France - National measures prohibiting spending the regular weekly rest in the cabin of a vehicle
France - National measures prohibiting spending the regular weekly rest in the cabin of a vehicle (Art. 8, par. 8 of Regulation 561/2006)
On 11 July, the French law was published in the Official Journal of the French Republic, entering into force on 12 July.
The French measures seem to target the companies organising their operations in a way that it is unavoidable for the driver to spend the regular weekly rest elsewhere than in the cabin or en route in general. It has to be a systematic organisation of the activities by the company that forces the driver to take his or her weekly rest period in the vehicle. It should not be an individual infringement when the driver is found in the vehicle cabin. For this case, the French authorities plan a separate decree providing the details, but this has not yet been published.
The law therefore establishes an obligation, subject to penal sanctions (criminal offence), for the driver to take the regular weekly rest period outside the vehicle cabin. Companies not respecting this risk one-year’s imprisonment and a fine of €30,000.
Other important provisions
The law also extends the cabotage regulations to vehicles under 3.5 tonnes. Light-duty vehicles will therefore be subject to 3 operations within a limit of 7 days when France is the destination country of the international haulage.
A principle of joint liability is established, making it possible to bring action against a contractor for the fraud relating to one of the sub-contractors that has used posted workers in the road transport sector.
Furthermore, any posted work is subject to an advance announcement by the employer to the Labour inspectorate of the place of the service.
In case of non compliance with these obligations by the employer or where the contractor does not verify compliance in the subcontracting chain, an administrative fine may be imposed. The amount of the fine shall not exceed €2,000 per posted worker and not exceed €4,000 in the event of repeated offences within a period of one year from the date of notification of the first fine. The total amount of the fine may not be higher than €10,000.
The law establishes a blacklist of firms that have been sentenced to a fine for “illegal work”, which can be posted on the internet for a period of two years by a decision of the judge. The judge may, in turn, prohibit the payment of government aid for a period of five years to a firm sentenced for illegal work.
The French law does specifically mention the AETR Agreement so the IRU interpretation is that operations under AETR are not concerned.