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The new Working Hours Act enters into force as from September 1st 2018 . Find below the most relevant new regulations:
12 hours per day/ 60 hours per week
In future, working hours must not exceed 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week (§ 9 Abs. 1 AZG „Arbeitszeitgesetz“). However, the normal working hours remain 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week, which means that
In a calculation period of 17 weeks the average weekly working time may not exceed 48 hours. Collective agreements can allow a longer calculation period up to 52 weeks.
The result of this regulation is that fines - which previously could be imposed per employee and per violation - do not have to be paid for the 11th and 12th overtime hour.
In future, the most important limit for general managers or authorised representatives to avoid a fine will be the observance of 48 hours within 17 weeks.
Flexible working hours
Also, regarding flexible working hours the limit where overtime starts will change: from 10 hours per day to 12 hours per day, five times a week (§ 4b Abs. 4 AZG). The result is that the 11th and 12th hour can be basically agreed as normal working time free of extra surcharges.
The requirement for the extension to 12 hours is
Attention: Existing flexible working hours agreements with 9 or 10 normal working hours remain until a new agreement will be concluded. However, a fine can not be imposed anymore by the labour inspection if the employee works more than 10 hours.
In the case that an all-in agreement refers to the allowed overtime, the number of hours covered by this agreement will change. In the past, all-in agreements could cover 320 hours of overtime per year. As from September 1st 2018, 416 hours of overtime will be possible. Actually, the existing individual agreement or the wording of new contracts have to be considered.
Refusal of 11th and 12th hour
Employees will have the possibility to refuse the 11th and 12th working hour, which generally are overtime (§ 7 Abs. 6 AZG).
Also, it is prohibited that an employee will have a disadvantage in:
A dismissal due to a refusal can be sued before the court within 2 weeks.
If an employee is obliged to work overtime more than 10 hours per day or 50 hours per week, he can choose if the overtime is compensated in money or in time off. The decision has to be taken not later than until the end of the particular accounting period.
Exceptions from the weekend and public holiday rest
The possibilities to work at weekends and public holidays are expanded (§ 12b ARG). In future, exceptions from the rest periods at weekends and public holidays will be allowed. For this purpose, either a works agreement or a single agreement (in companies without a works council) is required. This agreement will allow to assign employees to work on 4 weekends or public holidays per calendar year. However, the weekends may not be consecutive. In companies without a works council the employees have a right of refusal.
Attention: These exceptions must not be applied to sales activities which are subject to the Opening Time Act.
Extended exceptions of people concerned by the Working Hours Act
The exceptions in the new Working Hours Act are large and contain:
close relatives, executives and other employees who were assigned important managerial responsibilities within the company, if their overall working time
Attention: Generally, all agreements in collective agreements, works agreements and single agreements which improve the situation of the employee have to be applied, provided that they will not be changed in future.