Working Time
Hours of working vary according to sector and profession. Most offices and businesses work from 08:00 to 17:30 hours with a break from 13:00 to 14:30 hours. 

In many cases one afternoon, usually Wednesday, is free, and on that day work stops at 13:00 hours. 

Shop opening hours are subject to legislation. Generally speaking, the shops stay open until 19:30 in the winter months (November to March) and until 20:00 in the summer. Wednesday is half-closing day, and the shops close at 15:00 hours. Adherence to the custom of the siesta from 14:00 to 17:00 hours is optional.

Working time (maximum number of hours worked) is fixed by collective agreement. Generally, weekly working time ranges from 38 to 40 hours in most companies. Overtime is paid accordingly, though not in every case.

You should be aware that:

  • every worker must have a minimum of 11 continuous hours of rest in a 24-hour period and one unbroken rest period of at least 35 hours week;
  • the maximum working week is 48 hours, inclusive of overtime;
  • night work is considered to be work done between 23:00 and 06:00 hours and must not exceed eight hours in 24 hours;
  • when the daily working time exceeds six hours, the employee is entitled to a break of 15 minutes;
  • derogations from the above must be agreed and stated in collective agreements;

The weekly working time, overtime and weekly rest time of shop assistants, office workers, drivers and hotel and entertainment centre workers are regulated by special legislation.

Text last edited on: 12/2007

Source: European Union
© European Communities, 1995-2008
Reproduction is authorised.

 
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