Tag archives: working time

Overtime overhaul – small businesses want more time to prepare

With just about 90 days to go before the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule dramatically updating overtime regulations is scheduled to go into effect, small business owners have petitioned the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division seeking more time to prepare for and implement changes to the way they operate their businesses so that they can remain compliant with wage laws. In a parallel move, on September 28, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives also voted in favor of the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits Act, which would delay implementation of the DOL’s final overtime rule … Continue Reading

What rights and protections are there for workers on zero hours contracts in Germany?

Unlike in the U.K. and other EU member states, zero hours contracts are not (yet) common practice in Germany. To date, other arrangements aimed at achieving “flexible working” such as fixed-term or part-time contracts, secondment of personnel and – more recently – contracts to provide services have been more widespread. However, as German case law and legislation are gradually restricting the flexibility once offered by these arrangements, zero hours contracts are increasingly being used in Germany (in particular with regard to care workers, teachers, and paramedics).

Typical provisions which can be found in employment contracts read for example:

“The working Continue Reading

Fair pay, safe workplaces, and federal contractors telling it like it is

On August 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Counsel issued a final rule to implement President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, entitled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces,” first announced by the President over two years ago on July 31, 2014.

According to the Federal Acquisition Institute, the purpose of E.O. 13673 is “to help [federal] contractors come into compliance with labor laws – not to exclude contractors.” The final rule implementing the order requires both current and prospective federal contractors and subcontractors to disclose labor law violations and establishes how federal … Continue Reading

(Night-)Time is Money

Even though, unarguably, few employees would give up a good night’s sleep in order to work night shifts, operational necessity often dictates otherwise. Certain businesses can only remain competitive and survive in the market if they require their employees to work during night-time. Parcel services, bakeries and hospitals are just a few examples of businesses where working night shifts seems to be an absolute necessity.
Under German law, employees may be required to work during night hours (defined by law as from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.), provided that a works council (if any) has been involved and any collective … Continue Reading

Travelling time for mobile workers can constitute working time.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that, for workers with no fixed or habitual place of work, time spent travelling between their homes and the premises of the first and last customers designated by their employer constitutes “working time” within the meaning of the EU Working Time Directive.

The case was a reference from Spain and involved security systems technicians who were assigned to the central office of the employer, but who had responsibility for a particular province or area. As there were no longer regional offices, the employees used company vehicles to travel to and from their … Continue Reading

Fatter paychecks for employees, tough decisions for employers

On June 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will significantly increase the number of employees entitled to receive overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours during a regular workweek. Once implemented, the new rule is estimated to affect at least 5 million full-time employees by raising the minimum salary required to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemptions from $23,600 to $50,440 per year.

The proposed rule follows a directive from President Obama in March of 2014 to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez that the Department of … Continue Reading

Working time – Are there any restrictions on an employee’s working week?

Employees’ working time is a hot topic in France, the 35 hour week being the centre piece of working time regulations in France. Although the 35 hour week has been repeatedly criticized over the years, it has remained mostly unchanged. French law also includes more specific and complex provisions for various categories of employees.

Normal working time for employees is the 35 hour week (35 hours being the legal working time). This means that any hours worked over such threshold is considered as overtime which should be paid at increased rates and/or compensated by the allocation of rest periods to … Continue Reading

Working time – are there any restrictions on an employee’s working week in Germany?

Under the German Act on Working Time (Arbeitszeitgesetz), an employee’s working time is limited to a maximum of eight hours per working day and 48-hours per week. This 48 hours threshold applies to all employees working a five or six day week. However, most employees in Germany work five days and 40 hours per week at the most.

Under German law, an increase to up to ten hours per day is permissible without a special reason being necessary if the average of eight hours per day is not exceeded over a six-month reference period. However, as European … Continue Reading

Working time in the UK – are there any restrictions on an employee’s working week?

The Working Time Regulations 1998 (the Regulations) implemented the requirements of the 1993 EC Working Time Directive. Before the Regulations came into force, the hours of work undertaken by employees were largely unregulated in the UK. For the first time, the Regulations introduced restrictions on the number of hours worked by employees and workers together with a right to rest breaks and holidays. This post covers only the restrictions on the maximum working week.

Who is covered by the Regulations?

The Regulations apply to “workers”. A worker is defined as an individual who works under either a contract of employment … Continue Reading

Conciliation travail-famille – endeavour to achieve a work life balance in Quebec

In Quebec, time devoted to paid work has considerably increased over the years. Moreover, the number of single-parent families and households where both spouses work is growing. Consequently, we are left with an increasing imbalance between work and family obligations. Quebec is no exception to this rule. Indeed, the Bureau de Normalisation du Québec (BNQ) acknowledged that the province is dealing with a widespread work-life imbalance.

Consequently, it comes as no surprise that it has become standard for employers to publicize the work-life balance that they offer.

In response to this dilemma, Quebec instituted the four-level Work-Family Balance accreditation in … Continue Reading

The use of “forfait jours” under the Syntec sector is now secured

As previously commented in one of our articles, French case law has subjected to increasingly strict scrutiny employers using “forfait jours”, i.e. a specific method of working time for autonomous executives (whose working time is calculated as a number of days worked over the year rather than a number of hours per week).

In 2011, the French Supreme Court held that such method could only be used if the relevant collective bargaining agreement (CBA) allowing for the implementation of such working time organisation included provisions protecting employees’ health and safety and their right to rest periods.

The Supreme … Continue Reading

Beware of your “Forfait-jours” in case of transfer of the employment contract

The legal context

The “forfait-jours” is a particular method of organization of working time which allows the employer to calculate the employee’s working time as a number of days worked over the year rather than a number of hours over the week. This system is advantageous for employers, particularly due to the fact that regulations relating to overtime and the maximum daily and weekly working time do not apply. However, to be enforceable, this system must be provided for and organized by a collective bargaining agreement at the company or sector-wide level and must be followed by the conclusion of … Continue Reading

What holiday rights do employees have in the UK?

Before 1998, employees in the UK had no statutory right to holiday leave from work, paid or unpaid. Their rights to holiday were entirely dependent on the terms of their contract of employment. However, when the Working Time Regulations (WTR) came into force in October 1998, all that changed. Irrespective of what it said in their employment contract, all employees became entitled to minimum periods of paid annual leave irrespective of their length of service. The rest of this note examines the statutory right to leave. Anything in excess of this will be governed by the terms of the contract.… Continue Reading

Holidays and sickness absence

One of the difficult questions for UK employers is the right of employees to carry over holiday where they have been absent from work on long term sickness absence.

Recent cases have clarified that where a person is on long term sickness absence they are entitled to accrue holiday and to carry over holiday into the next holiday year whether or not a request to take holiday has been made.  Where employment terminates the worker is entitled to be paid in lieu for annual leave which has accrued but which the worker was unable to take due to sickness (even … Continue Reading

French Supreme Court rules flexible working time for companies subject to the “SYNTEC” CBA invalid

Over the past few years, French case law has subjected to increasingly strict scrutiny employers using “forfait jours”, which is a specific method of working time for autonomous executives (whose working time is calculated as a number of days over the year rather than a number of hours per week).

In 2011, the French Supreme Court held that such method could only be used if the relevant collective bargaining agreement permitting recourse thereto included provisions protecting employees’ right to rest periods and health and safety measures.

In a new development, the Supreme Court has recently applied such … Continue Reading