- The daily rest time must be at least 11 hours in any 24-hour period.
- The weekly rest time must be 48 consecutive hours or, in the case of summarised working time, 36 consecutive hours.
- After working for six hours, the employee has the right to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Daily rest time
The employee must be given 11 consecutive hours of rest during the 24-hour period. This means that an employee can work a maximum of 13 hours with overtime in one shift.
An employee may work a shift of up to 24 hours if the following conditions are met at the same time:
- these are the cases referred to in Article 17 (3) and (4) of Directive 2003/88 (e.g. port and airport work, agriculture and tourism, industries where work cannot be interrupted for technical reasons);
- a corresponding agreement has been concluded between the employer and the employees’ representative in a collective agreement;
- the risk assessment of the working environment prepared by the employer shows that such work does not endanger the health and safety of the employee.
An employer shall give an employee who works more than 13 hours over a 24-hour period additional time off immediately after the end of the working day, equal to the number of hours by which the 13 working hours were exceeded. An agreement by which work exceeding 13 hours is compensated for in money is void. For example, if an employee's shift work was 16 hours, they must then be given 14 hours of rest (11 hours of daily rest + 3 hours for exceeding the 13-hour limit).
By way of exception, the restriction on daily rest time does not apply to healthcare professionals and welfare workers, provided that longer working hours do not cause harm to their health.
Breaks during the working day
The employee must be given a rest break during the working day for meals and rest. After working for six hours, the employee has the right to rest for at least 30 minutes, but the employer may give the employee a 30-minute break earlier. Minor employees must be given a 30-minute break after working at least 4.5 hours.
This break is within the working day and is generally not included in working time. The employee can use this break at their own discretion and, if necessary, leave the workplace. Breaks during the working day are not considered working time, unless due to the nature of the work it is impossible to give a break and the employer gives an employee the opportunity to rest and dine during working time. For example, in situations where the employee is unable to arrange the break at their own discretion, the break is included in working time. In this case, the employee must be able to rest and dine during working hours.
If the lunch break is included in the working time, it means that the length of the working day with the lunch break is eight hours (working time from 8am to 4pm). In this case, remuneration is paid for eight hours.
If the employer does not include the break within the working day in the working time, the employee’s work shift is 8.5 hours (working time from 8am to 4.30pm) and the employee is provided with a 30-minute lunch break. In this case, the employee’s working time is eight hours for which remuneration is paid and 30 minutes is rest time for which no remuneration is paid.
Weekly rest time
The employee must rest for at least 48 consecutive hours a week. In the case of summarised working time, the employee must be able to rest for at least 36 consecutive hours a week. Any other agreements are void.
The law does not stipulate the day from which the seven-day period will be counted. The employer may consider the beginning of the first shift in the seven-day period as the beginning of the reference period. It is important that the employee is guaranteed 48 or 36 consecutive hours of rest during any seven-day period. Giving of 48 or 36 consecutive hours of rest during weekly rest period in a seven-day period can be checked with time accuracy from the end of the previous weekly rest period..
The law requires that the weekly rest period be Saturday and Sunday, but the employee and the employer may agree otherwise. In the case of summarised working time, the period of weekly rest is regulated by the schedule and may fall on different days of the week, since the employee can work on Saturdays and Sundays.
Daily rest time is not part of weekly rest time and must precede it. This means that, at least once in a seven-day period, employees must be given daily rest time and weekly rest time consecutively: 11 hours + 36 or 48 hours = a total of 47 or 59 hours.
If the employee’s shift was 24 hours long, they must be given 22 hours of consecutive rest time (11 hours of daily rest time + 11 hours for exceeding the 13-hour limit) and the employee may return to work only after this consecutive rest time.
For example: if the employee’s 24-hour shift ends on Friday evening at 20:00, the employee can return to work after their daily rest time of 11 + 11 = 22 hours on Saturday evening at 18:00 and, in the case of weekly rest time, the employee can return to work after 11 + 11 + 36 = 58 hours on Monday morning at 06:00.
Example: May 2023
Additional breaks for nursing a child
In addition to the general break for rest and meals at work, a mother raising a child up to one and a half years of age is allowed an additional break to nurse the child (minimum 30 minutes per child). The mother is entitled to a break at least every three hours. The duration of the nursing break for two or more children who are less than one and a half years old must be at least one hour.
How the mother wishes to use these breaks is agreed in more detail with the employer. Breaks for nursing a child are counted as working time and the average wage for them is maintained.
Limit on time for performing work
The Employment Contracts Act provides for working time restrictions to protect an employee’s health, which are daily, weekly and general working time restrictions. The working time limit may not be exceeded even if the employee agrees to work more hours.
An employee may not work more than 48 hours per week on average over a calculation period of:
- four months or
- 12 months by collective agreement for health, welfare, agriculture and tourism workers.
This is a general working time limit, which must be followed when working on the basis of both standard and summarised working time.
As an exception, it is possible to extend the calculation period of working time on the basis of a collective agreement for healthcare, welfare, agricultural and tourism workers up to 12 months. During a longer calculation period in the abovementioned sectors, the employee has the opportunity to work more hours during one part of the calculation period at the expense of other parts.
Working time can be up to 52 hours only by (verifiable) agreement of the parties, if the agreement is not unreasonably harmful to the employee and separate records are kept. The employee has the right to cancel the agreement at any time by giving two weeks’ notice.
The maximum number of working hours that the employee may work during the calculation period is calculated as follows:
Example: An employee works full time, on the basis of summarised working time. The length of the calculation period is one month. In January 2021, the employee worked five days a week, 12 hours a day, i.e. a total of 240 hours for the month (20*12=240). The employee worked an average of 54.2 hours per seven-day period (240/31*7=54.2). The time limit for working has been violated, as it exceeds 48 hours. The employee could have worked a maximum of 212.6 hours (31/7*48=212.6).
Specification for the working and rest time of a crew member
Pursuant to the Seafarers’ Employment Act, the four-month summarised working time calculation period applied to a crew member may be extended for up to six months and by collective agreement for up to 12 months.
The payment of additional remuneration for night work provided by the Employment Contracts Act shall not be applied to crew members.
An agreement by which a crew member is left with less than ten hours of rest time over a period of 24 hours is void.
Over a period of 24 hours the rest time may be divided into two periods, provided the duration of one period is at least six consecutive hours. The time between two consecutive rest times may not exceed 14 hours.
An exception to the restriction specified in the abovementioned subsection may be made for a watchkeeper in order to keep the ship in operation, provided the daily rest time is not divided within a 24-hour period into more than three periods, one of which shall be at least six consecutive hours and the rest of the periods shall be at least one hour. The time between two consecutive rest times may not exceed 14 hours. The exception to the daily rest time specified in this subsection may only be applied within two 24-hour periods per seven days.
An exception to the restriction may be made by a collective agreement, provided working will not harm the health or safety of the employee and the crew member is left with at least 77 hours of rest time over a period of seven days.
An agreement by which a watchkeeper is left with less than 77 hours of rest time over a period of seven days is void.
An exception to the restriction may be made for a watchkeeper in order to keep the ship in operation, provided the rest time within a period of seven days is at least 70 hours; whereas such an exception is only permitted within two consecutive weeks. The operator may only apply such an exception to the restriction on rest time after a period of time equal to two periods of application of the exception has passed.
In organising watchkeeping, the operator shall apply measures for preventing overfatigue and unjustified overtime work.
The master of a ship may require a crew member to work during the crew member’s rest time if it is necessary for ensuring the safety of the ship, the persons on board the ship or the ship’s cargo or for helping persons or ships in distress at sea (this work is not considered overtime). Working may be required until the normal situation has been restored.
When the normal situation has been restored, the master of the ship shall ensure at the first opportunity for the crew member who worked during their rest time additional rest time to an extent equal to the time worked.
The working and rest time of vehicle drivers
The requirements for vehicle drivers’ working and rest time apply to road transport, in case it deals with:
- vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum authorised mass, including any trailer or semi-trailer, of more than 3.5 tonnes, or
- passenger vehicles constructed or permanently adapted for the carriage of more than nine persons, including the driver, and intended for that purpose.
Consecutive driving time
After a driving period of 4.5 hours, the driver must take an uninterrupted break of at least 45 minutes, unless they begin a rest period. This break may be replaced by a break of at least 15 minutes, followed by a break of at least 30 minutes.
Daily driving time
The driver’s daily driving time must not exceed nine hours. This time may be extended to ten hours up to a maximum of twice per week.
Weekly driving time
The weekly driving time must not exceed 56 hours.
Two-week driving time
The total driving time every two weeks may not exceed 90 hours.
Daily rest time
Within 24 hours of the end of the previous daily or weekly rest period, the driver must have taken a new daily rest period of at least 11 hours.
However, this regular daily rest period may be divided into two parts, the first covering an uninterrupted period of at least three hours and the second an uninterrupted period of at least nine hours.
A driver may take a maximum of three reduced daily rest periods of at least nine hours between two weekly rest periods.
In the case of a vehicle with several drivers, the driver must take a new daily rest period of at least nine hours within 30 hours of the daily or weekly rest period.
By way of exception, a driver accompanying a vehicle transported by ferry or train may interrupt their regular daily rest period not more than twice with other activities, the total duration of which may not exceed one hour. During this regular daily rest period, the driver must have access to a sleeping or lying area.
During any two consecutive weeks a driver must take at least the following rest periods:
- two regular weekly rest periods, or
- one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period (at least 24 hours). In doing so, the reduced rest period shall be compensated by an equivalent rest period to be taken in full before the end of the third week following the week in question.
The weekly rest period must begin no later than the end of the six 24-hour periods following the end of the previous weekly rest period.
By way of derogation, a driver engaged in the international carriage of goods may take two reduced weekly rest periods in succession outside the Member State of establishment, provided that the driver takes at least four weekly rest periods in any four consecutive weeks, of which at least two are regular weekly rest periods. A driver shall be regarded as a driver engaged in the international carriage of goods provided that the driver begins two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods outside the Member State in which the employer is established and in the driver’s country of residence.
Where a driver engaged in international carriage of goods has taken two reduced weekly rest periods in succession, the next weekly rest period shall be preceded by a rest period taken to compensate for those two reduced weekly rest periods.
The compensatory rest resulting from the reduction of the weekly rest periods must be taken in conjunction with a second rest period of at least nine hours.
Regular weekly rest periods and weekly rest periods of more than 45 hours taken as compensation for a previous reduced weekly rest period may not be taken in a vehicle. They must be spent in suitable, gender-sensitive accommodation with appropriate sleeping and sanitary facilities.
All accommodation costs outside the vehicle are covered by the employer.
A weekly rest period which begins in one week and ends in another may be added to the rest period for either week, but not for both weeks.
The carrier shall organise the work of drivers in such a way that every four consecutive weeks the driver can, at the start of the weekly rest period, return to their normal base at the employer’s place of business, to the employer’s Member State of residence or the driver’s personal place of residence, in order to take at least one regular weekly rest period or a weekly rest period of more than 45 hours taken as compensation for a reduced weekly rest period.
However, if the driver has taken two reduced weekly rest periods in a row, the carrier shall organise the driver’s work in such a way that the driver can return before the start of the regular weekly rest period of more than 45 hours as compensation.
The operator shall document how they fulfil this obligation and keep the documents at their premises for inspection at the request of the inspection bodies.
By way of derogation, a driver engaged in the individual occasional international carriage of passengers may postpone the weekly rest period for up to 12 consecutive 24-hour periods from the previous regular weekly rest period, provided that:
- the service lasts for at least 24 consecutive hours in a Member State or in a third country to which this regulation applies which is not the country where the carriage began;
- after using the derogation, the bus driver shall take:
- two regular weekly rest periods, or
- one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours. In doing so, the reduced rest period shall be compensated by an equivalent uninterrupted rest period to be taken before the end of the third week following the end of the derogation period;
- from 1 January 2014, if the vehicle is equipped with a digital or intelligent tachograph, and
- from 1 January 2014, if the vehicle has more than one driver for journeys between 10pm and 6am, or the driving time referred to in Article 7 is reduced to three hours.
A driver accompanying a vehicle transported by ferry or train who has a regular daily rest period or a reduced weekly rest period may be interrupted not more than twice by other work, the total duration of which may not exceed one hour. During this regular daily rest period or the reduced weekly rest period, the driver must have access to a sleeping cabin or compartment or to a sleeping or lying area.
In the case of regular weekly rest periods, this derogation shall apply to ferry or train journeys only if:
- the trip is scheduled to last at least eight hours; and
- the driver has access to a sleeping cabin or compartment on the ferry or train.
The time taken by a driver to start or return to a vehicle covered by Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council when the vehicle is not in the driver’s home or at the driver’s normal base at the employer’s place of work shall not be considered as rest or breaks, except if the driver is on board a ship or train and has access to a sleeping cabin or compartment or sleeping or lying area.
Time spent by a driver driving a vehicle falling outside the scope of Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council to or from a vehicle falling within the scope of this regulation outside the driver’s home or the driver’s usual base at the employer’s place of work shall be considered as other work.
Provided that road safety is not thereby endangered, the driver may derogate from the provisions of Articles 6 to 9 of Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of occupants, the vehicle or its load. The driver must manually indicate the nature and cause of the deviation on the record sheet or printout of the tachograph or in their work schedule at the latest when reaching the appropriate stopping place.
Provided that road safety is not thereby endangered, the driver may, in exceptional circumstances, exceed the daily or weekly driving time by up to one hour in order to reach the employer’s place of business or the driver’s place of residence for the weekly rest period.
Under the same conditions, a driver may exceed the daily and weekly driving time by up to two hours to reach the employer’s place of business or the driver's place of residence for a regular weekly rest period, provided that a 30-minute uninterrupted break is taken immediately before the additional driving time.
The driver must manually indicate the nature and cause of the deviation on the record sheet or printout of the tachograph or in their work schedule at the latest when reaching the appropriate stopping place.
Any overrun shall be compensated by an equivalent rest period to be taken in full, together with any rest period, before the end of the third week following the week in question.
If international or national derogations for the non-use of tachographs apply, the interpretation of the daily and weekly rest time must be based on the judgment of the European Court of Justice dated 2 March 2023.
- Vehicles used for the carriage of passengers for regular services where the route covered by the service in question does not exceed 50 km.
- Vehicles with a maximum authorised speed not exceeding 40 km per hour.
- Vehicles owned or hired without a driver by the armed services, civil defence services, fire services, and forces responsible for maintaining public order when the carriage is undertaken as a consequence of the tasks assigned to these services and is under their control.
- Vehicles, including vehicles used in the non-commercial transport of humanitarian aid, used in emergencies or rescue operations.
- Specialised vehicles used for medical purposes.
- Specialised breakdown vehicles operating within a 100 km radius of their base.
- Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes, and new or rebuilt vehicles which have not yet been put into service.
- Vehicles or combinations of vehicles used for the non-commercial transport of goods, the permissible gross weight of which does not exceed 7.5 tonnes.
- Commercial vehicles, which have a historic status according to the legislation of the Member State in which they are being driven, and which are used for the non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods.
- Vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes and used for carrying materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of the driver’s work within a 100 km radius from the base of the undertaking, on the condition that driving the vehicle does not constitute the driver’s main activity and transport is not carried out for hire or reward.
- Vehicles with a maximum permissible mass, including any trailer, or semi-trailer exceeding 2.5 tonnes but not exceeding 3.5 tonnes that are used for the transport of goods, where the transport is not effected for hire or reward, but on the own account of the company or the driver, and where driving does not constitute the main activity of the person driving the vehicle.
- A vehicle used by agricultural, gardening, forestry or fishing undertakings for the transport of goods within the radius of 50 km from the place the vehicle is usually based at, including cities that fall within that area.
- A vehicle used for the transport of animal waste or carcasses.
- A vehicle used for the transport of animals from an agricultural enterprise to a market located in the same county and vice versa, or from a market to a slaughterhouse located within a distance of 50 km.
- A vehicle running on pressurised gas, liquid gas or electricity used for cargo transport from the location of the undertaking within 50 km and the maximum mass of the vehicle with a trailer or semi-trailer does not exceed 7,500 kg.
- A vehicle used for a driving lesson, driving test, driving instruction in occupational training or continuous training, or taking an examination in occupational training or continuous training.
- The vehicle is an agricultural or forestry tractor that is used for agricultural and forestry work within a distance of 100 km from the location of the undertaking.
- A vehicle used in relation to sewerage works, works relating to protection against floods, rendering water, gas and electricity maintenance services, road maintenance or inspection, door-to-door collection and removal of domestic waste, rendering telegraph, phone, radio or television services and determining the location of radio or television transmitters or receivers.
- A special vehicle transporting circus or amusement park equipment.
- A vehicle used for the collection of milk from farms, for returning milk containers to farms or for delivering dairy products intended for animal feed.
- The vehicle is a bus with 10 to 17 seats, whose owner or responsible user is a parent of 4 or more children according to the population register. The respective entry has been made on the registration certificate of the vehicle and the bus is used for non-commercial passenger transport.
- Traffic Act (sections 130–139)
- Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council
- Regulation (EU) 165/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on recording equipment in road transport
Using the tachograph
There are three types of tachographs:
- analogue tachograph;
- digital tachograph (as of 01/05/2006);
- intelligent tachograph (as of 15/06/2019).
The tachograph must measure and record:
- vehicle mileage;
- vehicle speed;
- driving time;
- other working or on-call time;
- breaks and daily rest periods.
- ensures that the time recorded on the record sheet corresponds to the official time in the country of registration of the vehicle;
- uses switches that allow the following periods to be recorded separately and distinctively.
The driver of each vehicle equipped with an analogue tachograph shall enter the following information on their record sheet:
- when starting to use the record sheet, their surname and first name;
- the date and place of the beginning and end of the use of the record sheet;
- the registration number of each vehicle to which it is assigned, both at the beginning of the first journey recorded on the record sheet and during the use of the record sheet when the vehicle needs to be replaced;
- odometer reading:
- at the beginning of the first journey recorded on the record sheet;
- at the end of the last journey recorded on the record sheet;
- if the vehicle has to be changed during the working day, the reading of the first vehicle assigned to the driver and the reading of the next vehicle;
- vehicle replacement time.
The driver shall use the record sheet or driver card every day on which they drive the vehicle and from the moment they take over use of the vehicle. The record sheet or driver card shall not be removed before the end of daily working hours, unless it is otherwise permitted to remove it. No record sheet or driver card may be used for a longer period than that for which it is intended.
Drivers shall adequately protect record sheets or driver cards and shall not use dirty or damaged record sheets or driver cards.
The record sheet must not be kept in the tachograph for more than 24 hours. Otherwise, the stored data will be overwritten and cannot be linked to a specific day and time.
In the case of the digital tachograph, the driver is obliged to manually indicate the country of the start and end of working time, and in addition the intelligent tachograph records the nation code every third hour of driving.
If the driver is not in the vehicle and therefore cannot use the tachograph installed in the vehicle, the vehicle is equipped with an analogue tachograph, the data must be entered on the record sheet manually, legibly by automatic recording or other means and without smearing it. If the vehicle is equipped with a digital tachograph, the missing data must be recorded on the driver card using the tachograph's manual input device.
From 20 August 2020, drivers equipped with an analogue tachograph must manually enter the code of the country they enter after crossing the border of a Member State and, from 2 February 2022, for vehicles equipped with a digital tachograph.
The driver must stop at the first possible stop at the border or after crossing the border. If the border of a Member State is crossed by ferry or train, the driver shall enter the nation code at the port or station of destination.
From 20 August 2020, drivers of vehicles equipped with an analogue tachograph will have to enter the code of the countries where the daily working time started and ended.