Employee working time - basic issues


Working time is the time during which the employee is at the disposal of the employer in the workplace or other place designated for work. Consequently, working time is not only the time an employee actually works, but also the time when he is ready to perform work.

Billing period

The settlement period is a period of time expressed in weeks or months for which tasks are planned for employees and after which the settlement of each employed person takes place.

The actual length of the settlement period results from the provisions of the collective labor agreement, work regulations or announcement (in the case of an employer who is not covered by a collective agreement or is not required to establish work regulations).

A typical billing period does not exceed 4 months. Its maximum length depends on the working time system used. It is permissible to introduce a 6-month settlement period if the work concerns agriculture, breeding and property protection. The annual (12-month) settlement period can be used in the case of specific organizational and technical working conditions that affect the course of work (e.g. construction, fishing).

Pursuant to the provisions of the Labor Code, the working week is 7 consecutive calendar days from the beginning of the settlement period. Therefore, billing should not be based on calendar weeks. On the other hand, a day is 24 hours, starting from the hour when the employee starts working in accordance with the working time schedule applicable to him.

Working time standard

The standard of working time is the maximum number of hours that an employee may work in one day or in a working week. The working time may not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours in an average five-day working week in the adopted settlement period.

Weekly working time, including overtime, may not exceed 48 hours in the adopted settlement period.

Working hours

The working time is the number of hours that the employee is required to work in the settlement period. The working time is calculated as:

  • by multiplying 40 hours by the number of weeks in the billing period,
  • adding to the obtained number of hours the product of 8 hours and the number of days remaining until the end of the billing period, falling from Monday to Friday,
  • each holiday falling on a day other than Sunday reduces the working time by 8 hours.

The working time standard specifies the upper limit of working time. The working time may be shorter than the standard working time (e.g. full-time employment), but it cannot be longer.

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Working time systems

The working time system is a set of rules regulating the working time in a given workplace. The application of a specific working time system should result from a collective labor agreement, work regulations or a notice.

Examples of working time systems:

  1. Basic: The working time may not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours in an average five-day working week in the adopted settlement period not exceeding 4 months.

  1. Equivalent: It is acceptable when justified by the nature of the work or its organization. In an equivalent working time system, it is possible to deviate from the eighth working day while maintaining the average weekly standard. The extended daily working time is offset by shorter working hours on other working days or by setting days off. The settlement period with the equivalent working time is, as a rule, 1 month (in certain cases it is possible to extend it to 3 or 4 months).

  1. Task-based working time system: It is permissible when it is justified by the type of work, organization or place. Working time depends on the tasks assigned by the employer. Their execution is important, not the time devoted by the employee. The employer should distribute the tasks in such a way that the employee is able to perform them during normal working hours. The application of task working time does not release the employer from the obligation to pay remuneration for overtime work, if the assignment of tasks prevented the employee from performing them during normal working hours.

Time records

The employer is required to keep a timesheet for each employee. For employees who:

  • are covered by the task-based working time system,
  • manage the workplace on behalf of the employer,
  • receive a lump sum for overtime or night work,

the employer is not obliged to keep records of working hours. However, for these employees it is necessary to record, among others:

  • work on Sundays and public holidays,
  • work at night,
  • work on non-working days, resulting from the working time schedule in an average five-day working week,
  • the period of leave use,
  • the period of stay on sick leave.

Working time and employee rest

The employee's right to uninterrupted rest should be taken into account when establishing a working time schedule. The employee is entitled to at least 11 hours of uninterrupted rest every day and every week to at least 35 hours of uninterrupted rest, including at least 11 hours of uninterrupted daily rest.

The provisions on the right to daily rest do not apply to employees managing the workplace on behalf of the employer and cases of the need to conduct a rescue operation in order to protect human life or health, protect property or the environment, or remove a failure.

If the employee's daily working time is at least 6 hours, the employee has the right to a break at work of at least 15 minutes, which is included in the working time.