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How Is Overtime Pay Regulated in Germany?

Question from Options, How Is Overtime Pay Regulated in Germany?

Answer from AI:

In Germany, the legal framework for overtime work and its compensation is governed by a combination of statutory law, collective bargaining agreements, and individual employment contracts. Understanding the rules surrounding overtime pay is important for both employers and employees to ensure compliance with labor laws.

Statutory Law

The primary statutory law governing working hours in Germany is the Arbeitszeitgesetz (ArbZG), or the Working Hours Act. This law sets out the maximum working hours and rest periods for employees. According to the ArbZG, the standard working time should not exceed eight hours per day, extendable to ten hours provided that the average eight hours per day is not exceeded over a six-month period.

Overtime Regulations

The ArbZG does not explicitly mandate extra pay for overtime work. Instead, it leaves the specifics of overtime compensation to be determined by collective bargaining agreements or individual employment contracts. Here are the typical ways overtime is handled:

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements: Many industries in Germany are covered by collective bargaining agreements, which often include provisions for overtime pay rates. These rates can vary but are commonly at a higher rate than the normal pay, sometimes at 25% to 50% extra.
  • Individual Employment Contracts: If there is no applicable collective bargaining agreement, the terms of overtime compensation may be outlined in the employee’s individual contract. It’s essential for employees to review their contracts to understand their rights regarding overtime.
  • Compensatory Time Off: Instead of financial compensation, some employers may offer compensatory time off (“Freizeitausgleich”) for overtime hours worked.

Legal Advice and Disputes

If there is a dispute regarding overtime pay, employees may need to seek legal advice. Employment lawyers can provide guidance based on the specifics of the case, including the interpretation of collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts.

Key Points for Employees

Employees should consider the following steps to understand their rights and obligations regarding overtime:

  1. Review your employment contract for any clauses related to overtime.
  2. Check if a collective bargaining agreement applies to your industry or profession.
  3. Keep accurate records of the hours worked, including overtime.
  4. If unsure about your rights, consult with a workers’ council (“Betriebsrat”) if available, or seek legal advice.


While the German Working Hours Act sets the framework for working hours, the specifics of overtime compensation are largely determined by collective agreements and individual contracts. Employees should familiarize themselves with these documents and keep accurate records of their working hours. For personalized advice, it is recommended to consult with a legal professional.

For more information on the Working Hours Act, you can visit the official translation of the ArbZG.

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