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Overtime is defined as hours worked above and beyond normal working hours – i.e. the hours of work defined in the employment contract. Employees' working hours must, under no circumstances, exceed:
- 10 hours per day;
- 48 hours per week.
In other words, the number of overtime hours must be no more than 2 hours per day and 8 hours per week.
Who is concerned
This applies to all private-sector employees (excluding senior management) who are obliged to extend their working hours beyond the normal duration stated in the employment contract.
The following are exempt from the provisions on overtime and the general rules regarding working time:
- family businesses employing only the forebears, descendants, brothers and sisters or similar-degree relatives of the employer;
- river transport companies;
- fairground companies;
- employees who work from home (telecommuters);
- travelling sales representatives, given that they work outside of the business' premises;
- people with an actual management position, and senior management whose physical presence at the business is necessary for operational and vigilance purposes.
The following are or will be governed by other provisions specifically adapted to their situation:
- domestic service staff for individuals;
- staff employed in family agriculture, viticulture and horticulture businesses;
- personnel employed in establishments which treat or house sick, infirm, indigent and insane persons in dispensaries, children's homes, sanatoriums, nursing homes, retirement homes, holiday camps, orphanages and boarding schools;
- mobile workers employed by a passenger or freight transport business engaged in road transport activities covered by EC regulation on driving and rest time, or by the law of 6 May 1974 approving the European agreement concerning the work of crews of vehicles engaged in international road transport (AETR), as subsequently amended.
Employees whose salary is significantly higher than that of the employees covered by the collective agreement or scaled by other means, taking into account the time required to perform the duties, are considered to be senior management if that salary is paid for exercise of genuine leadership or for tasks whose nature includes:
- definite authority;
- independence in the organisation of their work; and
- freedom in the choice of working hours and in particular, the absence of scheduling constraints.
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). In order to do so, they must seek the approval of the staff delegation or, failing that, of the employees affected by the overtime work:
- should the request be approved by the delegation if there is one or, failing that, from the employees concerned, prior notification of the request shall constitute authorisation;
- should the request be denied or approval is uncertain, the Minister for Labour shall make a decision n based on reports prepared by the ITM and the National Employment Agency (ADEM).
How to proceed
Overtime for part-time workers
Overtime must be worked only by mutual consent between the employer and a part-time employee, within the limitations of and under the conditions set out by the employment contract.
Overtime worked by part-time employees must not increase their actual working hours beyond the normal working hours set by law or collective agreement for a full-time employee of the same company.
Overtime worked by part-time employees is paid at the same rate as overtime worked by full-time employees.
Compensation of overtime
Employees (other than senior management) who work overtime must receive compensation in the form of time off. The additional hours worked may be:
- either taken as compensatory paid time off;
- or added to a time savings account, the workings of which may be agreed upon by collective agreement or set by any other agreement between social partners.
If, for reasons inherent to the organisation of the company, it is not possible to compensate overtime with rest periods, or if the employee leaves the company before having been compensated for the extra hours worked, those hours shall be paid at a rate of 140 %. These compensation rates are minimum rates. A collective convention or any other agreement between parties may set higher rates.
Remuneration for overtime hours is tax exempt and partially exempt from social contributions:
- the non-inflated portion of the overtime pay – i.e. the basic salary – is exempt from income tax and social contributions, with the exception of contributions for essential services (health insurance) and long-term care contribution;
- the inflated part – i.e. the additional 40 % paid – is exempt from income tax and social contributions.