Frequently Asked Questions

The information on this page does not exempt you from consulting the Labor Code and Labor Law in force.

The contents here present may change at any time, in case of doubt, seek legal advice from a specialized professional.

Duration of work

What is the maximum normal work period permitted by law?

The normal work period may not exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

How many days of rest per week is the worker entitled to?

By law, the worker has the right to at least one day of rest per week, but may be given another half or full day of rest every week or on certain weeks of the year.

What daily breaks and rest periods are permitted by law?

The daily work period should be interrupted by a break of no less than 1 hour and no more than 2 hours, in such a way that the worker does not work for more than 5 consecutive hours.

The worker is also guaranteed a minimum rest period of 11 consecutive hours between two successive daily work periods.

What is considered to be exemption from working hours?

Workers are exempted from normal working hours when they work in activities which are not subject to the normal limits for the daily and/or weekly duration of work. They may include the following types of work:

  • - Work not subject to the maximum limits of the normal work periods;
  • - The possible increase of working hours to a certain number per day or per week;
  • - Observance of the normal work periods agreed.

When the parties have not stipulated the type of exemption from normal working hours which has been adopted, it is considered to be the type which is not subject to the maximum limits of the normal work periods.

What is overtime?

Overtime is all work undertaken outside normal working hours. In cases where there is exemption from normal working hours, but where they have been limited to a certain number of hours of work per day or per week, overtime is considered to be work done which exceeds the duration agreed.

Can the employer make the worker work overtime?

Yes. But workers may ask to be allowed off overtime if sufficiently justified.

Certain types of workers have the recognised right to exemption from overtime, and do not have to ask for exemption. This is the case of workers who are pregnant or have children under the age of one, workers who have taken paternity leave totally or partially substituting maternity leave, workers who are minors and workers who are chronically ill or disabled.

In what situations does the worker must do overtime?

Overtime may only be done when the company must respond to possible, temporary increase in work which does not justify the admission of a new worker.

Overtime may also be done in cases of force majeure or when it is indispensable to prevent or compensate serious damages to the company or its viability.

What are the limits of overtime?

Overtime done when the company has to respond to possible, temporary increases in work and the admission of a new worker is not justified should not exceed:

  • - A hundred and seventy-five hours of work per year, in the case of micro and small-sized companies;
  • - A hundred and fifty hours of work per year in the case of medium and large-sized companies;
  • - Two hours per normal working day;
  • - Several hours equal to the normal daily work period on the weekly days of rest, whether compulsory or complementary, and on bank holidays;
  • - Several hours equal to the normal half period of daily work on a half day of rest;
  • - The limits of overtime done by pharmacies are regulated separately by special legislation.

How is overtime paid?

The remuneration and increases provided in the Labor Code, for overtime work are now due only for overtime work of up to 100 hours per year.

So, when overtime work exceeding 100 hours per year this is paid at the hourly rate with the following additions:

- 50% for the first hour and 75% for each hour, on a working day;

- 100% for each hour, on weekly rest day, or on a public holiday.

What is the Work Hours Bank?

The Work Hours Bank is a mechanism provided in the Labor Code, which allows the worker to accumulate hours provided by overtime working, which can be compensated through the equivalent reduction of working time, increase in the period of vacations or payment in cash.

Can I join to the work hours bank?

If a worker is not covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that allows for a change in the organization of working time, the work hours bank may be established by written agreement between the employer and the worker, and the normal period of work can be increased up to two hours per day and reach 50 hours per week, with a limit of 150 hours per year.

What is shift work?

Shift work is any way of organising team work whereby workers occupy the same work positions successively at a certain rhythm, including rotation, which may or may not be continuous, which means that workers may work at different times during the course of a given period of days or weeks.

What is the maximum duration of each shift?

The duration of the work done in each shift may not exceed the maximum limits of normal work periods. The worker's shift may only be changed after the weekly day of rest.

How much is shift work paid?

Shift work is not paid at a special rate except where the applicable Collective Regulatory Instrument provides for a shift work subsidy.

The shift worker who works at night has the right to be paid special rates for the work done during that period unless they have been given a shift work subsidy, in which case the special rate does not have to be paid.

What do we mean by night work?

Night work is considered to be work for a minimum of seven hours and a maximum of eleven hours, including the hours between 12 midnight and 5am. Collective Regulatory Instruments may stipulate that night work be done within those time limits. When night work has not been regulated by a Collective Regulatory Instrument, it is considered to be the period between 10pm of one day and 7 am of the following day.

How much is night work paid?

Night work should include a supplement of 25% of the rate paid for equivalent work during the day.

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