According to the report of the Ministry of National Economy’s Labour Supervision Department on the first half year inspection findings of the labour authority for 2017, the number of infringements regarding violations of working-hour and rest-time rules is declining, but the number of irregularities identified by the authority is still significant. According to the report published on 13 September 2017, the most frequent violations are:
- lack of working schedules,
- with cumulative working time systems, the lack of start and end dates defined in writing,
- working hours in excess of the highest permitted daily and weekly working hours,
- lack of working-hour and rest-time records, or the recording of false data.
No working schedules
According to the report, the majority of the violations can be attributed to the fact that many employers leave it up to their employees to decide which day they will come to work. As a general rule, the rules on working schedules are laid down by the employer. Employers have to let employees know in writing of their work schedules at least 7 days in advance, and for a period of at least one week. The written requirement is also fulfilled if the employer discloses the schedule in the normal and generally accepted manner for the workplace (e.g. bulletin board, intranet). For lack of this, the last working schedule applies. If an unforeseen event arises in connection with the employer’s business or operations, the working schedule for the given day can be changed at least four days in advance.
With cumulative working time systems, the lack of start and end dates defined in writing
Employers have to determine the start and end dates of cumulative working periods in writing, and disclose them. In this context, the employer has to define the number of hours to be worked as well. Failure to do so – as the report says – makes it impossible for the employee and the authority to check the extra work performed over and above the cumulative period and the related compensation. In this case too, this information can be disclosed in the normal and generally accepted manner for the workplace.
Violating rules on highest permitted daily and weekly working hours and rest-time
Looking at the rules on working hours and rest time, the labour authority focuses in particular on the following:
- maximum 12-hour working period per day,
- maximum 48-hour working period per week,
- at least 11 hours between end of day’s work and start of following day’s work – as a general rule,
- annual limit for unscheduled, extra work,
- work on Sundays and public holidays,
- two rest days per week,
- amount of normal and extra holidays,
- granting of holiday entitlements.
Recording working hours and rest time
Employers have to record working hours and rest time. In this context, employers record normal and unscheduled working hours, stand-by time and holidays. It must be possible to use the records to determine the start and end times of normal and unscheduled working hours as well as stand-by duties on an up-to-date basis. Employers can record the start and end times of normal and unscheduled working hours by certifying the written working schedule, at the end of the month, and by keeping up-to-date notes of changes. This employer obligation also covers agreements on working hours and rest time.
It is particularly important for the employer to have accurate knowledge of working-hour and rest-time rules since failure to comply with these rules can incur action from the labour authority as specified in law.