Rest periods


Rest periods between each work day are essential for the physical and mental health of the employee. The employee must be able to benefit from rest periods during which he or she can detach from his or her professional obligations, spend time with his or her family and rest. The employer must ensure that the employee respects the legal rest periods.

Recording of the time worked

The employer is obliged to grant the minimum legal rest periods set by the Labor Law, including when he/she asks his/her employees to work overtime. In order to facilitate the control of these provisions by the authorities, the employer must, in principle, register a certain amount of information, in particular on the working and resting time of employees. This binding obligation can be reduced or even eliminated for specific categories of employees, under certain conditions, when they have a certain autonomy in the execution of their work.


In teamwork, employees take turns at the same workstation according to a specific work schedule. In principle, they are divided into several shifts, day, evening and night. Each employee participates in a rotation of all the schedules. This type of work can be particularly physically demanding. Employees benefit from special rest periods.


Pregnancy is a period during which the employee tires more quickly and certain activities or postures become more difficult. The pregnant employee benefits from increased health protection during this delicate period. The employer must, in certain situations, grant her a longer rest period.


Away from colleagues, the telecommuting employee tends not to respect his or her usual working hours. Childcare, taking breaks at all hours or simply a lack of concentration sometimes pushes the employee to make up for lost time in the evening or at night. However, the employer has the obligation to watch over the health of his or her employee and to verify that he or she respects the rest periods and breaks provided for by the law...

Working outside of office hours

With new technologies and the shift to digital technology, employees are available at all times and can potentially work at any time. Whether it's a particularly zealous executive or an employer who requires an employee to work on an urgent matter by the next day, there are times when an employee may be working at home in the evening after the workday. This situation is potentially problematic in terms of rest time.

Ancillary activity

Economic reasons sometimes lead employees to take on a number of odd jobs or self-employment activities after work in order to make ends meet. This can be tricky when it comes to rest time.

Can a professional driver work as a waiter until late at night and then return to his or her main job the next morning at 8:00 a.m.? What are the responsibilities if the exhausted employee commits a malpractice or causes an accident?

Managers and high managerial positions

Managers and senior executives are expected to work longer hours than their subordinates because of their position in the company. Does the employer have to respect minimum rest periods for these employees? What about an executive who stays at work until midnight to finish a file and then reports to work the next day at 7 a.m.?

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon