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Home Work life guide page Working hours Breaks and rest period

Breaks and rest period

Breaks during the workday

If the employee’s workday is longer than six hours, the employee is entitled to a break of at least half an hour. The break cannot be scheduled at the start or end of the workday. In addition, in situations where the workday is more than 10 hours, the employee has is entitled to a break of up to half an hour after eight hours of work. Employees in shift or period-based work must also be given a break of at least half an hour or the opportunity to eat during work if the workday is longer than six hours. According to the Working Hours Act, motor vehicle drivers must be given a break of at least half an hour for each 5 hours 30 minutes of work, either in one or two instalments.

The law does not mention the length of meal and coffee breaks, as these are agreed in collective agreements or locally at the workplace.

Rest period between shifts (daily rest)

As a rule, employees must be given a daily rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours during the 24 hours following the start of each shift. In period-based work, the rest period may be shortened to 9 hours if this is required for reasons related to the organisation of work. At the employee’s initiative, the daily rest can be shortened to 7 hours if flexible working hours or flexitime are observed. Under certain conditions, the rest period may also be temporarily reduced to 7 or 5 hours.

Weekly rest (time off)

Working hours must be arranged so that the employee receives at least 35 hours of uninterrupted free time, or weekly rest, once a week. If possible, the time off must fall partially on Sunday. Weekly time off may also be arranged to be an average of 35 hours over a maximum period of 14 weeks. However, the time off should be at least 24 hours per week. If an employee works in uninterrupted shift work, the rest period can be arranged to average at 35 hours over a maximum period of 12 weeks, but even in this case the rest period must be at least 24 hours over a seven-day period. 

Education tips on the topic

You can also learn more about the topic in the online training library for working life, which is part of your member benefits. To access the courses, you must sign up to the online training library. If you have already taken advantage of your free membership benefit and started using the service, log in and click directly to the trainings from the links below. If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so in the Webinars and Courses section in the Oma+ service for our members

Working Hours Act – Rest periods