Working hours

Working hours

Working full-time usually means working 40 hours per week although, in practice, it is possible to work more or less than that.

In addition to the total number of working hours, their schedule is also important. The most common work schedule is eight hours of work every day. If sometimes there is a need to work longer hours, this counts as overtime which must be paid in addition.

However, the law also permits an unequal schedule of working hours: longer working hours on some days and shorter on others (for example, a worker works six hours on Mondays and Tuesdays, eight hours on Wednesdays and ten hours on Thursdays and Fridays). In such a case, the total number of working hours must still be 40.

There is also the so-called redistribution of working hours, intended for activities with great differences in work intensity throughout the year. Typical examples of such activities are agriculture, tourism and construction.

Employers who use redistribution can organise working hours in a way that workers work, for example, 10 or 12 hours a day during the season but the additional hours are not paid as overtime. Instead, they are recorded and, in turn, workers work less in the second part of the year or receive paid time off.

The redistribution must be set out in a collective agreement or regulated by the employer in a special bylaw.

Employers sometimes try to use redistribution when there is no objective justification for it in order to avoid making supplementary overtime payments. That is why it is best to set out the redistribution in a collective agreement and have a trade union that will monitor whether the redistribution is being applied in accordance with the law.

In all cases where the quantity and organisation of working hours go beyond the usual framework, there are set limits regarding the maximum number of permitted working hours.

The rules on working hours are complex so, to safeguard their interests, it is always a good idea for workers to keep their own records of their working hours. This can be particularly useful where the rights related to working hours have been violated.

According to the Labour Act, workers have the right to a wage supplement in respect of difficult working conditions; overtime and night work; and for work on Sundays, holidays or on any other day defined by law as a non-working day. The law does not, however, set out the amount of that supplement. For work on Sundays, it cannot be less than 50 per cent of the contracted hourly rate, while the amounts of other supplements may be agreed upon in a collective agreement or, alternatively, stipulated by the employer in employment rules. In cases where collective agreements exist, the contracted level of such supplements is generally between 20 and 50 per cent.  


Only when organised in a union can workers collectively bargain with the employer about their wages and working conditions and organise strike action if they cannot agree with the employer on these issues.

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