Working hours for posted workers

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The Working Hours Act has regulations on how much you can work per day, per week and per year. It records on-call time and emergency preparedness, the breaks and pauses to which you are entitled, and what is applicable to nightly rest.

You who are posted are covered by the entire Working Hours Act, apart from 12 §

Working hours

Regular working time may not exceed 40 hours per week.

All employees are entitled to a minimum rest period of eleven consecutive hours in any twenty-four hour period (daily rest period). The daily rest period that all employees are entitled to shall include the hours between midnight and 05.00.

Employees are entitled to a minimum uninterrupted rest period of thirty-six hours per every seven day period (weekly rest). Weekly rest does not include periods spent on stand-by when an employee is permitted to stay away from the workplace but must remain at the employer’s disposal in order to carry out work when the need arises.

As far as possible, weekly rest shall be scheduled for weekends.

The total working time per every seven day period may amount to an average of at most 48 hours during a reference period of at most four months. When calculating the total working time, annual leave and sickness absence during times when the employee would otherwise have worked shall be treated as hours worked.

There are also rules regarding overtime, i.e. working time in excess of regular working time. When there is a special need to increase the number of hours worked, overtime may be worked up to a maximum of 48 hours per employee over a period of four weeks, or 50 hours over a calendar month, with a maximum of 200 hours over a calendar year.

Breaks and pauses

The term ‘breaks’ means interruptions in the daily working time during which employees are not obliged to remain at the workplace. The employer shall state the duration and organization of breaks in advance as precisely as the circumstances allow.

Breaks shall be organized so that employees do not perform work for more than five consecutive hours. The number, duration and organization of breaks must be satisfactory with regard to the working conditions.

 The employer shall organize work so that employees are able to take pauses from work as necessary, in addition to breaks.

If the working conditions so require, special work pauses may instead be scheduled. If so, the employer shall state the duration and organization of the pauses in advance as precisely as the circumstances allow. Pauses are included in the working time.

All employers who engage employees for work other than on a temporary basis shall give the employees no less than two weeks’ advance notice of changes concerning the organization of regular working time and on-call time.

The collective agreement can replace the law

The Working Hours Act can be contracted away through collective bargaining agreements. The collective agreement can then either replace the Act or certain parts of it.

Observe that exemptions from the Act in its entirety, or derogations from certain Sections may be made through collective agreements concluded or approved by a central employee organization. You can find their contact details here:

Employers' and employees' organisations and collective agreements

 The Work Environment Act, the Working Hours Act and the Posting of Workers Act are all available in English here:

Acts and regulations about work environment

The Swedish Work Environment Authority supervises working hours

The Swedish Work Environment Authority is in charge of the Working Hours Act and may grant exemptions from some of the regulations in the act. If you find that your employer does not comply with the Working Hours Act, you can report it to the Swedish Work Environment Authority. However, if your employer has signed a collective agreement and has derogated from all or part of the Working Hours Act, the Swedish Work Environment Authority has no supervision over these parts. In such cases, the social partners, such as the trade unions, will ensure that the collective agreement is followed.

Other laws regarding working hours

Other working hours legislation that applies to posted workers is

  • The Working Hours for Certain Road Transport Work Act (2005:395), however, not 16 §
  • The Working Time, etc. of Mobile Workers in Civil Aviation Act  (2005:426), however with the limitation in 1 §, second paragraph, that 12 § of the Working Hours Act does not apply
  • The Driving and Rest Time in International Rail Traffic Act (2008:475), - however, with the restriction regarding 1 §, third paragraph, that 12 § of the Working Hours Act does not apply.
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Last updated 2018-08-29