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Definition: what is overtime?

Overtime is defined in the Working Hours Act (ArbZG). The overtime regulation according to § 3 states that all of this is overtime, what goes beyond the daily working time of eight hours.

Regardless of when a day begins, the maximum working time per day is eight hours. Up to ten hours are allowed in total, but only on average. Even the first minute of work after the specified eight hours is overtime within the meaning of the law.

Employees have the option of recording their hours with a working time account. Plus and minus hours add up automatically and the employee and boss have an overview of the total time.

What about overtime in the Working Hours Act? Statutory regulation on overtime

At most eight working hours are per day intended. The Working Hours Act speaks of 48 working hours per week, based on a six-day week. Converted to five days a week, that's 40 hours. In both cases it is eight hours per day that are allotted. Two more hours daily are allowed for an average of six months.

The break regulation provides for defined interruptions within these hours that are not part of working hours.

Ordered overtime is permissible when the company's very existence is at stake. Avoiding personal injury and property damage are justified exceptions. Otherwise there is no compulsionTo work overtime. Bad personnel planning or spontaneous assignments are not justified reasons. If employees decide to stay longer themselves, the employer will only reimburse the additional time if he approves it or tacitly accepts it.

The working hours on a day also apply with multiple employers. If an employee works for two companies, he adds up his hours. Eight hours of normal working time and two extra hours of overtime are the maximum total. In addition, a statutory one applies Rest eleven hours between two working days.

How much extra work is allowed?

Since a total of up to ten hours a day is okay, that's okay two hours of extra work a day. The eight-hour maximum time must be observed on average within six months or 24 weeks. This means that in this total time, the hours of overtime are equal to zero. That guarantees a Overtime reduction, where employees stay at home for a fee.

Other regulations for overtime are possible in a collective agreement or a works agreement. In any case, these are better for the employees than the law.

Excepted from the Working Hours Act, which regulates the overtime, are certain employees according to § 18. This includes executives and employees who are allowed to hire and terminate staff. Also excluded are chief physicians and people who live in a household with the needy entrusted to them.

The Reduction of overtime must take place within the following six months or 24 weeks. The law states in Section 3 that the average working time may not exceed eight hours a day within this period.

When working on one Sunday According to Section 11 of the Working Hours Act, there is only a two-week period to reduce overtime. The deadline for night work is four weeks and for work on one holiday at eight weeks. For work on Sundays and public holidays, the law stipulates that the employer grants the employee a substitute rest day within this period.

Yong works full-time and builds up the highest possible number of overtime in twelve weeks: six days of the week times twelve weeks times two hours of overtime per day equals 144 hours. He now has twelve weeks to dismantle it so that he can stay at eight hours within 24 weeks. His boss Eros gives Yong two options: He only stays six hours a day for the following weeks. Or he stays at home for the next 18 working days and takes everything down at once.

Eros is entitled to order a reduction in overtime. Yong's personal interest plays a role, but Eros decides. Because he is responsible for compliance with the Working Hours Act and the timely reduction in overtime is part of it.

How does overtime work part-time?

Anything that goes beyond the contractually regulated working hours of an employee is overtime. It plays no matter how many hours exactly in the employment contract, whether 40, 20 or ten working hours per week.

Even if an employee has not yet reached the eight-hour maximum working time, but his hours according to the contract, this is overtime. It is not against the law to let the employee continue to work. The employer still pays the part-time employee for overtime.

Example of overtime with part-time work

According to the employment contract, an employee works 20 hours a week. From Monday to Thursday he works four hours a day. On Friday his boss asks him to stay an hour longer. The employee agrees and works five hours. He is still three hours away from the maximum time of eight hours. Nevertheless, he made an hour plus. His boss allows him to leave earlier on another day or pays the hour with the employee's normal hourly wage for the next payroll.

What is the remuneration for overtime?

An employee does not work overtime for free. The employer pays them by telling the employee explicitly paid for it or some time off granted.

Remuneration in the form of money is equal to normal wages. In other words, for an hour of overtime the employee receives the same money as for a normal hour of work. The wages for this are taxable as normal. Overtime pay is also possible as a grant of free time. The same applies here: one hour of extra work corresponds to one hour of free time elsewhere. Employers have the option to pay a premium for overtime.

A automatic compensation for overtime with the salary is permissible if the amount of overtime is quantified. This applies if the number of additional hours is proportionate and not unacceptably high.

Example remuneration for overtime

An employer hires a new employee. The employment contract says: "Overtime is paid for with the salary." This is not permitted. The employee does not know what he is getting into and has no way of estimating the effort. The statement "Two hours of overtime are paid for with the salary per week" is OK if the monthly payment including overtime is not inappropriate or is even below the minimum wage.

Who is not allowed to do extra work?

Pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt from overtime according to Section 4 of the Maternity Protection Act. Your maximum daily working time is eight and a half hours. It is 90 hours within two weeks. They are not allowed to work at night between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., as well as work on Sundays and public holidays. There are other special regulations relating to work in maternity leave.

Teenagers do not work overtime according to § 8 Youth Labor Protection Act. They work a maximum of eight hours a day and a maximum of 40 hours a week.

Employees on the minimum wage pay special attention to their hours. If you have overtime on your account at the time your wages are paid, which the employee does not pay, you will on average fall below the minimum hourly wage.

Katharina Bensch is the clockodo expert for topics related to everyday work.
With specialist knowledge of legal work topics and diverse experience as an editor, she oversees the clockodo info portal.