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Maximum working hours per week - Irish Job News - News on Jobs for Ireland


Maximum working hours per week

27 April 2010 | Ireland | 5 Responses by paul savage.

How many hours a week are you allowed to work ? And how many hours does your boss ask you to work. Is s/he asking you to do something you shouldn’t  do ? or something that could possibly be illegal ?  There are alot of myths about how many hours your employer is allowed to ask you to work every week. And what about whether you should be paid extra for working on Sundays or overtime ? All of these things are covered in this article.

Note: Working more that legal limit a day or week could have potential issues with insurance should you perhaps have an accident in work, so pay attention !

The average working week is not allowed to exceed 48 hours of “working time” a week. This might sound strange, but breaks are not counted in this 48 hours of work. This is what has been outlined in Organisation and Working Time Act 1997 . If your employer is asking you to work longer hours than this, then you need to refer them to this act. And if necessary take further steps.

One common mistake is that people calculate this 48 in either a 7 day period, or if they sometimes work that many hours. In the above mentioned act it outlines that this average should be calculated in 3 different ways.

  1. The average should be taken over 4 months for most business areas.
  2. The average should be taken over 6 months for security personal, prison officers, workers at airports or docks, staff in hospitals, seasonal workers who have peaks (i.e. Christmas production at a factory) and farmers and other agricultural workers.
  3. The average can be taken over 12 months when there has been a special agreement approved by Labour Courts. This has to be a consensual agreement between employers and employees.

Your employer should also keep detailed records of your working hours should you need to calculate your average hours.

Exceptions to the Rule

Of course with every Irish employment rule there seems to be an exception, and this one is no different. If you are self-employed or you work for the government (Gardaí and defense forces) the above rule does not apply. This rule also does not apply to interning or trainee doctors or employees at sea (fisheries, ferry and cruise-lines workers). If you are a trainee doctor you should read this in the Irish Statute Book.

Rules for Sunday work

If you are scheduled to work on Sundays, you need to have an agreement with your employer about extra renumeration for your work. If there is no allowance for working on a Sunday, then there needs to one of the following as a type of compensation :

  • a type of reasonable compensation.
  • a reasonable compensation in time off in lieu.

In both cases it is mentioned “reasonable” and this is something that needs to be clarified between employee and employer.

Rules for working overtime

The definition of overtime is stated to be work that is performed outside your normal working hours. Employers are not required to pay you extra for overtime, but they must at least maintain your current wage level.

Talk to a professional

The world of employment law can be a mine field, and there are many exceptions to these rules and rules for specific industries (and for certain areas in Ireland. See this decision from the Labour Court which covers hairdressers in Cork). A Registered Employment Agreements (REA’s) might exist for your industry which would cover you. If you have a serious question about your working hours and conditions of employment you should contact the NERA (National Employments Rights Authority) or an employment lawyer.

5 Responses

  1. Grainne said on 22 May 2010 at 12:23 am

    I would like to know some information. My friend works as a driver delivering shopping. it is expected that he gets all the mixed up deliveries in order into his van, the first slot goes out at 10.30 a.m. but to get it ready it the staff member must be there at 9.30. the slot start at 10.30-12.00 a.m,11.00 a.m. to 1.00.p.m. and 12.00a.m. to 2.00 p.m. i know these slots are ridiculous. The next set start at 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. then 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. -4.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. then 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. -7.00 – 9.00 p.m. then 8.oo to 10.00 p.m. these slot are impossible, we get no break because we couldn’t possible fit it in and we work 48 hours most days without a cup of tea or a 5 minute sit down, is this acceptable with out proper breaks and over time. i would appreciate if you could get back to me as soon as possible. Grainne, Dublin Ireland.

  2. Grainne said on 22 May 2010 at 12:26 am

    My comment is above . . . . help

  3. mairead shannon said on 5 Jul 2010 at 9:00 am

    our local store is aylesbury tallaght and i was shocked to see our local lad who has worked part time on the butchers counter for the last three years has had his hours cut and yet they have employed a new girl in our present climate this is not accetable this young lad is at college and a nicer lad they would not get can this be right.

  4. Ed Fogarty said on 6 Feb 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I WORK IN SECURITY FOR 1O.01 EURO AN HOUR I GET AN AVERAGE OF 39 HRS A WEEK. NOW IM 46 HAVE TWO KIDS AND A MORGAGE. I WANT TO EARN MORE MONEY BUT I THINK BECAUSE OF THIS 48 HR THING IM NOT ABLE TO EARN. IWOULD DO 60 70 HRS A WEEK TO EARN A DECENT WAGE. I WANT TO KNOW IF I APPROACH MY EMPLOYER AND ASK FOR A NEW CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT WHERE I WISH TO BE EXEMPT FROM THE 48 RULE. THEN I COULD EARN A GOOD WAGE. WOULD THIS BE POSSIBLE DO U THINK.

  5. shelly green said on 11 Apr 2012 at 11:22 am

    Hi , I have been employed on a part time contract saterday & sunday on a 8hour contract 4 each day , for 5 years now over the past year my boss asked me to swap with another employee for 2 hours on weds and two on friday rather than my saterday i agreed to swap once my contract was not changed permantly.That was fine but now i have been offered a full time job with 40 hours per week , my hr manager in the part time job says i cant do both its one or the other . as im not allowed work 7 days a week even though if i did my hours only add up to 49 per week HELP ME OUT BEFORE I SIGN A RELIEF CONTRACT WITH THEM

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