Working time and breaks

Employees are protected by working time legislation that requires employers to keep records of hours worked and compensations paid.

It is important to comply with the overtime and rest period regulations of the Working Time Act.

This law gives employees the right to a onehour meal break in any work shift of more than six hours. The employer and employee may also agree on a shorter break. The break is not counted as working time if the employee is free to leave the workplace.

Overtime is any working time that exceeds the statutory limits governing regular daily and weekly working hours. An employee’s consent must always be secured when scheduling overtime. Overtime is therefore always voluntary; the employee is entitled to refuse the employer’s offer of overtime.

A 50 per cent bonus ("time-and-a-half") is payable by law for the first two hours of daily overtime, and a 100 per cent bonus ("double time") is payable for subsequent hours in the work shift. A 50 per cent bonus is also payable for weekly overtime when working time exceeds an average of 40 hours per week. Overtime may not exceed a total of 138 hours in any four-month period or 250 hours in a full year.

Collective agreements include more detailed regulations on working hours in specific industries.