In principle, minimum wages are fixed per sector of industry in collective bargaining agreements. Yet, these minimum wages may not be lower than the guaranteed average minimum monthly pay, fixed by national CBA, which amounts to 1 654,81 EUR (as of the age of 20 with 1-year seniority; figure in 2018). In addition to their monthly gross salary, employees are entitled to double holiday pay. Moreover, in most sectors of industry, the payment of an end-of-year premium is mandatory.
Maximum Working Week
The maximum average working time is 38 hours per week and 8 hours per day. Yet, the maximum working time per week may be lower in some sectors of industry on the basis of a collective bargaining agreement. There are several statutory exceptions to this rule. In case of shift work, it is for instance possible to work up to 11 hours per day and in case of continuous work even up to 12 hours. Under certain conditions, flexible working time schedules with a weekly working time exceeding 38 hours may be introduced, provided that the quarterly or yearly average remains at 38 hours per week. Daily minimum working time is three hours, but statutory exceptions exist. Working at night, on Sundays and during public holidays is only allowed under strict legal conditions.
Overtime work is normally prohibited, although there are several exceptions to this rule. Where overtime is authorised, overtime pay is at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay, and twice his/her regular rate if the overtime is performed on a Sunday or a public holiday. Employees also benefit from paid rest periods in case of overtime. Rules relating to working hours and overtime pay do not apply to, amongst others, sales representatives, homeworkers and employees in a managerial role or a position of trust within the company.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
Every employer is obliged to establish an “Internal Service for Prevention and Protection at Work” (the ‘Internal Service’). This body assists the employer, the members of the hierarchical line and the employees with implementing the legal and regulatory provisions regarding the well-being of the employees and all prevention measures and activities. For this purpose, every employer has at least one ‘prevention advisor’, competent for safety at work (the ‘Safety Prevention Advisor’), who is an employee of the undertaking and connected to an Internal Service. In companies employing less than twenty employees, it is the employer that may exercise the function of Safety Prevention Advisor.
Other specialised prevention advisors intervene in matters related to psychosocial risks at work (the ’Prevention Advisor-Psychosocial Risks’) or occupational medicine (the ‘Prevention Advisor-Occupational Physician’).
The employer determines the means and the way to carry out the well-being policy as well as the competences and responsibilities of the persons in charge of applying the well-being policy. Furthermore, the employer is required to draw up a number of mandatory documents pertaining to health and safety rules.
An employee who is the victim of violence, harassment or sexual harassment at work may claim compensation for the material and moral damage suffered, which, at the choice of the victim, consists of the actual damage suffered and to be proved by the victim, or a lump sum corresponding to the gross salary for three months. The flat-rate compensation is increased to six months’ gross salary in the event of discrimination, abuse of authority or serious offences.