage rules
Current regulations allow for cabotage within 7 days, but the number of operations is limited to three. New regulations will allow cabotage operations within 5 days with unlimited number of deliveries. This will be easier to enforce and will reduce the number of empty runs, thereby saving fuel.
Combating the so-called “mailbox companies”
“Mailbox companies” are created to circumvent legal obligations, usually in areas such as taxes, social security or wages. Such activity is illegal, but is still often unnoticed by the enforcement authorities. The new rules are intended to set clearer criteria for dealing with such companies, in particular by strengthening cooperation between enforcement authorities in individual Member States.
Are the planned changes also affecting the transport with vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes?
The issue of installing tachographs in vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes has also been clarified – the obligation will not apply to such vehicles. It is planned, however, to apply to some EU transport regulations to transport up to 3.5 tonnes, e.g. regulations on the establishment of transport companies.
Expected expansion of the transport market.
The Commission estimates that by 2050 the road transport market will increase by as much as 60% as compared to 2010. At the same time, the passenger transport market is expected to grow by as much as 42%. This confirms the need for changes in this sector.
Today we know the direction in which the European Commission is going in setting up and modifying the transport market regulations. Detailed proposals for changes in the regulations will be published within the next 12 months.