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German labour law

Working time regulations

The time one may have to work and for which one may get his salary is determined by contract regulations.

There are many possibilities to set in a labor contract in Germany how much time one is obliged to work. It can be 40 hours per week or 168 hours per month and so on. This settlement can have a crucial impact on the payments during holidays or a sick leave, for example if an agreement sets particularly a weekly working time of 20 hours, then even if one works mostly 30 or 40 hours one will be most probably paid during his or her sick leave or a holiday period only an equivalent of 20 hours per week.

If there is no explicitly written regulation on the working time, then one must be able to describe an oral agreement, that has been made on this matter: including the time, place, content and the person with whom this agreement has been arranged.

Terms like „Vollzeit“ (full-time) will mostly mean a full-time employment in the firm one works in – in most cases it can be 5 x 8 hours a day = 40 hours a week. But then there can be firms, companies etc. in which employees work 6 x 8 hours = 48 hours a week.

An explicit regulation on the working time will have an influence on the chances of an employee to get remuneration for all the time he has worked. Regarding the contract working time, one [an employee] declares to be, within the regular working hours, at work ready to receive instructions from the employer or his representatives. For any extra hours one [the employee] must also describe a specific instruction, which led to those extra hours – only then is the employer obliged to pay for the extra hours.