Variable / flexible working hours


The standard work schedule is the fixed work schedule. The start and end time of the working day as well as the breaks are fixed in advance.

Fixed working hours, a bygone era?

Some companies have implemented a variable work schedule, also called flexible. The purpose of this is to allow employees to better reconcile work and family life.

Within the framework of flexitime, there are blocked and free working periods. Outside of the hours imposed by the employer, the employee can manage his or her working hours independently, taking into account the workload. They can decide when they start in the morning, how long their lunch break should be and when they finish their work in the evening.

This flexibility is often welcomed by employees. On the other hand, it is not without its problems.

Recording of working hours

With flexible working hours, the risk of abuse is never far away. Some employees skip their lunch break to leave earlier, accumulate extra hours or, on the contrary, do not work the required hours.

Employers are still required to record their employees' work time and breaks.

Breaks and rest periods

The Labor Act contains numerous provisions regarding mandatory breaks and rest periods. Where the employer implements a flexible work schedule, he/she must ensure that employees take their breaks and respect the legal rest periods.

The employer cannot give employees absolute freedom and risk liability if the employee does not comply with these legal provisions.


The employee sometimes accumulates positive hours within the framework of the flexitime. A distinction must be made between overtime required by the employer and overtime worked as part of the flextime arrangement. Compensation for the latter is subject to special rules.

On-call work

In on-call work, the employer does not commit to the duration or schedule of the employee's work. The employee's schedule varies according to the needs of the employer, who calls him or her in for specific assignments.

This form of work is precarious because the employee has no guarantee of income. He/she depends on his employer's calls. This precariousness has its limits. The employer cannot abruptly decide to stop calling on the worker. 

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon