It is illegal to work more than 48 hours a week. This has again been made clear by the Danish High Court, which recently sentenced a Danish employer a penalty of DKK 50,000 to be paid to a tractor driver.
On average, the tractor driver had worked more than 48 hours a week for a period of four months, and this is not in compliance with Danish law, writes Julie Gerdes, director of employment and labour law at EY, in Borsen.
Wanted to work overtime
The 48-hour rule is including overtime and is calculated as an average over a period of four months. The rule originates from the EU working time directive. In the case of the tractor driver, he wanted to do the overtime work, which the employer pointed out during the trial.
But that is irrelevant according to Danish law. The Work Time Act states that the employer is obliged to comply with the law regardless of any other circumstances.
The DKK 50,000, which the employee was given in compensation, is equivalent to half a month’s salary. In other previous cases, the judgment cost the employer a similar penalty.
Holidays are not included
Danish courts have ruled that the reference period of the four months can be arbitrarily selected by the employee and does not necessarily have to follow the calendar month.
Periods of paid vacation, special holidays, bank holidays, periods of sick leave and medical and dental visits should not be included in the calculation. These periods must be deducted.
TimePlan keeps track of the work hours
TimePlan keeps track of employee work hours and ensures that the employee does not work more or less hours than agreed. TimePlan also ensure that all collective agreements are complied with, and that employees get the right deductions and allowances for vacations, holidays and sick leave.