Working Hours in Germany + FAQs [2024]

by | Work in Germany

Last Update: Feb 23, 2024 @ 3:00 pm

Home 9 Work in Germany 9 Working Hours in Germany + FAQs [2024]

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In Germany, workers have the least lengthy working hours in Europe on average. It seems that Germans achieve an ideal work-life balance when combined with high productivity levels. Working hours, overtime, and relevant laws in Germany are all examined in this article.

It is also important for businesses that want to expand to and operate in Germany to understand German labor regulations and attitudes about a proper work schedule.

🔶 Related Topic: German Payslip: How to read your Salary Slip

How many hours do full-time jobs in Germany usually last? 

Germany's typical work week is 36 to 40 hours long. In Germany, the majority of full-time jobs are 7 or 8 hours/day, 5 days/week, with a one-hour or 30-min break for lunch.

Some corporations may keep their workers longer hours while compensating them with a higher salary or more yearly vacation leave. Self-employed people frequently work more than 48 hours/week.

How many working hours do full-time jobs in Germany usually last?

A part-time employee is someone who works in Germany for fewer than 30 hours/week. After six months of working for the company, you have the right to request a reduction in your weekly working hours.

Freelancing and job-sharing are becoming more popular, and part-time employment is on the rise. Part-time work and parental allowance in Germany are both beneficial. The biggest metalwork union in Germany was successful in obtaining the right to a 28-hour week in 2018.

What are the Legal Restrictions on Working Hours in Germany?

Working hours in Germany are regulated by law: you are not allowed to work more than 8 hours/day.

  • Employees must not work more than 48 hours/week, which is the normal working week.
  • If the overall average working time does not surpass 8 hours/day within six months (or 24 weeks), this may be extended to 10 hours/day.
  • Except for employees in the service sector, work on Sundays and public holidays is mostly forbidden. For example, employees must be given a substitute day of rest for every Sunday and public holiday.

In case you don't know your rights and if you know that you are being mistreated at work, then it is always good to have legal insurance in Germany. This way, you can always consult a lawyer in your insurance and get either free consultation or at a minimal price. 

What is Considered a Work-related Break?

Employees are not permitted to work for more than 6 hours without a break.

  • They must get at least one 30-min break or two 15-min breaks if their workday is between six and nine hours long.
  • They must be given a 45-min break if the workday exceeds nine hours, which may be divided into 15-min segments. 
  • Employees must be provided at least 11 hours of continuous rest after finishing their daily duties. It must be granted in full after the pause if this rest period is interrupted, even briefly.

Additional smoke breaks are not permitted for German workers. They may, however, utilize their usual break for the cigarette breaks.

Does Germany have Regulations on Overtime Compensation?

Overtime pay is not covered by Germany's labor laws, which prevents employees from receiving it. Overtime must be compensated with the usual salary if there are no additional employment contract provisions.

Over time (up to 15% of normal working time) may be paid with the regular monthly wage, according to the employment agreement.

For instance, employers are only required to pay overtime if it surpasses the stated threshold. The entire overtime may be compensated by the regular monthly salary, which should be stated in the contract if the remuneration exceeds the pension insurance contribution ceiling.

Link to the Topic
How Much Is Considered A Good Salary in Germany

Working on Sunday

Sundays and public holidays are generally off-limits, with a few exceptions. Within the next two weeks for working on Sunday or eight weeks for working on a public holiday, an employee who works must be compensated with corresponding time off.

Are the Germans Difficult to Work for?

No, the Germans are the simplest to work with as long as you're a bright enough team player who is willing to learn and complete his/her tasks on time.

You're working FOR them, not WITH them, as they see it, but you can't generalize it. Young Generation have this equality mindset and when you are working with them you will have a feeling that you are working together. 


Working hours in Germany can vary depending on the company, position, and industry. However, on average, employees in Germany work between 38 and 48 hours per week. 

If you're looking to find out more information on working hours in your specific industry or company, be sure to check out the respective website. Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a standard working week in Germany look like?

In a standard working week, a person works around 40 hours per week which is 8 hours per day. 

How many hours per day do full-time employees in Germany work?

In Germany, a full-time worker spends 8 hrs/week at work.

Does overtime pay regulated in Germany?

Your employment contract usually includes a regulation concerning overtime. Some companies, do not pay the overtime hours. Instead, you can use those extra hours to take vacations. 

How does Germany's average work week compare to that of the rest of Europe?

In comparison to Germany, a full-time worker in the EU has a year-round work week of 37.0 hours.

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