Our ref: HSR/2/4

Head Office Circular: NP/62/24

8th March 2024

To: The Secretary




Dear Colleague,



It has been brought to my attention that members employed by Stagecoach buses are being asked to opt out of the 48 hour week.


I would like to point out that Government regulations clearly state that "a worker in the road transport industry" which of course includes bus drivers cannot opt out:




Instead, the GB (Great Britain) domestic drivers’ hours rules apply to most passenger-carrying vehicles.

GB domestic rules apply in England, Wales and Scotland.

If you drive a bus or a coach, there are rules you need to follow on:

  • duty time
  • daily driving limit
  • length of working day (‘spreadover’)
  • breaks from driving
  • rest periods

Duty time

If you work as a driver for a company, duty time is any working time. If you’re self-employed, duty time is only time you spend driving the vehicle or doing other work related to the vehicle or its load.

Daily driving limit

You must not drive for more than 10 hours in any working day.

Length of working day (‘spreadover’)

You must not work more than 16 hours between the times of starting and finishing work - including the times when you’re not driving.

Breaks from driving

You must take breaks from driving during each working day. The number and length of breaks you need to take depend on how long you work for in a day.

If you work for less than 8 hours and 30 minutes, you must take a break after 5 hours and 30 minutes of continuous driving. The break must last for 30 minutes or more.

If you work for at least 8 hours and 30 minutes, you must not drive for more than 7 hours and 45 minutes during this time. You must also take breaks that add up to at least 45 minutes.

If you work for longer than 8 hours and 30 minutes, you must take an extra break of at least 30 minutes, in addition to ​the 45 minutes. ​

You must take the extra break at some point between working for 8 hours and 30 minutes and the end of your shift. You must not take the extra break immediately before finishing your shift.

Rest periods

You must take a rest of 10 hours before the first duty and immediately after the last duty in a working week.

You must take a rest of at least 10 hours between 2 working days (or spreadovers) - this can be reduced to 8.5 hours up to 3 times a week.

Every 2 weeks you must take at least one period of 24 hours off duty.

A fixed week is from 00:00 hours on Monday to 23:59 hours the next Sunday.

Exemptions to all GB domestic rules

You do not need to follow the GB domestic rules if you:

  • are dealing with an emergency - for example, a major disruption to public services or danger to life
  • drive for less than 4 hours a day in a week - this is only during the week you are driving less than 4 hours a day

If you drive for more than 4 hours for up to 2 days a week, you do not need to follow all of the rules. You need to:

  • follow the rules for daily driving limits and length of working day
  • start and finish all of your duties within a 24-hour period
  • take a rest of 10 hours before the first duty and immediately after the last duty


If you work overnight and the rules applied on the day your shift began, you must follow the rules for your entire shift - even if your shift finishes during a week in which you are exempt from the rules.



Please bring this circular to the attention of all relevant members.



Yours sincerely




Michael Lynch

General Secretary