What is night work?

The law defines night work as any work performed between 10:00 pm 6:00 am (except for young workers).

When is the employee considered a night worker?

A night worker is considered to be:

  • any worker who, during the night period, performs at least 3 hours of his daily working time normally;
  • any worker who is likely to perform, during the night period, a certain amount of his annual working time as defined by the collective agreement or by an agreement concluded between the two sides of industry at national or sector level, provided that this part is greater than one quarter of a person’s annual working hours.

What rules protect night workers?

The normal working time of night workers may not exceed an average of 8 hours in any 24-hour period over a 7-day period.

Night workers in jobs involving particular risks or significant physical or mental strain may not work more than 8 hours in any 24-hour period.

In addition, night workers are required to undergo periodic medical examinations.

What extra pay is applicable for night work?

With the exception of employees in the catering industry, there is no absolute determination in law regarding supplements to be paid to employees when they work at night.

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

For employees in the catering industry, any work performed between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. is considered night work for the purposes of the law. The remuneration due for each hour of night work performed between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. shall be increased by 25%, either in free time or in cash.

The supplements for hours worked at night are tax-free without any limitation.

Can pregnant women work at night?

Pregnant women may not be obliged to work between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. when, in the opinion of the competent occupational physician, this could compromise her safety or health.

The same applies to a nursing mother until the date of the child’s first birthday.

In such cases, employees must apply to their employer for exemption from night work, who will forward the application to the competent occupational physician for an opinion.

If the occupational physician is of the opinion that an exemption from night work is necessary from the point of view of the employee’s safety or health, the employer is obliged to transfer the pregnant or breastfeeding woman to a daytime job, keeping her previous salary, for the entire period necessary to protect her health or safety.

In this case, employers shall advance any difference in income resulting from the transfer from a night shift to a day shift on behalf of the health and maternity insurance and with subsequent reimbursement.

If a transfer to a daytime job is not technically and/or objectively possible or cannot reasonably be required for duly justified reasons, the employer, on the advice of the occupational physician, shall exempt the pregnant or breastfeeding woman from working for the entire period necessary to protect her health or safety. During this period, pregnant or breastfeeding women are entitled to payment of the maternity allowance from health and maternity insurance.