Duration of work of a full-time employee

Verified 09 January 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

How many hours of work can you do per day, per week, per month, and per year? Is it possible to work longer than the legal term? We explain your rights and obligations regarding the duration of working time.

The legal length of working time depends on your situation.

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General case

The legal duration of work for a full time is set at:

  • 35 hours by week
  • 151.67 hours per month
  • 1,607 hours per year

However, treaty provisions may provide for a weekly working time of more than or less than 35 hours.

Hours worked beyond the legal duration are considered as overtime.

You're a senior executive

As a senior executive, you don't have to work for a minimum or maximum amount of time.

To be considered a senior executive, you must have the following 3 criteria:

  • Having you assigned responsibilities that are important to you implies a great deal of independence in the organization of your schedule
  • Be empowered to make decisions in a largely autonomous manner
  • Have remuneration within the highest levels of the company's remuneration systems

You are an employee or an apprentice under the age of 18

Your working time is subject to specific provisions.

The duration of your actual work shall not exceed the maximum duration of 10 hours.

However, derogations are granted in the following cases:

  • At the request of your employer, who must also ask the labor inspector for his approval
  • In the event of an emergency linked to a temporary increase in activity
  • If a collective agreement provides for it. In the event of increased activity or for reasons connected with the organization of the company, the maximum daily working time shall be no more than 12 hours per day of actual work.

The duration of actual work weekly shall not exceed the following 2 limits:

  • 48 hours within the same week
  • 44 hours per week on average over a period of 12 consecutive weeks.

Example :

If you work 48 hours per week for 6 weeks in a row and then 40 hours for the next 6 weeks, then you will have worked an average of 44 hours per week over the 12 consecutive weeks. Your working time therefore does not exceed the maximum permitted weekly working hours.

By way of derogation, the maximum duration of one week may be increased, in exceptional circumstances, up to a maximum of 60 hours.

For this to happen, the labor inspectorate must give its consent.

Exceeding the average 44-hour duration is possible, up to a limit of 46 hours over a period of 12 consecutive weeks, in one of the following cases:

  • One collective agreement or a collective company agreement provides for
  • After authorization by the labor inspectorate

A break time of at least 20 minutes is granted to you, as soon as you have worked 6 consecutive hours.

The break shall be granted either immediately after six hours of work or before the six-hour period has expired.


lunch time, which is interspersed between two periods of actual work, is considered as a break time.

Your employer can set up collective working hours for all employees of the company.

An individualized timetable can also be offered, subject to conditions.

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You work collective hours

In the case of group schedules, your employer displays the hours at which work begins and ends, the hours and the duration of rest periods.

If your employer changes work schedules, they will show the changes in hours or hours of work at least 7 days before they are implemented.

You work individualized hours

One individualized timetable allows you to choose your working hours.

However, a fixed range may be provided by your employer during which you must be present in the company.

Example :

A variable-time device may define a time range of arrival times between 7.30 and 10.00 and a time range of departure times between 15.00 and 19.00.

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