Overtime is part of everyday work in many professions. But often the extra hours worked are not remunerated. Every year, around 1.5 billion hours of unpaid overtime accumulate in Germany. Against this background, it is not surprising that the topic is one of the most controversial issues in labor law of all.
How much overtime may be worked?
A specific regulation on how many hours of overtime are allowed at most does not exist in German labor law. However, the Working Hours Act regulates how many working hours per day or. per week are permissible. According to this, eight hours a day is defined as a guideline and 10 hours a day as an upper limit. In the case of a six-day working week from Monday to Saturday, the maximum weekly working time is 48 hours. Consequently, for a normal 40-hour week, up to eight hours of overtime are allowed.
Exceptions to the legal regulations
According to the Working Hours Act, an extension of daily working hours to ten hours is also permissible. However, these overtime hours must be compensated by time off within six months. In addition, the law allows certain deviations in working hours, provided that these are stipulated in a collective agreement, a company agreement or a service agreement. In addition, exceptions are possible for individual industries.
For one group of people, on the other hand, there is strict protection under the Working Hours Act, and that is for employees under 18 years of age. In principle, you may not work more than 40 hours per week.
In the Papershift account, both employer and employee always keep track of overtime hours
How much overtime may be compensated with salary?
To what extent additional working hours may be compensated by salary or salary-related remuneration?. is not regulated in more detail by law. In practice, overtime compensation is governed by an employment or collective bargaining agreement. Many employers compensate for this with time off these days. However, the absence of such a regulation does not automatically mean that employees have no right to payment for the overtime they have worked.
The compensation expectation
The so-called "compensation expectation" is decisive in this context. If an employee can tacitly assume that he or she will be paid when working additional hours, the "extra" working time must generally also be compensated. However, for jobs with high salaries, this compensation expectation usually does not apply.
How many hours of unpaid overtime are allowed?
In principle, employers may not exclude compensation for more hours worked on a flat-rate basis. You will often find clauses in employment contracts such as "The above compensation shall be in lieu of all overtime required of the employee". These are inadmissible after a judgement of the Federal Labor Court from the year 2010.
Exceptions to overtime pay
However, two exceptions to this rule are allowed: firstly, services of a higher nature and secondly, better earners. In the case of so-called "services of a higher nature" (examples include doctors, lawyers and tax consultants), the additional payment of overtime is unusual in the opinion of the Federal Labor Court. Unpaid overtime is permissible even for high earners.
In the opinion of the Federal Labor Court, a clearly outstanding remuneration is given if the salary is above the contribution assessment limit of the statutory pension insurance. This is currently at an annual gross income of approx. 80.000 euros in the western German states and ca. 74.000 euros given in the eastern German states.