Working hours – what adjustment is worthwhile for you?

Working time arrangements vary widely: shorter or longer hours, fixed hours, irregular hours. We will advise you on what you are entitled to under each option and what to choose if you have a choice.

těžce pracující zaměstnanec uvažuje o úpravě pracovní doby
6 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Timetable and weekly working hours

Working hours are characterised under the Labour Code as the time during which you, as an employee, are required to perform work for your employer or to be ready at the workplace to perform work according to the employer’s instructions.

Working time is generally scheduled into a five-day working week. When scheduling working time, the employer must take into account that the scheduling does not conflict with the aspect of safe and healthy work.

It is typically determined by the number of hours per week, and most of us are familiar with a typical 40-hour week, the specific pattern of which may vary from workplace to workplace.

Tip: We’ve also covered working hours and job sharing in another article.

Fixed working hours

Previously, the classic “from – to” prevailed in workplaces . At seven or eight in the morning, the company absorbed hundreds of employees, and in the afternoon, they were ejected en masse. This form still has relevance, for example, in factories where operations need to run at specific times or in shifts throughout the day and no downtime is created. But it has less relevance in office work, where various alternatives are becoming the norm.

Fixed working hours may seem like a relic, but if it applies to you, don’t forget the benefits it brings. If you need to see a doctor as part of your working hours, this is seen as work performance when you work fixed hours. In the case of flexible working, this is only the case if you visit during a fixed (core) part of your working hours.

Do you need advice on what you are entitled to when adjusting your working hours?

Our team includes specialists in all areas of law, so we can guarantee a really high quality of legal advice. Moreover, we can handle everything online and within two working days.

Flexible working hours

In the case of flexible working hours, it can be said with a bit of exaggeration that the employee can come and go as he or she pleases. The employer usually sets basic working hours (e.g. 10am – 2pm) when the employee must be available at the workplace and then optional periods when it is up to the employee to work. This allows employees to better organise their time, take into account whether they are a morning or night type and better fit their work around other responsibilities such as caring for their family.

However, on average, even a flexible worker should work 40 hours a week (unless they have reduced hours). The weekly working time must be completed within a compensatory period to be determined by the employer (no longer than 52 weeks).

Tip: A very current option is the use of a home office, which also has an impact on working hours.

Breaks at work

Employees not only have the right, but in fact the obligation, to take a break after no more than six hours of continuous work, and the employer must allow the employee to take a break. Typically in the form of a half-hour lunch break. However, it can also be taken in parts, as long as at least one of the parts is at least 15 minutes long. The break does not count towards working time.

Another option is a safety break. This typically applies to drivers, but can apply to employees in crawler production and many others. Its specific form is determined by the regulations. For example, for drivers of cars up to 3.5 tonnes, a break of a minimum of 30 minutes after a maximum of 4.5 hours is prescribed.

Rest periods

The Labour Code also protects employees’ health by regulating rest periods. Specifically, it provides for a minimum rest period of at least 11 hours between shifts. In exceptional cases (e.g. in the health sector or in continuous operations), the rest period can be reduced to as little as eight hours, but it must be guaranteed that the employee chooses the reduced period during the next rest period.

Uneven distribution of working time

Some employers may find it convenient to stagger working hours unevenly, examples being short and long weeks, or different seasonal fluctuations or sales periods where extended working hours are needed, etc. At first glance, it may seem difficult to comply with the provisions of the Labour Code, but the situation is relatively easy to resolve through a so-called working time account.

Tip: We have covered the fund and the working time account in detail in our article.

It is important to keep the average working time for the so-called compensation period.
This may be up to 26 consecutive weeks, but may be extended to 52 weeks by collective agreement.

The working time pool therefore plays a role in determining the appropriate length of the compensatory period in the context of irregular working time. This is the total number of hours worked by the employee over the entire compensation period. It is easy to calculate its total size as the number of weeks multiplied by the employee’s weekly working time.

Reduced working hours

Part-time or shorter working hours – they sound almost the same at first hearing, but they are different concepts.

Reduced working hours are a result of the employer’s internal regulations or a collective agreement. It means for all employees that they work , for example, only 37.5 hours per week at the same wage as before. However, it only applies to private employers; it is not available to public employees.

Shorter working hours

This concept is also known as part-time or part-time. Such a change in working time can be negotiated between the individual employee and the employer. In this variant, the pay is then reduced in proportion to the number of hours worked.

Any employee can apply for achange (reduction) of working time, but there are groups of employees who are at an advantage in this situation. According to the law, the employer is obliged to comply with the request of employees caring for a child under 15 years of age for shorter working hours or other adjustment of the fixed weekly working hours. Only serious operational reasons can prevent him from doing so.

When working hours are reduced in the latter way, thelength of leave is necessarily recalculated. The taking of leave is linked to hours and the employee is entitled to as many hours of leave as he is entitled to in the working time schedule for the period in question.

Holiday is calculated according to the following formula:
amount of time (hours per week) x number of weeks of leave = amount of leave in hours. Thus, for half-time and five weeks of leave, the calculation is: 20 x 5 = 100 hours of leave.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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