Overtime in a nutshell with practical examples


The HR and payroll issue related to overtime work and remuneration for it is classified as one of the most difficult to master. The multitude of cases and accompanying rules can overwhelm even an experienced person. In the article Overtime in a nutshell, we explain the most important issues related to the settlement of overtime and explain them using examples.

Overtime - introduction

In the codex vocabulary, we do not find the term "overtime" - it is used by practitioners. Overtime in the official language is "overtime", but due to the standards adopted in the article, we will use colloquial vocabulary.

The definition of overtime is given in the Labor Code.

Art. 151 of the Labor Code

§ 1. Work performed in excess of the working time standards applicable to the employee, as well as work performed in excess of the extended daily working time, resulting from the applicable system and schedule of working time, constitute overtime work. [...]

In order to adapt to the nature of overtime, it is worth defining that in an average five-day working week, in the adopted settlement period, the working time standards specified in the Labor Code are as follows:

  • 8 hours a day (daily norm);
  • 40 hours a week on average (weekly standard).

What, however, is the reference period and how much can it be? The settlement period is a period of time expressed in weeks or months for which it is planned and after which the work of each employee is settled. In accordance with generally accepted standards, the accounting period may be: from one to 4 months.

However, if there are justified circumstances, then the enterprise may apply to the National Labor Inspectorate with a request to extend the accounting period to 12 months.

The employee is not entitled to work overtime on his own initiative, awaiting payment for it. Overtime work is allowed only in specific cases, i.e .:

  • if it is necessary to conduct a rescue operation in order to protect human life or health, property or the environment, or to remove a failure;
  • in case of special needs of the employer.

There is no statutory definition of what falls under the term "special needs of the employer". However, it should be assumed that they should not include standard work planned in advance, the performance of which at a later date will not affect the continuity of the enterprise's work.

Overtime limit

The basic question that arises when discussing the topic of overtime is how much the employee can actually earn. The table below presents the list of limits for overtime work.


Maximum total number of working hours



13 hours

An employee may work a maximum of 13 hours per day, including overtime. This limit results from the obligation to provide the employee with an 11-hour rest per day.

Employee hired:

  • in the basic working time (8h / 1 day) it may have max. 5 overtime hours;

  • in the equivalent working time (when working 12h / 1 day) it may have max. 1 overtime.


48 hours

Pursuant to Art. 131 of the Labor Code: "Weekly working time, including overtime, may not exceed an average of 48 hours in the adopted settlement period".


150 ** hours

Art. 151 of the Labor Code expressly states that the number of overtime hours for a given employee may not exceed 150 hours in a calendar year.

* This restriction does not apply to employees managing the workplace on behalf of the employer.

** It is possible to increase the amount of the overtime limit specified in the code. For this purpose, an appropriate provision should be made in the work regulations or collective agreement. In the case of employees working in the workplace, where there is no obligation to create work regulations and where there is no collective agreement, a relevant provision increasing the limit of overtime work should be included in the employment contract. The maximum, non-exceedable limit of annual overtime may be as high as 416.

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Overtime pay

Pursuant to the provisions of Art. 151 of the Labor Code, for overtime work, an employee is entitled to a basic salary, but also an appropriate bonus.

Amount of the allowance for overtime work

Circumstances of overtime


Overtime worked out:

  • in the night;

  • on Sundays and public holidays that are not working days for the employee, in accordance with the planned work schedule;

  • for work on a day off received for work on a Sunday or public holiday.

For exceeding the average five-day standard of working time, i.e. for work on Saturday or Sunday, in a situation where the employer and employee have not agreed on the use of free time in exchange for overtime work. *


Overtime worked on any other day / time than the above-mentioned - usually exceeding the daily standard of working time not exceeding night hours.

* As a rule, if an employee was obliged to work on a day off due to an average five-day working week, he should first receive a day off within a given settlement period. If the employee will not realistically be able to take the day off, the employer is obliged to pay him the remuneration with a bonus of 100%.

Giving a day off for working overtime

As already explained, in a situation where the employee has worked on a day off due to an average five-day working week, this time should be compensated by giving up another day off within the same reference period. The extent to which he has to take these overtime hours depends on additional factors.

Applicant for the collection of overtime in the form of free time

The amount of time off granted for overtime



For 8 hours of work on Saturday, the employee receives 8 hours of free time on a different date, within a given settlement period.



For 8 hours of work on Saturday, the employee receives 8 and an additional 4 hours of free time within a given settlement period.

The employer has an influence on the date of collecting overtime by the employee, but the best solution is to agree on this date by agreement of the parties.

The article "Overtime in a nutshell" discusses the basic topics related to the determination and settlement of overtime hours.