Hiring drivers - what are the employer's obligations?

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The employment of drivers has been regulated, in particular, in the Labor Code, in the Act of 6 September 2001 on road transport (Journal of Laws 2017, item 2200) and the Act of 6 April 2004 on working time of drivers (Journal of Laws of 2004, No. 2012 item 1155). Employing drivers involves an occupational risk - in today's article we will introduce you to this topic.

Employing drivers - the basic obligations of the employer

Pursuant to the Labor Code, an employer who plans to hire drivers should refer them to medical examinations, prepare and sign an employment contract with them, set up and keep an employee's personal file related to the employment relationship. In addition, the driver should read the applicable work regulations for a given entrepreneur (work regulations should be introduced if the company employs at least 20 people). The employer must organize initial health and safety training for the driver, even before he starts work. In addition, he acquaints him with information about the occupational risk related to the work performed and presents him with an occupational risk assessment sheet appropriate for the position held. It is worth remembering that the employee should submit an appropriate statement on getting acquainted with the information on occupational risk before being allowed to work.

Employing drivers, as a rule, does not change the conclusion of an employment contract concluded with another employee. However, it should be remembered that in the driver's employment contract the workplace is indicated differently, because it will often be a specific territory, a geographic area referring to, for example, a given country.

Example 1.

An employer who runs a road transport company in Poland and abroad should define the workplace in the employment contract of his drivers, for example, as the area of ​​the European Union or the area of ​​the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. At the same time, the area of ​​the European Union will apply to drivers who provide road transport outside Poland. On the other hand, the place indicated as the area of ​​a given voivodeship will apply to drivers who carry out road transport in this indicated territory of Poland.

When it comes to the conditions of remuneration of drivers, employers may not take into account remuneration components, the amount of which depends on the number of kilometers traveled or the amount of cargo transported, if their use could endanger road safety or encourage infringement of the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 (Art. 26 of the Act on Drivers' Working Hours).

The employer prepares information about the conditions for employing drivers on the first day of his work. It is worth adding that employees should receive two pieces of information regarding working time:

1) in terms of driving time, anticipated breaks and rests for the driver and

2) the applicable basic employment conditions.

Drivers' working time

Pursuant to Art. 24 of the Act of April 16, 2004 on drivers' working time (Journal of Laws of 2012, item 1155), the employer is obliged to:

  • inform drivers about their working time regulations, in the manner adopted for a given employer, and obtain a written statement from the driver: about the employment of drivers or not remaining in employment with another employer, about the average weekly number of hours of road transport or other activities, on a basis other than the employment relationship, or on non-performance.

Pursuant to Art. 25 of the Act on drivers 'working time, the employer keeps records of drivers' working time in the form of:

  • records on record sheets;

  • driver card and digital tachograph data printouts;

  • files downloaded from the driver card and digital tachograph;

  • other documents confirming the working time and type of activity performed, or registers prepared on the basis of the documents referred to above.

In relation to employees covered by task working hours and employees receiving a lump sum for overtime or a lump sum for night time, working hours are not recorded. Employers who keep records in the form indicated above, are required to keep individual records of employee absences from work, broken down by type and size. The employer makes working time records available to the driver at his request and should keep it for a period of 3 years after the end of the period covered by it (cf. Article 25 of the Act on drivers' working time).

The employer should inform the driver about the working time, on-call duty, daily and weekly standards, breaks specified in art. 13 of the Act on drivers' working time, the settlement period (not exceeding 4 months), daily and weekly rest, the possibility of overtime work.

The employer should inform the driver he employs that pursuant to Art. 6 of the Act on drivers' working time, working time includes in particular:

  • driving a vehicle;

  • loading and unloading and supervision of loading and unloading;

  • supervision and assistance to persons getting on and off;

  • forwarding activities;

  • daily service of vehicles and trailers;

  • other work undertaken in order to perform a business task or to ensure the safety of people, vehicles and things;

  • necessary administrative formalities;

  • keeping the vehicle clean;

  • 15-minute break, if the daily working time of the driver is at least 6 hours.

The driver's working time is also the time outside the adopted working time schedule, during which he remains at the workplace ready to perform it, in particular while waiting for loading or unloading, the expected duration of which is not known to the driver before departure or before the beginning of a given period.

However, according to Art. 7 of the Act on driver's working time, the following are not included in the driver's working time:

  • on-call time, if the driver did not work during his time;

  • unjustified stops while driving;

  • daily uninterrupted rest.

Special obligations of the employer towards employed drivers

In art. 39a of the Transport Act provides information on the conditions that must be met by drivers employed by entrepreneurs or other entities involved in the transport of passengers. The employment of drivers is related to the criteria taken into account, one of which is their age at which they can be qualified to drive the relevant vehicle and the type of pre-qualification a driver should complete. Thus, a person who graduated from:

  • 18 years of age - in the case of a driver driving a motor vehicle, a driving license of the following category is required: C or C + E, provided that he has obtained the appropriate initial qualification, or C1 + E, provided that he has obtained the appropriate accelerated initial qualification;

  • 21 years - in the case of a driver driving a motor vehicle for which it is required to have a driving license of the following categories: C or C + E, provided that he has obtained the appropriate initial qualification, accelerated, D or D + E, provided that he has obtained the appropriate initial qualification, D1 or D1 + E, provided the transport is performed on regular lines, the route of which does not exceed 50 km, and provided that the driver has obtained the appropriate initial accelerated qualification;

  • 23 years - in the case of a driver driving a motor vehicle for which a driving license of category D or D + E is required, provided that he has obtained the appropriate accelerated initial qualification. It is worth adding that in this case, the driver can only be employed to conduct regular transport of people on communication lines on the route up to 50 km.

It should be noted that the age limits of drivers involved in road transport were imposed by Directive 2003/59 / EC, Directive 2006/126 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on driving licenses (Journal of Laws UE L 403 of 30.12.2006, p. 18, as amended).

It is worth recalling that the driver must have the appropriate authorization to drive a motor vehicle, as indicated in the Act of January 5, 2011 on vehicle drivers. In addition, it should stand out:

  • very good health, suitable for working as a driver;

  • very good psychological condition necessary to work as a driver;

  • having a pre-qualification or accelerated pre-qualification (called qualification);

  • completed periodic training.

A driver should be licensed to drive vehicles of the given category and hold the appropriate driving license. In addition, if he has a driving license of category C or D, he should submit to the employer an initial qualification and a certificate of periodic training, a certificate of professional qualification. Every 5 years, drivers also submit to the employer a certificate of completion of periodic trainings on the transport of goods and passengers.

As far as medical examinations are concerned, if the driver holds the A1, A2, AM, B1, B, B + E qualifications, the driver only performs preventive examinations confirming the ability to work as a driver. However, according to Art. 39j of the Road Transport Act, a driver authorized to drive category C or D vehicles undergoes medical and psychological examinations every 5 years (cf. Art. 39k of the above Act).

Pre-qualification of drivers

One of the basic conditions entitling employees to practice as a driver is having an appropriate initial qualification, which constitutes professional preparation for the profession. In addition, the above Act indicates the initial supplementary qualification. Both qualifications are divided into two types due to the time needed to complete them, ie regular pre-qualification and supplementary pre-qualification, and accelerated pre-qualification and accelerated supplementary pre-qualification. Directive 2003/59 / EC sets out what conditions a driver should fulfill in order to obtain an accelerated initial qualification. According to it, an employee who applies for authorization to transport people or goods may undergo a simpler and faster procedure, enabling him to access the profession of driver more easily.

Employing drivers is associated with periodic training. The dates of these trainings take place in accordance with Art. 3 sec. 2 of the Act of 17 November 2006 amending the Act on road transport and amending the Act - Road Traffic Law (Journal of Laws No. 235, item 1701). Before the day of receiving the entry to the driving license, persons applying for a job as a driver for road transport must undergo appropriate medical and psychological examinations after completing the first periodic training. It is worth adding that until the moment of obtaining an entry in the driving license confirming the completion of periodic training, a driver working for a road carrier or providing transport services in person as a carrier should have with him, in the event of identification by the relevant authorities, a certificate confirming the employment of drivers and meeting the requirements set out in the above specified in the Act.

The requirement to obtain an initial qualification or complete periodic training applies to every driver engaged in road haulage or road passenger transport. It is worth pointing out that drivers engaged in transport for their own purposes must meet the requirements set out in the provisions of the Road Transport Act (Article 39a (1)), while the entity employing them is not obliged to issue and equip the driver with a certificate confirming the fulfillment of these obligations, on which referred to in Art. 5 of the Act of 17 November 2006 amending the Act on road transport and amending the Act - Road Traffic Law (commentary to the Road Transport Act, 3rd edition, Strachowska Renata).

In summary, the employer who is tasked with hiring drivers should check that the employee has certain qualifications. In particular, the driving license confirms the possibility of entrusting an employee with the performance of driver tasks in the appropriate vehicle category. In addition, you should check the catalog of other documents that the employer should require from a person employed in a given position in accordance with the Road Transport Act and the Labor Code as well as the provisions of the Act on drivers' working time.

It is worth remembering that employing drivers to transport people or goods should have undergone tests confirming that there are no health and psychological contraindications to work in a given position. Hiring drivers introduces a full range of requirements that must be met by the employer. You should know when hiring drivers is not advisable.