Working hours and annual holidays

We consult our customers on questions related to working hours and annual holidays. Our customers’ challenges regarding working time are often related to the scope of the Working Time Act, organization of working time and overtime. When it comes to annual leave, the challenges are often related to setting the annual leave, annual leave pay or holiday remuneration. Both laws are based on an EU directive, so EU legislation and the jurisprudence of the court of justice of the European union must also be taken into account when interpreting the regulations.

The application of the Working Time Act and the definition of working time are not always clear-cut

The Working Time Act applies in principle to all employees, but people working in leading positions, who are allowed to decide their own working hours, may fall outside the scope. However, the exceptions mentioned in the law are subject to several special conditions, the fulfillment of which we evaluate together with the customer. Even the definition of working time is not always clear. According to the main rule, working time is considered to be the time spent on work and the time when the employee is obliged to be at the workplace at the employer’s disposal. However, it is not always clear if, for example, traveling is considered part of work performance.

Different working time models in organizing working time

The Working Time Act offers different models for organizing working time. For example, certain conditions have been set in the law for the use of flexible working hours and shift work. When using different working time models, the equal treatment of employees and the possible conditions of the collective agreement concerning the organization of working time must also be taken into account.

Regulation of overtime in the Working Time Act

According to the working Hours Act, overtime is work that exceeds the statutory regular working hours performed at the initiative of the employer and with the consent of the employee. Daily overtime accumulates after eight working hours and weekly overtime after 40 working hours. The Working Hour Act also has provisions on the compensation to be paid for overtime and the maximum amounts of overtime.

The Annual Holidays Act regulates the earning of annual leave and its timing

The Annual Holiday Act is also largely an obligatory right. The Annual Holiday Act contains provisions on, among other things, the accumulation of holiday, the granting of annual holiday, holiday pay and holiday compensation. When planning annual holiday, the employer must consult the employee and try to agree on the time of the holiday. If an agreement cannot be reached, the employer can however determine the time of the holiday with certain restrictions. For example, 24 holiday days must principally be allocated to the holiday season, which runs from May to September.

The employer has an occupational health and safety obligation to ensure that the employee takes annual holiday and that at least 12 days are taken continuously. The placement of annual holiday can only be agreed upon in accordance with the law. If an employee falls ill before or during the annual holiday, the annual holiday can be postponed under certain conditions at the employee’s request.

Challenges and disagreements

There are many challenges associated with working hours and annual leave, and disagreements easily arise. We help our customers to write down clear and unambiguous terms already in the employment contract. We also consult in the drafting of guidelines and contracts related to working hours and annual leave. In possible disagreement situations, we assist our customer to negotiate a solution that is as expedient as possible and, if necessary, act as the customer’s representative in litigation regarding the disagreement.

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