Your working hours

Your contract of employment should give details of your working hours. Your working hours are generally regulated by the Working Hours Act but can also be affected by a collective agreement if this exists in your workplace.

The Working Hours Act

The Working Hours Act is what generally regulates our working hours, that is, our regular working hours including any overtime and rest periods that we have such as work pauses, coffee/tea breaks, daily and weekly rest periods. (Information about the Working Hours Act only available in Swedish)

The Working Hours Act includes, for example, rules on how many hours of daily rest you should have and how much overtime you are allowed to work. According to the Working Hours Act, a regular working week should not exceed 40 hours.

According to the Working Hours Act, you have a right to get your working schedule from your employer two weeks in advance and your employer must keep a record of any on-call time, overtime or additional hours that you work. Your total working hours (regular hours plus any overtime) should not exceed an average of 48 hours a week during a period of four months.

You should have a nightly rest period of minimum 11 hours per day (uninterrupted rest) and a weekly rest period of no less than 36 consecutive hours, not including time on standby. The Working Hours Act also gives you the right  to take breaks from your work. You should not work for more than 5 consecutive hours without a break.

Payment for work outside of regular working hours

It is worth noting that the Working Hours Act does not regulate your right to extra pay. Rules on extra pay for overtime, call-on or standby time are usually part of collective agreements. If your workplace does not have a collective agreement, you must agree with your employer about payment for any work that you do outside of your regular working hours.

Working hours under a collective agreement

The collective agreement at your work will state what is considered regular working hours and overtime in your industry and also, what payment to expect for such work. According to most collective agreements, a regular working week for a civil servant is 40 hours but it is not unusual for corporate agreements to stipulate a shorter working week than that.

The collective agreement at your work will also state how much you should get paid for overtime work.

Working hours without a collective agreement

If your workplace does not have a collective agreement, it is important, before signing a contract of employment, that you agree with your employer at what times your normal working day should begin and finish.

Also, before working overtime in a workplace that does not have a collective agreement, it is important that you and your employer agree on how much you should get paid for overtime and any unsocial working hours.

Overtime means working outside of your regular working hours

The Working Hours Act includes rules on working overtime. And, if there is a collective agreement in place at your work then other rules will apply too.

Overtime work should either be requested in advance or approved afterwards by your employer. Overtime work must not be scheduled.

There must be a special reason for anyone to be asked to work overtime. Something unexpected, requiring extra staff or work efforts, must have happened.

Your employer is not required to give advance notice of overtime work. In fact, overtime work can be requested with only one hour’s notice.

When it comes to working evenings and weekends, your employer could even ask you to work overtime on the very same day it is needed - should the organisation/company be in urgent need for extra help.

Rules on overtime when there is no collective agreement

If your workplace does not have a collective agreement, the rules and regulations of the Working Hours Act apply.

This means a maximum of 200 hours of overtime in one year and maximum 50 hours of overtime in one month. The employer must then keep a record of all overtime work with clear details of what is call-on time, overtime and additional hours.

Your total working hours (regular hours plus overtime) should not exceed an average of 48 hours a week during a period of four months. You should have a nightly rest period of minimum 11 hours per day (uninterrupted rest) and a weekly rest period of no less than 36 consecutive hours, not including time on standby.

The Working Hours Act also gives you the right to take breaks from your work. You should not work for more than 5 consecutive hours without a break.

Rules on overtime when there is a collective agreement

Under most collective agreements, employers cannot ask employees to work more than 150 hours of overtime in one calendar year.

However, employees may, in special circumstances, work an additional 150 hours of overtime in one calendar. Such overtime must be approved by the relevant trade union. Out of the total overtime hours allowed, the employer may not request more than 48 hours of overtime over a period of four weeks or 50 hours of overtime in one calendar month.

Always check through the collective agreement that applies to you and your workplace. Collective agreements may vary slightly, especially when it comes to limitation periods which are sometimes negotiated and included in local agreements. Contact the Unionen Club at your work to find out more about this.

Influence and develop - and keep a check on things

Is working hours and overtime something that you think can be handled better at your work? Talk to your manager or supervisor if you are unhappy with your working hours. It is the duty of your manager or supervisor to look into the matter and to rectify or prevent any potential health risks. Refer to the Work Environment Act or the Working Hours Act. Or contact your work environment representative (Health & Safety Officer) or Unionen if you need more help and support

Please note that the information and advice we give you is primarily in Swedish. We can usually give you the same information and advice in English but this does depend on staff availability. Unfortunately, we cannot promise any other languages but please contact us and we will do our best to assist you.

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