Night work


In principle, employees work during the day or evening, that is, between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm. However, some companies have special needs that make it necessary to work nights, either on a regular basis or on an ad hoc basis, to deal with urgent situations. This is the case for health care personnel, employees who work in nightclubs, companies that practice three-shift work or bakers.

Health protection

When working at night, the employee's life schedule is affected. Rest during the day often does not have the same quality as rest during the night, because it does not correspond to the normal rhythm of life of a human being.

As a result, night work can have a negative influence on the physical health and social life of the employee. The employee benefits from special protection.


The employer must respect strict conditions in order to implement night work for his/her employees.

These conditions differ if the night work is temporary, regular or periodic. The employee's consent is required in all cases.

In addition, the employer must respect specific break times and limitations on working hours.

People at risk

Due to the strenuous nature of night work, this type of schedule is not suitable for certain employees whose health is more fragile. Night work is prohibited or subject to conditions for apprentices, young workers and employees whose health is not compatible with night work.

Pregnant women are prohibited from working at night for a certain period during their pregnancy. If the employer is unable to assign other daytime duties to the employee during this period, the employer will be required to pay a portion of the employee's salary.

Medical Examination

An employee who works nights for a long period of time is entitled to a medical examination paid for by the employer. This medical examination is sometimes mandatory for certain categories of workers.


The situation is delicate when, following this medical examination, a doctor declares that the employee is unfit for night work for health reasons. The employer will not be obliged to maintain the employment relationship in specific situations. 

Shift work

Shift work occurs when the work is divided into several shifts, day, evening and night, and the employees take turns at the same workstation. In principle, each employee takes part in each shift in turn.

This type of operation is particularly difficult and can damage the health of employees. The company that wants to set up such a system must respect strict conditions. The employer must respect specific daily, weekly and annual rest periods.

High management position

Persons with a high management position are not covered by the Labor Act. As a result, they are not protected by the legal provisions on night work.

Care should be taken as not all executives can be considered as high-level managers, as the criteria set by the jurisprudence are very strict. 


When telecommuting, away from colleagues, employees may take advantage of the opportunity to babysit during the day or take longer breaks. This situation presents the risk that the employee will then make up for lost time by working during the night. The employer must be vigilant. The employer must take appropriate measures to prevent this type of situation.

Recording of the time worked

The employer is required to record the working time of its employees, including the duration of the work, overtime, and the duration of breaks. Employees who work at night are in a special situation. The employer must record more information about their working time, so that the authorities can verify that the legal provisions on working time and breaks are respected.

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon