What is meant by overtime?

Overtime means any work performed, at the employer’s request or authorisation, beyond the daily and weekly limits of normal working hours, as set either by law or by the parties to the employment contract (where these limits are lower).

In principle, the limit to the number of overtime hours is 2 hours per day.

The working time of an employee, including overtime, may in no case exceed: 10 hours per day and 48 hours per week.

These thresholds make up the absolute limits in terms of working hours.

ATTENTION: The courts hold that if an employer disputes the existence of overtime, an employee must prove that it was worked with the employer’s agreement or at the employer’s request. Notwithstanding, if an employer is present at the workplace at the same time as the employee claiming overtime, it shall be assumed that the employer approves the employee’s overtime performance.

An employer can set up a system of work sheets to be countersigned by a line manager. These work sheets can then be used as proof of the hours worked by employees.

How is overtime paid?

Overtime must be compensated by paid time off, at the rate of one hour plus half an hour of paid time off for each hour of overtime worked or credited at the same rate to a time-savings account, the terms of which may be laid down in the relevant collective agreement or in any other agreement between the social partners concluded at the appropriate level.

In companies that apply a legal or conventional reference period, overtime recorded at the end of the reference period is paid during the following reference period by applying the above rate of increase or is recorded at the same rate in a time savings account as referred to above.

“For overtime hours recorded at the end of the reference period, those resulting from failure to comply with the notice periods set out in paragraph 3 of Article L. 211-7 of the Labour Code or from exceeding the limits set out in paragraph 4 (Note: in the context of each work organisation plan and in compliance with paragraph 1 of Article L. 211-12, hours worked per month in excess of: – 12.5% of the normal monthly working time provided for by law or by collective bargaining agreement when applying a reference period of between more than one month and a maximum of three months, – 10% of the normal monthly working time provided for by law or by collective bargaining agreement when applying a reference period of between more than three months and a maximum of four months) of the same article, the time of compensation shall be fixed in principle according to the employee’s wish, unless the needs of the service and the justified wishes of other employees in the company oppose it. In this case, overtime not yet paid at the end of the calendar year may be carried over exceptionally until 31 March of the following year.”

If compensation cannot be made according to the methods defined above for reasons inherent to the organisation of the company, or if an employee leaves the company for any reason whatsoever before receiving compensation for overtime worked, the employee shall be entitled to payment of his normal hourly wage plus 40% for each hour of overtime.

This 140% is exempt from taxes and social security contributions, except for contributions for benefits in kind on the unpaid overtime.

An hourly wage is obtained by dividing monthly wages by the set figure of 173 hours.

Where the collective agreement applies to a sector, branch or several undertakings, it may lay down the conditions under which subordinate agreements at the appropriate levels may set procedures for implementing the preceding paragraphs.

The overtime scheme does not apply to senior managers, i.e. workers who receive significantly higher remuneration than private employees covered by the collective agreement or otherwise, taking into account the time required to perform their duties, where such remuneration is the counterpart of the exercise of genuine and effective managerial power or whose duties involve well-defined authority, a large degree of independence in the organisation of work and a large degree of freedom as regards working hours, and in particular the absence of constraints on working hours.

Work on Sundays

How is Sunday work paid?

Persons having to work on a Sunday will be paid their normal salary plus 70%.

However, it is possible to take time off in lieu of pay for the hours worked on a Sunday.

In this case, only the 70% supplement shall be paid by the employer and time off shall correspond to:

  • half a day if the Sunday work lasted four hours or less;
  • a full day if the employee worked more than four hours on Sunday.

Please note: the extra pay for Sunday work is tax-free regardless of the amount paid.

By way of exception, Sunday work in hotels, restaurants, canteens, pubs and other establishments where drinks are served, as well as in agriculture and wine-growing, does not entitle the employee to leave of one day or half a day.

In these companies, Sunday work entitles an employee who has worked a total of 20 Sundays during the calendar year to at least two days of paid leave in addition to the statutory leave.

(last updated on 14.10.2021)

Night work

What is meant by night work?

Night work is generally defined as work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. (except for young workers).

How is night work paid?

Supplements to be paid to employees when they work at night are not defined in absolute terms by law.

It is only in the framework of the legislation on collective labour agreements that a rate of increase for night work is mentioned, which cannot be less than 15%, without this percentage having any general value.

Like supplements for Sunday work, supplements for hours worked at night are exempt from tax regardless of amount.

Work on a public holiday

Legal holidays are the following days: New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, May Day, Europe Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, the day of the public celebration of the Grand Duke’s birthday, Assumption Day, All Saints’ Day, the first and second days of Christmas.

How is working on a public holiday regulated?

Any employee required to work on a public holiday is entitled to their standard salary plus 100% for each hour worked.

Additional pay for hours worked on a public holiday is tax-free regardless of the amount.