Additional work and overtime

What is additional work?

Additional work is work done in addition to the employee’s agreed regular working hours that does not exceed the maximum regular working hours specified in the Working Hours Act. Additional work is work done at the employer’s initiative and with the employee’s consent.

Example:

  • The agreed regular daily working hours of an employee are six hours.
  • The employee works an eight-hour day.
  • The difference between the agreed working hours and the actual working hours, two hours, counts as additional work.

Compensation for additional work

Under the Working Hours Act, the remuneration paid for additional work must be at least as much as the wage paid for the agreed working hours. Time off work with pay may be given in lieu of the remuneration, either in whole or in part.

If remuneration is converted to time off with pay, the time off must be granted during the employee's regular working hours and within six months of performing the additional work, unless otherwise agreed between the employer and the employee.

Several collective agreements contain provisions on remuneration for additional work that differ from the provisions of the Act.

What is overtime?

Overtime is defined as working hours exceeding the regular weekly working hours specified in the Working Hours Act. However, work done beyond regular working hours is only considered overtime if it is done at the employer’s initiative and with the employer’s approval.

Overtime also always requires the employee’s consent, and this consent must be specifically and separately obtained for each occasion. Therefore an employee cannot be ordered to work overtime and may not commit in the employment contract to working overtime whenever required.

Daily overtime is work that exceeds the maximum daily regular working hours specified in the Act. Weekly overtime is work that exceeds the maximum weekly regular working hours specified in the Act but not the maximum daily regular working hours.

In period-based work, overtime is work that exceeds the agreed regular working hours in a two-week or three-week period. Therefore, in period-based work overtime cannot be calculated until the end of the balancing period.

Example of how overtime is accumulated when regular working hours are as specified in the general provision: eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.

 

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

Total

Agreed working hours

8

8

8

8

8

-

-

40

Actual working hours

12

12

12

12

12

12

12

84

Daily overtime
(= actual working hours minus
regular daily working hours, i.e. 12-8 = 4)

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

28

Overtime other than daily overtime
(= actual working hours minus
daily overtime, i.e. 84-28 = 56)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

56

Subtract regular weekly working hours (= overtime other than daily overtime minus regular weekly working hours, i.e. 56-40 = 16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-40

Remaining weekly overtime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

=16

Accrual of overtime with flexible working hours

When an employee extends his/her working hours at his/her own initiative within the flexible period, that does not count as daily overtime.

Employer and employee should agree explicitly on the principles of calculating additional work and overtime if flexible working hours are used. The Working Hours Act does not provide a definitive way of calculating this.

An employee may accrue overtime immediately when the fixed working hours are exceeded or not until the daily flexible period is exceeded.

When the flexible period accumulation is at its maximum, the employee can no longer make use of the flexible period. Unless otherwise agreed, the most feasible calculation method in these circumstances is probably this: excess hours count as overtime if an employee works hours beyond regular working hours at the employer’s initiative, if the employee’s accumulation is at the maximum, and if the employer is aware of this.

Remuneration payable on overtime

The wage payable for overtime must be more than the regular wage. The employer and employee may also agree to convert overtime compensation partly or wholly into time off with pay. The free time allocated is determined in accordance with the increment percentages applying to overtime remuneration. The free time must be granted within six months of the overtime in question unless otherwise agreed.

Collective agreements may contain provisions on remuneration for overtime that differ from those in the Act. The employer must take these provisions into account.

Daily and weekly overtime remuneration

The wage payable for overtime over the daily regular working hours shall be the regular wage plus 50 % for the first two hours and the regular wage plus 100 % for each hour thereafter.

The wage payable for weekly overtime shall be the regular wage plus 50 %.

If regular working hours are determined according to the general provision in the Working Hours Act, daily and weekly overtime must be compensated separately.

Daily and weekly overtime must also be compensated separately if either of the following applies:

  • Regular working hours are agreed in a collective agreement.
  • Regular working hours are agreed in a local agreement based on the collective agreement as referred to in the Working Hours Act.

Daily and weekly overtime must further be compensated separately if any of the following apply:

  • The arrangement of regular working hours is based on a universally binding collective agreement.
  • The arrangement of regular working hours is determined in a local agreement based on a universally binding collective agreement.
  • Employer and employee have entered into a local agreement concerning regular working hours or flexible working hours as per the Working Hours Act.

Remuneration for overtime in period-based work

When work has continued for an entire two-week or three-week period, the wage payable for overtime is determined as follows:

  • in a two-week period: the regular wage plus 50% for the first 12 hours and the regular wage plus 100% for each hour thereafter
  • in a three-week period: the regular wage plus 50% for the first 18 hours and the regular wage plus 100% for each hour thereafter

Section 22 of the Working Hours Act specifies how to calculate remuneration for overtime if work during the period has been interrupted.

What is the maximum amount of overtime?

The maximum amount of overtime during a four-month period is 138 hours. Collective agreements may contain provisions on the length of this accrual period differing from the Act. Also, the maximum amount of overtime in a calendar year is 250 hours.

If the 250-hour maximum looks likely to be reached and the employer still has a need for more overtime, additional overtime may be agreed on locally. The maximum amount of such additional overtime in a calendar year is 80 hours.

An agreement on additional overtime may be concluded by the employer and the shop steward. If no shop steward has been elected, the agreement may be concluded by the employer and another personnel representative.

If no personnel representative has been elected at the workplace, an agreement on additional overtime may be concluded by:

  • the employer and all employees jointly, or
  • the employer and all employees in a specific personnel group, provided that all employees in that group consent to the agreement.

It is recommended that the agreement on additional overtime be executed in writing, because it will then be possible to verify which employees the agreement applies to and what the amount of agreed additional overtime is.

Monitoring overtime accrual

The above shows that the absolute maximum for overtime in a calendar year is 330 hours. However, the statutory limit of 138 hours in a four-month period may not be exceeded even with an agreement on additional overtime.

The restrictions placed on the maximum hours and accrual periods for overtime require the employer to have a functioning real-time working hours monitoring system so that the overtime accrual can be monitored to prevent violation of the limits.