In our previous article, we examined the basic concepts of working time and clarified when we are talking about it, to make the complex system of working time understandable. This time we will examine the amount of working time that can be allocated and rules governing working time scheduling. First, we will clarify the exact lengths of time we can allocate, and then we will go around the types of work schedules and the conditions related to them.
The first part of the article is available here: TIME IS MONEY! - NEW SERIES ABOUT WORKING TIME - Blog - Smartlegal
1. How much time can we work? - The amount of working time that can be scheduled
To understand the system of working time, it is important to clarify that working time as a concept can mean both
One of them therefore refers to how much time we work for example in a month, and the other refers to how long a working day is. We can see that these are two different aspects.
An example: "A" is a white-collar worker, and B is a blue-collar worker who works in shifts. Both work "full-time", i.e., they work about 168 hours in a month, if we are counting with 8 hours per a day. This is the amount of working time that can be scheduled.
This quantity is scheduled in case of “A" in a way, that “A” has to work 8 hours a day on each weekday. However, in the case of B, it is scheduled in a way that “B” has to work 12 hours a day in 14 working days a month. In the end, therefore, the amount of time they have worked per month is the same, but the daily working time according to the schedule (i.e., the length of the "shift") is different.
After the above, we first examine the amount of working time that can be allocated, i.e., how much time we can work in a given period of time.
As many people know, regular working hours are 8 hours per day (regular daily working time). With this amount, the working time that can be allocated per week is 40 hours, which is about 168 hours per month.
The amount of working time that can be scheduled can be increased in two cases: 8 hours can be increased to a maximum of 12 hours if the employee
While the second option could be clear, we consider the stand-by job must be explained.
We are talking about a stand-by job where due to the nature of the job, no work is performed during at least one-third of the employee’s regular working time based on a longer period, during which – however – the employee is at the employer’s disposal, or if in light of the characteristics of the job and of the working conditions, the work performed is significantly less strenuous and less demanding than commonly required for a regular job.
The former case may include, for example, a doorman, a maintenance worker, an order taker, or a driver. Circumstances suggesting significantly less strenuous may be, for example, if the level of mental and/or physical exertion associated with the job is low or if the tasks to be performed are considered as a routine.
A stand-by job has many advantages, since in addition to the fact that in this case it is possible to increase the regular daily working time from 8 hours to 12 hours, the maximum scheduled weekly working time (to be presented later) is also higher, however, it always requires a detailed examination to determine whether we are talking about a stand-by job.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the amount of working time to be worked by the employee in a given period can only be increased in the above cases, in other cases the average of the amount of working time worked by the employee shall not exceed 8 hours per day.
It is possible to determine not only longer but also shorter regular daily working time if the employment regulation or the agreement of the parties allows. Furthermore, it is possible to stipulate part-time work, however only on the basis of the agreement of the parties.
2. Work schedule system
After clarifying the amount of working time that can be scheduled, we examine how it can be allocated on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, which calls "work schedule" by the LC.
As you can see in the figure below, the work schedule can be made by the employer (working arrangements) or by the employee (flexible working arrangements).
As a general rule, the rules relating to work schedules shall be laid down by the employer (working arrangements), however this right may be transferred to the employee, in which case we can talk about a so-called flexible working time arrangements. It is worth noting that between these two we can place different flexible working time arrangements models (the so-called flexitime).
The flexible working arrangements and flexible models will be described in latter articles, therefore we will now detail the rules regarding the work schedule assigned by the employer.
3. Working time scheduled by the employer
In this context, it is necessary to start from standard work pattern, which is the basis for all calculations relating to work schedules.
In the case of the standard work pattern, the scheduled working time does not deviate from the "daily working time", so the employee, employed for the 8-hour employment relationship, works 8 hours a day for 5 days a week.
If the scheduled work differs from the "daily working time", it will be an irregular work schedule, e.g., by applying the so-called working time banking. Due to its complexity, this system is described in detail in the next article and is now examined only from the point of view of the general rules of work schedule.
4. Limits of the work schedule
To ensure that the work schedule of employees is drawn up in accordance with occupational safety and health requirements, the LC stipulates the minimum and maximum durations of the working time that can be scheduled. LC specifies differently the above duration regarding to the regular work schedule and the irregular work schedule (e.g., working time banking).
Regular work schedule
Irregular work schedule
Working time that can be scheduled for a day
(except part-time work)
Working time that can be scheduled for a week
Work shall be scheduled for every weekday
average 48 hours[ii]
The work schedule shall be for at least one week and shall be made known at least 168 hours in advance. In the absence of this, the last work schedule communicated will prevail.
Finally, it is important to note that the duration of overtime is included in the scheduled working hours, therefore we must pay attention to the fact that, even with overtime, the daily or weekly working time of the employee does not exceed the legal maximum.
5. Rest period as an additional limit
The work schedule necessarily includes the scheduling of rest periods, so in addition to the above requirements, we have to pay attention to the rest periods (rest breaks[iii], daily rest period, weekly rest day/rest period), as well.
To ensure the rest and regeneration of the employees, the working time should be allocated in such a way that 11 hours elapse between the completion of the previous day's work and the start of the work on the day. LC permits unequal rest periods for certain jobs[iv] however requires a higher rest period of 12 hours for young workers.
The employee shall also be entitled to either a weekly rest day or a weekly rest period at the discretion of the employer.
In case of weekly rest day, the employee is entitled to 2 rest days per week[v], which rest days fall on Saturdays and Sundays in relation to the standard work pattern.
In the case of weekly rest periods, which may seem very similar to the weekly rest day, the employer provides the employee 48 hours of rest. However, while regarding the weekly rest day, LC only requires that the 2 days must be allocated in a contiguous way only in relation to the standard work pattern, in case of the weekly rest period it is a conceptual element that it should be appropriate for the employee without interruption.
Regarding the concept of working time, we need to separate the amount of working time that can be allocated and the working time according to the schedule. While the former case determines the amount of working time that can be allocated in a given period, the latter determines the length of a specific working day.
The rules of working time are basically stipulated by the employer and the regular daily working time, with is 8 hours, which is equivalent to 40 hours per week.
Based on the standard work pattern, which forms the basis of the calculations related to the work schedule, the employer allocates the working time five days a week, Monday to Friday.
During the work schedule, we must also pay attention to the statutory minimums and maximums, as well as the enforced rest periods.
It can therefore be seen that we must meet a lot of requirements during the work schedule.
In our next article, continuing the topic of work scheduling, we will explore the rules of irregular work schedule, i.e., working time banking and payroll period.
[i] act I of 2012 on the labour code
[i] Maximum 24 hours in case of a stand-by job or if the employee relative of the employer or the owner
[ii] Maximum 72 hours in case of a stand-by job or if the employee relative of the employer or the owner
[iii] See our previous article
[iv] Based on the section 104(2) of the LC: split shifts, continuous shifts, multiple shifts, seasonal jobs. It is important that in such a case, the combined duration of the two consecutive daily rest periods must be at least 22 hours.
[v] calendar week, uninterrupted 186 hours
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