What are the working hours in Germany?

In Germany, working hours and related regulations are an essential part of the employment framework. Should you have any questions about your / your employee(s) working hours, please review the employment agreement.

Generally speaking, working hours are regulated by the German Working Hours Act ('Arbeitszeitgesetz'). Here's an explanation of working hours in Germany:

  1. Standard Working Hours: The standard workweek in Germany is typically 40 hours, spread over five workdays. This equates to an 8-hour workday, and it is the common full-time work arrangement.

  2. Maximum Working Hours: Employees are generally not allowed to work more than 8 hours per day, or an average of 48 hours per week. There are, however, exceptions for certain professions and industries. Most employees cannot work more than 40 hours on average over a 6-month period.

  3. Breaks: Employees are entitled to breaks during their workday. The standard break is 30 minutes for a workday longer than 6 hours and 45 minutes for a workday longer than 9 hours. These breaks should be provided by the employer.

  4. Overtime: Overtime is generally defined as any work beyond the regular daily or weekly working hours. Overtime may be agreed upon in the employment contract and is generally balanced by time off in lieu. Exact provisions as to how overtime is handled would be outlined in the employee's employment contract.

  5. Night Work: Night work is usually defined as work between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Special regulations and compensation apply for night workers, such as increased pay or extra time off.

  6. Rest Periods: Employees are entitled to a daily rest period of at least 11 hours between shifts, and a weekly rest period of at least 24 hours on Sundays, when possible. In some industries, specific rules and exceptions may apply.

  7. Part-Time Work: Part-time employment is common in Germany, and employees working part-time hours have their working hours clearly defined in their employment contracts.

  8. Flexible Work Arrangements: Some employers offer flexible work arrangements, such as flextime or remote work, within the boundaries of legal regulations and individual employment agreements.

  9. On-Call and Standby: Time spent on-call or standby is generally considered working time if the employee is required to be available at the workplace or to respond to work-related tasks.

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