Working Hours in Germany | Boundless EOR (2023)

Standard hours in Germany

Monday to Saturday are considered the legal working days, but most employees typically work from Monday to Friday.

Workdays usually start between8-9 amand finish between5-6 pm. Lunch breaks are 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in Germany

Working hours should not exceed 8 hours daily. They can be extended to 10 hours daily as long as the weekly hours are not more than 48.

Overtime compensation

Germany does not have regulations on overtime compensation that entitles employees to overtime pay. If there are no other employment contract provisions, overtime has to be compensated with the regular salary.

The employment contract can state that a certain amount of overtime (up to 15% of the regular working time) is compensated with the regular monthly salary. In this case, employers only have to pay overtime above this amount. If the compensation exceeds the contribution ceiling in the pension insurance, the entire overtime may be compensated by the regular monthly salary, which should be indicated on the contract.

Sunday working

Working on Sundays or public holidays is generally prohibited, with a few exceptions. If an employee does work, the employer must compensate the employee with corresponding time off within the following two weeks for working on Sunday or eight weeks for working during a public holiday.

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Break rights

The employer must guarantee an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours between workdays.

Shifts that are between 6-9 hours come with one 30-minute break or two 15-minute breaks. There should be a minimum 45-minute break after the first six hours for shifts longer than nine hours.

The working hours of pregnant women or nursing mothers, as well as employees or trainees under 18 years of age, cannot be extended beyond eight hours.

Night workers

Night work is only allowed for 8 hours per working day. It can be increased to 10 hours, provided the employee's average shift duration in the following month doesn't exceed eight hours. The employer must grant the night worker an appropriate number of paid days off for hours worked during the night time or a suitable supplement to their salary to which they are entitled.

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Employee Time Tracking Obligations

From 2023, employers are obliged to record the beginning and end of an employee's daily working hours.It is no longer sufficient to provide a system merely as an option. The employer must verify that the employee actually records their working hours. While mandatory, the form in which it takes place isn't specified and could happen both digitally or manually. According to the Federal Labor Court that will depend on the circumstances of the individual case, such as the industry, the size of the company, the specific employee group, etc.


Employers may be fined up to€15,000if they are not complying with working time documentation. However, such fines are very rare. German authorities rarely verify compliance.

As for the new ECJ ruling, it remains to be seen whether further and stricter sanctions will be imposed in the future if employers do not introduce a working time recording system.

Concerned about violating your time tracking obligation in Germany?

Our experts make sure you stay on top of all time tracking obligations for your employees.

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What are the official working hours in Germany? ›

The average working hours in Germany is 8 hours per day. This can be extended to up to 10 hours per day for a short period. A rest period of 11 hours is normally prescribed between 2 shifts.

What is the time limit in months for using a EOR in Germany? ›

However, unlike many other countries and jurisdictions, Germany's EOR equivalent comes with a time limitation of 18 months per employee. That's to say, after 18 months, a foreign business can no longer retain a given team member through the labor leasing company.

Does Germany have 4 day work week? ›

Working Hours in Germany

Legal working days in Germany are from Monday to Saturday, but for most workers, a standard work week is from 8 or 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Employees are allowed to work up to 10 hours per day, as long as the total weekly work time is not longer than 48 hours.

How much time do Germans get off work? ›

Holiday Leave in Germany

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 24 days off for a 6-day work week and 20 days for a 5-day one. In reality, most employees receive 25-30 days of leave, even on a 5-day workweek.

Does Germany have a 40 hour work week? ›

An average working week in Germany as a full-time employee is between 36 and 40 hours, with daily working weeks in Germany between seven and eight hours five days a week. Speaking for students, this means that you are allowed to work 2.5 hours per week in addition to your studies.

What is a full day of work in Germany? ›

Full-time work in Germany

The majority of full-time jobs in Germany are seven or eight hours a day, five days a week, with an hour or 30 minutes' break at lunchtime. Some companies may operate a longer working week, but compensate their employees with a higher salary or additional annual holiday leave.

What is the 18 month rule in Germany? ›

Under German employee leasing law an individual employee may generally only be leased to a company for a time period of 18 months (exemptions are applicable in cases where company operations are bound to certain collective bargaining agreements which allow for a longer lease, e.g. in the chemical or automotive industry ...

What happens if you work more than 120 days Germany? ›

If you take up part-time employment that involves more than 120 days per year, you need a work permit. If you are uncertain or have questions, please contact the Immigration Office or the Federal Employment Agency.

How many hours can I work in work permit in Germany? ›

Students from abroad can also work in Germany alongside their studies. Students from EU/EEA countries are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during the semester, just like German students are.

Is Sunday a day off in Germany? ›

The German Working Hours Act therefore prohibits employers from allowing their employees to work on Sundays and general public holidays. Sunday is considered the time on Sunday from 12:00 am to 12:00 am the following day.

Which European country has the longest work week? ›

Highlights. In 2021, the average working week at EU level lasted 36.4 hours. However, this varied across the EU from 32.2 hours in the Netherlands to 40.1 hours in Greece. Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers (42.9 hours) had the longest average working weeks in the EU in 2021.

Which countries work 6 days a week? ›

6 Days Work Week

Countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea have a high number of average work hours per year.

Does Germany have a 5 day work week? ›

Standard hours in Germany

Monday to Saturday are considered the legal working days, but most employees typically work from Monday to Friday. Workdays usually start between 8-9 am and finish between 5-6 pm. Lunch breaks are 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Are Germans overworked? ›

Large numbers of German workers are unhappy with the amount of time they spend on the job. And it's not just because they feel overworked. Millions of Germans wanted to work more in 2018, according to results of a "micro-census" researched by Germany's statistics office and published on Thursday.

Does Germany have good work-life balance? ›

European countries like Germany and Spain also ranked high for work-life balance, due to their lower number of hours worked per year. German employees work the least amount of hours in the world, clocking in 1,349 hours per year. That's compared to the U.S., where employees work 1,801 hours per year.

Can I work 60 hours a week in Germany? ›

A full-time job in Germany usually comprises between 35 and 40 hours each week. You may not work more than 48 hours each week ac- cording to the German Working Hours Act. This may be in- creased to 60 hours each week if the average working hours of 8 hours each workday are not exceeded within a period of six months.

What countries do 4 day work weeks? ›

Here is the list of these countries.
  • Australia. 4 day work week pilot. ...
  • Austria. Short average workweek (36hrs) ...
  • Belgium. Right to work 4 days (compressed) ...
  • Canada. Large 4 day week pilot. ...
  • Denmark. Short average workweek (33hrs) ...
  • Germany. Short average workweek (34hrs) and 4 day week campaigns. ...
  • Iceland. ...
  • Ireland.

Can I work 80 hours a week Germany? ›

Minimum and maximum working time

However, the law stipulates that the working hours on business days (Monday until Saturday) must not exceed an average of eight working hours per day, ie 48 hours per week, over a period of six months or 24 weeks.

What is German work ethic culture? ›

German work ethics mean employees always turn up on time and do a full day's work, they are in turn rewarded with fair pay and good working conditions. Everyone in Germany wants every task, big or small, to be completed to its best, on time, and with high satisfaction for the end consumer.

Does Germany pay weekly? ›

Salaries are paid monthly.

What time is lunch in Germany? ›

Lunch in Germany is called Mittagessen and is usually eaten between 12 pm and 2 pm. Germans traditionally enjoy their main cooked meal for lunch rather than dinner.

How many weeks of vacation do Germans get? ›

Germans have six weeks—that's weeks, not days—of federally mandated vacation time a year. As an American, I can't even fathom what six weeks of vacation time would feel like. American companies provide vacation time as benefit packages, and vacation time is a major factor in negotiating contracts.

Does Germany have 13th month pay? ›

Although German compensation laws do not require a 13th-month bonus, many employers choose to give employees an extra month's wage at the end of the year.

What is not allowed in Germany? ›

Showing the Nazi salute, or any other Nazi symbol, flag, or slogan for that matter, is prohibited. It's not only considered gravely offensive but is outright illegal. Any violation can result in steep fines and up to five years in prison if you're caught.

Can I work in Germany for 90 days? ›

A residence visa is required if you intend to stay in Germany for more than 90 days for work or study or if you intend to move to Germany permanently.

How many sick days are you allowed in Germany? ›

If you're employed in Germany, you're legally entitled to paid sick leave for up to 6 weeks, but only if you can present a sick note ('Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung' in German) from your doctor. Read on to find out what to do when you get sick.

What is the highest paying part time job in Germany? ›

Highest paying part-time jobs in Germany
  • Research scholars.
  • Research assistants/academic assistants.
  • Support staff.
  • Teaching English as an English tutor.
  • Industrial production assistants.

Can US citizens work in Germany? ›

All persons who wish to seek gainful employment in Germany are required to obtain a residence permit in the form of a visa. Where needed, a work permit will be included in the visa issued for this purpose.

What if you work more than 20 hours a week in Germany? ›

Once you work more than 20 hours per week, you are no longer treated as a working student in Germany and instead considered an employee in the first place. To put it in other words: as soon as you work more than 20 hours a week, you'll be obliged to pay social security contributions, such as health insurance.

Can I work 56 hours a week? ›

Legally, your employer can't make you work more than 48 hours a week, including overtime. If they want you to work more than that, your employer has to ask you to opt out of the 48-hour limit. Find out more about the maximum weekly working time limit.

Why is Germany quiet Sunday? ›

This is due to the Ladenschlussgesetz or "Store-closing law," which forbid stores from operating on Sundays. The Ladenschlussgesetz was put into effect in 1956 in former West Germany. The law stayed this way with only minor revisions until 2006.

Why is Christmas so big in Germany? ›

Although it is the Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is also celebrated by Germans who do not profess any faith – by 78% in all. Celebrating Christmas is an important family tradition for most people. Roughly one in four Germans go to church at Christmas.

How long is Christmas break in Germany? ›

Christmas holiday (Weihnachtsferien) - usually two weeks. Winter holiday (Winterferien) - between a few days and two weeks. Easter holiday (Osterferien) - two to three weeks.

Does Germany have a 32 hour work week? ›

Germany is home to one of the shortest average working weeks in Europe. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the average working week is 34.2 hours.

Why does Germany have low working hours? ›

Germans work hard and play hard. Since the working day is focused on delivering efficient productivity, the off hours are truly off hours. Because of the focused atmosphere and formal environment of German businesses, employees don't necessarily hang out together after work.

Do Germans use 24 hour time? ›

In many European countries, like Germany, the 24-hour clock is often used. To get the 24-hour clock, add the number 12 to the hour afternoon. For example, to find out what time corresponds to 3 PM on a 24-hour system, add 12 to 3, and that sums to 15 or (12+3 = 15).

Is lunch included in working hours Germany? ›

As like in most countries, in Germany as well, from Monday to Friday are considered the working days and employees typically work from these days. On Monday to Friday workdays usually start between 8am and 9am and finish between 5pm-6pm. With these times, there is a 30 minute lunch break, and an hour for lunch.

Which country in Europe has 4 day work week? ›

Belgium introduces a four-day workweek for employees who want it. In February, Belgian employees won the right to perform a full workweek in four days instead of the usual five without loss of salary. The bill came into force on November 21, allowing employees to decide whether to work four or five days a week.

Can I work 50 hours a week in Germany? ›

The maximum daily amount of working time must not exceed ten hours. However, the law stipulates that the working hours on business days (Monday until Saturday) must not exceed an average of eight working hours per day, ie 48 hours per week, over a period of six months or 24 weeks.

What is Germans work ethic? ›

Germans have the reputation of being modern, liberal, and cultured, and their working practices are formal and professional. Employees in Germany are also often viewed as working fewer hours but being more productive. Communication between peers generally relates to their work, not out-of-office activities.

Is it stressful to work in Germany? ›

Germany leads the way when it comes to the percentage of employees dealing with high levels of stress. For as many as 71 percent of German workers, stress levels are exceptionally high, compared to two thirds of Belgian workers, 69 percent of British workers and only 56 percent of Dutch workers.

Do Germans work less than Americans? ›

Even so, the average 40-hour-per-week employee in the U.S. is working 400 more hours annually — the equivalent of 10 more weeks — than employees in Germany.

Do Germans work long hours? ›

The average weekly hours worked on the main job in Germany saw no significant changes in 2021 in comparison to the previous year 2020 and remained at around 34.57 hours.

Do Germans have free time? ›

Germans pursued a variety of activities in their free time. In 2021, around 94 percent of the German-speaking population aged 14 years and older said they watched TV. Other popular pastimes included listening to the radio and surfing online.

How do you say 8 45 in German? ›

8:45 Uhr: Es ist Viertel vor neun.


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