Overview of relevant legislation, roles and responsibilities related to layovers and driver facilities. 


Providing adequate layover and driver facilities are an essential part of meeting legislative obligations.

Employment Relations Amendment Act

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 (‘the Act’) provides employees with the right to rest breaks and meal breaks throughout the workday.

Prior to the 2018 amendment, the Act required that employees receive reasonable and appropriate rest breaks and meal breaks without specifying the number, duration or position of the breaks within the workday.

The Act’s amendment provides greater clarity of rest break and meal break entitlements which benefits workplaces by helping employees to work safely and productively.

Bus drivers are entitled to paid rest breaks (10-minutes) and unpaid meal breaks (30-minutes) depending on the length of a shift. Breaks are generally for attending to personal matters and are a break from work-related tasks which could include eating, going to the bathroom or taking a mental break.

When an employee takes these breaks, they need to be able to reasonably attend to these personal matters. A safe environment should be provided in accordance with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which obligates protection employees from workplace health and safety risks, so far as reasonably practicable.

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015(external link)

To enable bus operators to meet the obligations of the Employment Relations Amendment Act, public transport contracting authorities and road controlling authorities may need to establish new driver facilities at layover spaces for drivers to take their breaks. This is because many layover spaces do not currently have nearby driver facilities and therefore bus drivers are not able to reasonably attend to personal matters.

Employment New Zealand website for more information about the Act(external link)

Land Transport Rule: Work Time and Logbooks

The Land Transport Rule: Work Time and Logbooks 2007 sets out the limits to work time for drivers of commercial vehicles including drivers.

Section 2.1(1) of this rule requires bus drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after a maximum of five and a half hours of continuous work time.

A break which is 30-minutes in duration may be classed as both a rest break under the Land Transport Rule and a meal break under the Employment Relations Amendment Act. 

Land Transport Rule: Work Time and Logbooks 2007

Roles and responsibilities

An overview of the roles and responsibilities for the organisations that have a direct interest in bus layovers and driver facilities from a governance, funding, delivery or usage perspective.

Related advice:

Ministry of Transport

The Ministry of Transport is the government’s principal transportation policy advisor.

The Ministry administers transport related legislation such as the Land Transport Management Act and Road User Charges Act and Public Transport Management Act.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi is the government’s operational land transport agency which is responsible for delivering the government’s desired land transport outcomes.

Waka Kotahi is responsible for investing the allocated funding contained in the National Land Transport Programme in public transport services and infrastructure.

Other key roles include regulating and licensing bus operators, providing public transport infrastructure on the state highway and providing guidance to practitioners on industry best practice.

Public Transport Authorities (PTA)

PTAs are local government entities that are responsible for the planning, management and contracting of public transport services within the city or region.

The majority of PTAs are regional councils (eg Wellington, Horizons, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury), with a few being unitary councils (Gisborne, Marlborough, Tasman and Nelson), one council-controlled organisation (Auckland Transport) and one city council with delegated powers from a regional council (Invercargill City Council).

Depending on the arrangement between local government organisations within each region the PTA may own and maintain public transport assets (bus shelters, off-street bus layovers and driver facilities) or this may be owned and maintained by the road controlling authority.

Road Controlling Authorities (RCA)

Territorial, unitary councils and Auckland Transport own, maintain and develop the local road network which is used by public transport services.

Road controlling authorities are also responsible for enacting the traffic regulations which enable bus stops to be built on the local road network.

Bus stops are delivered in partnership between RCAs and PTAs.

Public transport assets like bus stops can be owned by the road controlling authority or the public transport contracting authority, while street layovers are owned by the road controlling authority.

Bus operators

Bus operators are contracted by the public transport contracting authorities to deliver public transport services.

The core responsibilities of bus operators are delivery of public transport services and maintenance of public transport vehicles.

It is common for bus operators to own or lease public transport vehicles and bus depots, however in some instances these assets may be owned by public transport contracting authorities or road controlling authorities.

Bus operators are responsible for employing people to deliver contracted services and manage the employer / employee relation.

An important employment responsibility of bus operators is the scheduling and allocation of driver shifts to bus drivers (eg deciding which trips are allocated to each driver) which influences when and where bus layovers and bus driver facilities are needed.