Legally prescribed rest periods for employees – The Working Time Law (ArbZG) mainly serves to protect employees and their health. For example, it ensures sufficient breaks for employees

Working Time Law
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Scope of the Working Time Law

The Working Time Law applies only to employees. According to § 2 para. 2 ArbZG, the following are covered by this term

  • Workers,
  • Salaried employees
  • Trainees

The law therefore only applies within an employment or training relationship.

Subject of Regulation

The content of the law is very diverse. First of all, it concerns the amount of daily working time and contains, for example, special regulations for rest periods or night work. In addition, the law stipulates that, in principle, employees have Sundays and public holidays off. At the same time, certain exceptions to the days and times off are laid down.

Daily Working Time

According to § 3 ArbZG, the daily working time must not exceed 8 hours. An extension to 10 hours is possible if the average over a period of 6 months is nevertheless eight hours. Therefore, overtime can also be realized without any problems if the employer complies with the limits of the law.

Weekly Working Time

Since Saturday is also considered a working day by law, this results in a maximum weekly working time of 48 hours. If ten hours per day are permitted as an exception, even a weekly working time of 60 hours is possible.

Working Time Law Overtime and Overtime

In addition to overtime, there is also so-called overtime. What is the difference between overtime and extra work? In the labor law sense, we talk about overtime when the statutory maximum working hours are exceeded.

In contrast, overtime is the exceeding of the applicable regular working hours. These are defined for the employee in a collective agreement, a company agreement or in the employment contract.

Working Time Law / Breaks

During working hours, certain rest breaks are prescribed in accordance with § 4 ArbZG. In the case of a daily working time of 6 hours, the break is at least 30 minutes. In the case of a daily working time of more than 9 hours, the break regulations provide for a break of at least 45 minutes.

Working Time Law / Rest Period

According to § 5 para. 1 ArbZG, a rest period of at least 11 hours is required after the daily working time. There are exceptions, for example, for hospitals or in agriculture.

Violations of the Working Time Law

If employers violate the regulations of the Act, they risk a fine of up to 30,000 euros in accordance with Section 22 (2) ArbZG. In the event of an intentional act and damage to the employee’s health, even a custodial sentence is possible. In accordance with Section 23 (2) ArbZG, this amounts to up to one year.

Working Time Law / Timekeeping

According to Section 16 (2) ArbZG, the employer is obliged to record overtime and other working time extensions. Read more about this in our blog article “When time recording becomes mandatory”.

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