Living and working conditions

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Working conditions

Working time


Working time is the actual working time plus the 30-minute break and the time taken up by legitimate absences from work.

Full working time is fixed on a weekly basis and usually amounts to 40 hours a week. It can be shorter, but not less than 36 hours a week. Where there is an increased risk of injury or harm to health, full working time may be less than 36 hours a week. Full working hours may not be spread over less than 4 days a week.

The employer must give employees prior written notice if they have to perform overtime, and must pay them accordingly. However, overtime is limited to a maximum of 8 hours a week, 20 hours a month or 170 hours a year. Exceptionally, and with the worker's approval, overtime of up to 230 hours a year is allowed in certain sectors, e.g. healthcare, but this has to be stipulated in the collective agreement for a particular sector or a particular profession. You are entitled to a rest period of at least 12 uninterrupted hours every 24 hours. The weekly rest period must last at least 24 uninterrupted hours.

You are entitled to a special supplement for overtime work and for working at less convenient times (night work, work on public holidays and other non-working days).

Employers are not allowed to require certain protected categories of employees (pregnant women, older workers, workers in especially hazardous jobs, etc.) to do overtime.

Where full working time is organised in an irregular manner or temporarily re-organised, working time may not exceed 56 hours a week. This type of arrangement may not continue for more than 6 months. Night work is work performed between 11 pm and 6 am. Where the organisation of working time leads to the introduction of a night shift, night work comprises 8 continuous hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The working time of a night worker may not last over 8 hours a day on average (average calculated over a 4-month period). Night work is prohibited for workers aged under 18, pregnant women and nursing mothers. There are restrictions on overtime and night work for older workers.

In the event of a violation of labour law, contact the relevant trade union or the Labour Inspectorate.


Text last edited on: 06/2020

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