Working hours

The Working Environment Act defines working hours as time when the employee is at the disposal of the employer. The time the employee is not at the disposal of the employer is referred to as off-duty time.

There are limits for how much you may work per 24-hour day and per week. These limits are laid down in the Working Environment Act, but may also be regulated by your employment contract and by any collective agreements.

The limits prescribed by the Working Environment Act for normal working hours are:

  • 9 hours per 24 hours
  • 40 hours per 7 days

If you work shifts, nights or Sundays, normal working hours are 38 or 36 hours a week. The duration and disposition of the daily and weekly working hours must be stated in your employment contract.

The employer shall keep an account of the employee’s working hours.

Calculation on the basis of a fixed average

The normal working hours may be calculated on the basis of a fixed average. This means that you may work more than the limit for normal working hours during certain periods in exchange for working correspondingly shorter hours during other periods. The average number of hours worked must be within the limits for normal working hours.

Calculation on the basis of a fixed average may be agreed in writing between the employer and the employee, be laid down in a collective agreement between the employer and a group of employees or be practised in accordance with a dispensation granted by the Labour Inspection Authority.

Agreement between the employee and the employer:
For a period of up to one year, working hours may be distributed as follows:

  • 10 hours per 24 hours
  • 48 hours per 7 days

The limit of 48 hours per seven days may be calculated according to a fixed average over a period of eight weeks provided. But normal working hours shall not exceed 50 hours in a week.

However, the average number of hours in the period must not exceed the statutory limits for normal working hours.

Such agreement may not be entered with employees who are temporarily employed in accordance with the Working Environment Act Section 14-9 first paragraph, letter f.

Agreement between the employer and employees’ representatives in an undertaking bound by a collective pay agreement.
For a period of up to one year, working hours may be distributed as follows:

  • 12,5 hours per 24 hours
  • 48 hours per 7 days

The limit of 48 hours per seven days may be calculated according to a fixed average over a period of eight weeks provided. But normal working hours shall not exceed 54 hours in a week.

However, the average number of hours in the period must not exceed the statutory limits for normal working hours. Nor may extended working hours be worked continuously for more than eight weeks.

On the consent of the Labour Inspection Authority:

For a period of up to 26 weeks, working hours may be distributed as follows:

  • 13 hours per 24 hours
  • 48 hours per 7 days or 48 hours on average during a period of 8 weeks

However, the average number of hours in the period must not exceed the statutory limits for normal working hours.