German working hours and overtime pay

46 posts in this topic

I'm afraid I couldn't find my answer by searching, so apologies if my question is hidden somewhere that I haven't seen.

 

My, recently come to Germany, son has got himself a security job where he's been told he'll be working four 12-hour shifts a week. At the moment he's working 72 hours, which I'm told is not legal. It's killing him but he needs the money. However, I have been told that, in Germany, there is no overtime i.e. companies can only give time in lieu. Neither my or his German is good enough to read official web pages. He is happy to have a job but I'm worried that they might be taking advantage of his ignorance of German laws. FYI he has only been there two weeks and has been told that he will be getting a contract.

 

Any advice or link to another pertinent thread will be greatly appreciated.

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Here is the short version answer to this but I'm sure someone will add a more detailed response.

 

You have to be given a written contract within 4 weeks of starting the job. With two weeks worked already, he should get it within 2 more weeks.

Of course, if it was me I would want the signed contract before I started working.

 

You can work 48 hours a week with no OT pay. If you are paid by Tariff, details would depend on the specific Tariff but in no case would it be worse than this.

 

The other hours up to 72 hours would have to be given as time off within 12 weeks of the occurance, but at the time that the company wants to give you off. Or it could be paid out at the company's option.

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60 hours per week is the legal maximum for overtime. Has to be tuned into a 48-hour average over the next six months (not 12 weeks), meaning the one extra (legal) 12-hour shift has to be compensated with an off shift later on. It can not be simply paid out, the time has to be compensated directly by off time so that he works maximum 1248 hours (26x48) total within six months. The second extra shift he's working is straight-out illegal.

 

Overtime can be paid to a maximum of 48 hours per week (if your contract states less regular time, as 90% of all contracts in Germany do...), as that is the legal average maximum you can work.

 

You don't have to be given a written contract within four weeks, you have to be given a written account of the exact conditions of the verbal contract you agreed to within that time. The day you start working you already have a contract, whether written or verbal.

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Here is the short version answer to this but I'm sure someone will add a more detailed response.

 

You have to be given a written contract within 4 weeks of starting the job. With two weeks worked already, he should get it within 2 more weeks.

Of course, if it was me I would want the signed contract before I started working.

 

You can work 48 hours a week with no OT pay. If you are paid by Tariff, details would depend on the specific Tariff but in no case would it be worse than this.

 

The other hours up to 72 hours would have to be given as time off within 12 weeks of the occurance, but at the time that the company wants to give you off. Or it could be paid out at the company's option.

 

 

 

60 hours per week is the legal maximum for overtime. Has to be tuned into a 48-hour average over the next six months (not 12 weeks), meaning the one extra (legal) 12-hour shift has to be compensated with an off shift later on. It can not be simply paid out, the time has to be compensated directly by off time so that he works maximum 1248 hours (26x48) total within six months. The second extra shift he's working is straight-out illegal.

 

Overtime can be paid to a maximum of 48 hours per week (if your contract states less regular time, as 90% of all contracts in Germany do...), as that is the legal average maximum you can work.

 

You don't have to be given a written contract within four weeks, you have to be given a written account of the exact conditions of the verbal contract you agreed to within that time. The day you start working you already have a contract, whether written or verbal.

 

Thanks garyh911 and kato for the prompt replies, which I am now trying to digest.

 

Would you confirm that I have understood correctly and specifically for this situation.

 

If his agreement is for 40 hr/wk and he works 48 then he gets paid for the extra 8 hours but if the agreement is for 48 hr/wk and he works 60, he does not get the 12 extra hours paid but he gets time off.

 

I have also just received the links below for a bit of further light reading.

 

http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/37814/64928/E94DEU01.HTM#div01

 

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/emire/GERMANY/MAXIMUMWORKINGHOURS-DE.htm

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If his agreement is for 40 hr/wk and he works 48 then he gets paid for the extra 8 hours

 

Or he gets time off as compensation. Depends on what the contractual agreement states.

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It is also possible that his employer banks his overtime hours. I've been with 3 employers since I moved to Germany and all of them banked hours. If that is the case, they will not pay him overtime until he reaches that number of hours and then they will pay out whatever he works or let him take time off.

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Thanks again for the help.

 

LeonG I'm being a bit slow. Would you explain 'banking hours'? You say

 

 

until he reaches that number of hours

- do you mean that in the example I gave, if he works one extra hour a week they will pay him for the eight hours after eight weeks?

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if he isn't getting more money - tell him to stop at 40 hours, he doesn't have to legally do more than that. or, is he getting paid for every hour he does, just not at overtime (150% et al) rates? if this is the case, he gets paid for the additional hours - where is the problem?

 

PS: never trust a company who says "time in leu" - get it written down and signed by a VP/officer of the company if they offer it.

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Thanks again for the help.

 

LeonG I'm being a bit slow. Would you explain 'banking hours'? You say

 

- do you mean that in the example I gave, if he works one extra hour a week they will pay him for the eight hours after eight weeks?

 

Banking hours is when instead of paying you the overtime worked, they hold it to pay you later or to let you take time off against it.

 

For example, my employer banks overtime hours up to 100 hrs. That means that a new employee who starts to work overtime initially doesn't get paid for it but every month he gets a statement of his hours that month and how many overtime hours he has banked. Once that number reaches 100, the bookkeeper pays him the excess of 100 although usually keeping it to some round number. Say last month, my overtime account went up to 107 hours so she paid me 10 hours which left my account at 97. I initially did not have a lot of overtime when I started working there so it's taken me over 2 years to fill those 100 hrs. in order to start getting paid.

 

I could also ask to take time off against it if I wanted to but the employer wants people to have some overtime banked in case it gets slow, then they can take time off against it without cutting into their vacation or if it gets really slow, they can take time off against the overtime and take their vacation. Therefore, if I asked to take all my overtime now as time off, I am pretty sure that would not be approved. However, I could probably take about a week off against it because that would still leave me with 60 hrs. in my account.

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if he isn't getting more money - tell him to stop at 40 hours, he doesn't have to legally do more than that. or, is he getting paid for every hour he does, just not at overtime (150% et al) rates? if this is the case, he gets paid for the additional hours - where is the problem?

 

PS: never trust a company who says "time in leu" - get it written down and signed by a VP/officer of the company if they offer it.

 

Yep go to his employer and tell him he doesn't legally have to work those extra hours and find out how quick they find a way to fire him for some reason.

You can maybe get away with this in a company with many employees and a damn good betriebsvereinbarung but then you need the betriebsrat to get behind you.

Unfortunately in this day and age going on your own and telling your firm you don't legally have to do whatever because you read it on an internet forum is not going to work.

 

 

Neither my or his German is good enough to read official web pages. He is happy to have a job but I'm worried that they might be taking advantage of his ignorance of German laws.

 

Very probably what is happening.

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Yep go to his employer and tell him he doesn't legally have to work those extra hours and find out how quick they find a way to fire him for some reason.

 

NEXT! nuff said. get a better job.

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NEXT! nuff said. get a better job.

 

Such a fucking insightful comment.

New in Germany,not good with the language,damn those employers must be queuing up around the block to hire him.

9 times out of 10 it is foreigners or E Germans (who many in the West still treat as foreigners) who get these types of jobs purely because the employers know that there is nothing better for these people.

 

It is also yours and the many others attitude such as that that contributes to the whole situation.

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...New in Germany,not good with the language,damn those employers must be queuing up around the block to hire him....

 

Pretty close to the truth. Recently arrived from the UK with social work experience that is probably not recognised here. He's taken the job because he needs the money. He told his supervisor today that seven straight 12-hour shifts is too much. His supervisor laughed at him and told him that he has done 14 straight shifts. My son insisted that it can't be so, in May, they will give him five shifts with two days break, which never include a weekend. He is now biding his time and looking for another job.

 

Thanks for the help everyone.

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Such a fucking insightful comment.

New in Germany,not good with the language,damn those employers must be queuing up around the block to hire him.

9 times out of 10 it is foreigners or E Germans (who many in the West still treat as foreigners) who get these types of jobs purely because the employers know that there is nothing better for these people.

It is also yours and the many others attitude such as that that contributes to the whole situation.

 

it is people who accept these job conditions that allow employers to continue and maintain such situations where employers are abusing the rights of employees.

stop it at the source.

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Pretty close to the truth. Recently arrived from the UK with social work experience that is probably not recognised here. He's taken the job because he needs the money.

 

did he come to germany for love? or for the hope of finding a better life? might have been better off staying in the UK.

 

unfortunately; with the german system and its anal inner workings - his work experience wont be worth much - even if you have an education, it may not be recognized. thats how the germans work. only hire germans to ensure job security, make up bullshit rules and regulations around social care, health, education that prevents expats from taking jobs from the local folk.. but rule number 1 in germany, if you dont know the language (at least the basics) - you wont survive long enough to learn it. maybe he can find work with a company that understands the needs of expats :) where german wont be a requirement.

 

 

He is now biding his time and looking for another job.

 

best of luck for him! he definitely needs to be treated fairer than this - he's just been taken advantage of.

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it is people who accept these job conditions that allow employers to continue and maintain such situations where employers are abusing the rights of employees.

stop it at the source.

 

Oh so it's the workers fault it is not the employers fault ?Yes silly them they should just take one of the many millions of other jobs floating about.

When someone has no other choice then they will accept anything.

Go back to your ivory tower as you seem to have absolutely no clue how the real world works.

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Oh so it's the workers fault it is not the employers fault?

 

both - if anything; the guy originally referred to by the OP should report the employer to the authorities. thats step #1

 

 

Yes silly them they should just take one of the many millions of other jobs floating about.

When someone has no other choice then they will accept anything.

Go back to your ivory tower as you seem to have absolutely no clue how the real world works.

 

sure; he can work there - but, do the maximum of 48 hours per week (ie: work for only what he gets paid for).. this 12 hours "in leu" stuff? forget it. what are they going to do? fire him for not accepting to work > 48 hours a week? would love to see how the employee union or state regulators see this and come down on the company for violation of protocol. my point is, if nothing is done, it continues.

 

in regards to no jobs? my ass. i heard Burger King and McDonalds are hiring...

 

at least it is a "better than nothing" scenario while he looks for other employment. too many people sit on their high horse saying they are too good to jobs that no-one wants (and, there are always vacancies). when i grew up, i had support myself (left home at 15) and i would pick up shit from the street if it gave me money, i even spent hours in 40C+ heat picking cucumbers for minimum wage. to have experience in a certain field or have an education doesn't guarantee you a job - the reason why so many people sit on their ass and claim benefits is because they can.

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both - if anything; the guy originally referred to by the OP should report the employer to the authorities. thats step #1

Yes agree with you there although that will doubtless leave him unemployed and without money.

 

 

sure; he can work there - but, do the maximum of 48 hours per week (ie: work for only what he gets paid for).. this 12 hours "in leu" stuff? forget it. what are they going to do? fire him for not accepting to work > 48 hours a week? would love to see how the employee union or state regulators see this and come down on the company for violation of protocol. my point is, if nothing is done, it continues.

He doesn't have a contract,he actually seems to being doing what you mention in your other paragraph and getting off his arse and working.

Yes I bet the employee union is strong at that security firm.

 

 

in regards to no jobs? my ass. i heard Burger King and McDonalds are hiring...

You mean BK and McDs where they employee part time staff so skipping on paying benefits for full time staff while expecting those part time staff to work extra hours for time in lieu?

Or do you mean the BK and McDs where staff are expected to make up any shortages from their own wages even though this is illegal so it is classed as a "vorschuss" on their wages?

 

 

at least it is a "better than nothing" scenario while he looks for other employment. too many people sit on their high horse saying they are too good to jobs that no-one wants (and, there are always vacancies).

But you just stated he should get a better job,but now it seems you think it's ok for employers to do this because it is better than nothing?

 

 

when i grew up, i had support myself (left home at 15) and i would pick up shit from the street if it gave me money,

 

 

i even spent hours in 40C+ heat picking cucumbers for minimum wage.

 

Why did you do that?

Surely you should just "get a better job",obviously there were many out there that you could have done but you chose to do that 1 so you could write about it years later?

 

Why did you do that job,why did you let people exploit you?

Why didn't you get a better job?

Perhaps they should not have allowed you to have that job thus cutting the problem off at the source?

 

Now I could understand all your replies if the person was whining about having to work and why shouldn't he be able to claim benefits instead.

However he's not,he is being exploited and his father seeing that he is being exploited asked for help on laws regarding this exploitation,he did not ask how his son can sit on his arse all day and claim benefits did he?

 

Seriously I think this is the 1st time ever that I've heard the blame put on the exploited and not the exploiter.

Fuck me please don't give me your opinions on sweat shops,jesus those workers working for €1 a day really brought it on themselves didn't they.

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come down on the company for violation of protocol.

 

Come down on them? It's not some protocol. It's a crime under the Arbeitszeitgesetz to even let someone work for you beyond the maximum hours. Up to 15,000 Euro fine standard, up to one year jail or up to 1.08 million Euro fine (in theory) if it is regular and/or intentional and/or endangers the health of the employee.

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Why did you do that? Surely you should just "get a better job", obviously there were many out there that you could have done but you chose to do that 1 so you could write about it years later?

Why did you do that job,why did you let people exploit you?

Why didn't you get a better job?

Perhaps they should not have allowed you to have that job thus cutting the problem off at the source?

 

i had to - so i could pay my rent and put myself through education to get a better job - and it was good cash money. it was either that or starve, in fact - i enjoyed the work at times. the guy needs to learn german, get a skill set and then he'll find a job to match (of course, one the germans stop discriminating against foreigners). he came here remember; so - the responsibility on himself to adjust to the german society and integrate with whatever needs applicable is on him.. not on the employers or the government. he doesn't stand a good chance in all honesty - he probably should just consider going back. when i came here, i had a job already. and now i will go enjoy the sunshine and drink a beer and focus on my #firstworldproblems - just like the asshole you make me out to be.

 

 

Fuck me please don't give me your opinions on sweat shops,jesus those workers working for €1 a day really brought it on themselves didn't they.

 

oh yeah.. lets get into that debate - a lot of use that is going to do.. this is germany, not china.

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