O as in Overtime

Am I required to work overtime? How is it compensated?

Employers do not have the right to unilaterally order to work overtime unless it has been agreed upon in the employment contract. However, exceptions apply to absolute emergencies on side of the employer.

Employees who work longer than they are contractually obliged to do are entitled to compensation for their extra work if it has been ordered, approved or tolerated by the employer. In the event of a dispute, the employee must prove on which days she or he has worked from when till when or has stood ready for work.

Usually, the remuneration for working overtime is based on the remuneration of the regular working hours. There is no entitlement to the payment of overtime bonuses. However these can be agreed upon contractually, they are often found in collective agreements.

Can my employer stipulate that my overtime is compensated with my base salary?

Many employment contracts contain clauses according to which working overtime is fully or partially compensated with the salary. Such clauses are in many cases invalid. This means that employees can still demand payment for working overtime.

Will I receive the extra work in cash or as compensatory leave?

Employment contracts often contain a provision according to which extra work is compensated in the form of leave. In this case, there is no entitlement to remuneration of working overtime, but it is compensated by certain hours or days of leave.


Please note: This is a very general overview on german labor law. If you need help in your particular case, please do not hestitate to contact me or book your appointment. I’m happy to help.