The standard working time for employees is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
Any working time exceeding the normal working time is considered as overtime.
If overtime is worked, the maximum working time cannot exceed 10 hours per day, nor 48 hours per week.
In some sectors or professions, and during certain periods of time during the year, the Minister of Labour can authorise a maximum working time of 12 hours per day, provided that the weekly working time does not exceed 40 hours.
In order to benefit from an increase in the normal working time, i.e. overtime, the employer must notify any overtime being worked to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (Inspection du Travail et des Mines - ITM).
Overtime worked may either be paid or taken as compensatory time off by the employee. The payment of overtime hours is exempt from taxes and partially exempt from social security contributions.
Employers are required to send a statement of hours worked to the ITM at the end of each authorised period.
Carry out your procedure:
With an online service
- Modification de la durée du temps de travail
By downloading a form
- Notification / demande / déclaration d'heures supplémentaires ou de travail du dimanche
- Relevé des heures supplémentaires prestées
In the context of notification of overtime, the following are concerned:
- the employer;
- the employees working overtime;
- The staff delegation, which must give its opinion on the request for overtime authorisation.
Employers can only request overtime to be worked within reasonable limits. The systematic use of overtime by employers can be considered as an abuse of rights. In this case, employees are legally allowed to refuse to work overtime.
The employer cannot oblige pregnant or breastfeeding women to work overtime. They may, however, work overtime on a voluntary basis.
The employer is not allowed to have adolescents work overtime, except in special cases (force majeure, to ensure the smooth operation or the security of the business).
For part-time workers, overtime:
- is only possible on a voluntary basis;
- may not exceed the duration of the normal working time of a full-time employee;
- must be governed by the employment contract.
The conditions regarding compensatory time off and payment of overtime do not apply to senior managers (managerial positions with no fixed working hours in return for a significantly higher salary).
As a general rule, overtime is only authorised under the following conditions:
- to allow for special or preliminary/additional work to be carried out (inventories, liquidations, etc.);
- to prevent the loss of perishable products or the results of work;
- in the case of force majeure involving public interest or danger on a national level.
What is overtime?
Limits which must be complied with
Overtime means working extra time in addition to the normal working time but not beyond the maximum allowed working time.
Normal working time and maximum working time are set in accordance with the table below. The maximum limits may not be exceeded under any circumstances.
A collective agreement may, however, set lower or higher limits, with a maximum of 10 hours per day in which case the working week is limited to 48 hours.
Working time for full-time employees
Normal working time
Maximum working time
In principle, the daily working time may only be interrupted by one unpaid rest period.
All workers must have a rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours during each 24-hour period and a rest period of at least 44 consecutive hours during each 7-day period.
Notification of overtime
Mandatory notification by the employer
Before any overtime is worked the employer must:
- consult with the staff delegation or, failing this, the employees involved in working overtime;
- send an overtime notification/application/declaration by fax to the ITM (Inspectorate of Labour and Mines - Inspection du Travail et des Mines) on: 247-96100 or by email at: email@example.com (the original must be kept in case the ITM carries out a subsequent inspection).
The notification, application or declaration can also be submitted online via the specific procedure on the MyGuichet platform.
The form must be reviewed and signed by:
the staff delegation or, failing this, the employees concerned;
the managing director or his deputy.
There are 2 possible scenarios depending on the opinion of the staff delegation or, failing this, the employees concerned:
- should the request for overtime be approved, the prior notification is to be considered as an authorisation;
- should the request be denied, it is for the Minister of Labour and Employment to decide whether or not to authorise the overtime work applied for.
Exemption from notification in the case of an incident, emergency or force majeure
Employers are exempt from having to notify overtime work in the following 2 cases:
- when the extra workload is due to an incident which has just occurred or is about to occur;
- when the overtime work is used to carry out emergency work on machines or equipment, or to prevent a case of force majeure which is likely to have an adverse effect on business operations.
In these cases, the employer simply has to inform the 'working time department' (Service "Durée du travail") of the ITM by telephone (247 - 86124), stating the reasons why overtime was worked.
However, should overtime work be required on more than 3 days per month, the employer must submit a prior notification.
In addition to the prior notification, the employer must:
- send the Minister of Labour and Employment a statement of overtime work at the end of each period for which authorisation was granted;
- record in a special register or specific file:
- all the hours worked which exceeded the normal working time;
- the hours worked on Sundays, public holidays or at night;
- payments for the overtime.
This register or file must be presented during any ITM inspection.
Compensation of overtime with rest periods
In principle, the employer must compensate all employees who work overtime by granting them 1.5 hours of time off per hour of overtime worked.
This time off in lieu may be:
- either taken as compensatory time off;
- or put into a time savings account.
The employer is free to choose between these 2 types of compensation, except during a notice period for which he has granted exemption from work. In this case, the employer may only choose compensatory time off if the employee agrees to it. If the employee does not agree, a financial indemnity must be paid.
Payment of overtime
Calculating the payment of overtime
If it is not possible to compensate overtime with time off (because of business operations, the concerned employee is leaving the company, etc.), the employer must pay every hour of overtime with a minimum of 140 % of the hourly salary. It is not possible to specify in the employment contract that overtime is already included in the monthly salary, unless the employee has the senior manager (cadre supérieur) status.
When an employee works overtime on a public holiday, the employer must add the premiums together. Therefore, he must:
- calculate the salary to be paid for work carried out on a public holiday;
- and apply the premiums due for overtime worked.
The hourly wage is obtained by dividing the monthly remuneration by the standard rate of 173 hours.
The part before premiums of overtime hours (the first 100 %) is exempt from income tax and social contributions, with the exception of:
- contributions for benefits in kind (health insurance – healthcare);
- long-term care contributions.
The premium share (40 % or more) is exempt from income tax and social contributions. This exemption from social contributions applies to both the employee's part and the employer's part of social contributions.
An employee does 8 hours of overtime within one month. The hourly rate is EUR 18.50.
Due to the organisation of work in the business, this employee cannot take time off as compensation. The employer must therefore pay the overtime hours worked:
|Hours before premiums (100 %):||
8 x 18.50 = EUR 148.00
|+ long-term care contributions (1.4 %)||
|+ health insurance contributions (2.8 %)||
|The base is exempt from income tax||
|Total base 100 (base + contributions)||
|Premium (40 % in this case):||
148 x 40 % = EUR 59.20
|The premium is exempt from contributions and tax||
|Total cost (Total base 100 + Total premium)||
154.21 + 59.20 = EUR 213.41
|Of which net total to be paid to the employee||
213.41 – 6.07 = EUR 207.34
For the payment of overtime worked, the employer therefore has to pay EUR 207.34 to the employee with a total cost of EUR 213.41 for the employer.
In the case where a special provision, collective agreement or contract provides for overtime to be paid at a premium rate exceeding 40 %, the excess premium is also exempt from taxes.
Declaration of overtime payments
Employers must declare the payment of overtime hours before premiums (100 %) and the corresponding number of hours separately from the gross salary.
Therefore, the number of overtime hours before premiums does not appear under the 'Gross salary' heading (salaire brut), but under the heading 'Amount of overtime' (montant des heures supplémentaires).
The corresponding number of hours is to be stated under the heading 'Overtime' (heures supplémentaires).
It should be noted that premiums on overtime and overtime compensated by time off in lieu are not to be declared.
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