Non-standard working hours - when can it be used?
According to the Labor Code, working time is the time during which the employee is at the employer's disposal in the workplace or in another place designated for work. However, working time may be determined by the dimension of the tasks. In such a situation, working time is the time necessary to perform the entrusted tasks. Then we are dealing with a task-based working time system, commonly known as non-standard. In practice, irregular working time means that the tasks entrusted under this work system include the basic working time system, i.e. 8 hours a day and an average of 40 hours in an average five-day working week in a given settlement period.
When can irregular working hours be used?
The conditions for introducing such a system of work are set out in Art. 140 of the Labor Code, which informs that: “In cases justified by the type of work or its organization or place of work, a task-based working time system may be used. The employer, after consultation with the employee, determines the time necessary to perform the tasks entrusted, taking into account the working time resulting from the standards specified in art. 129 ".
This means that irregular working hours may be introduced when it is difficult to precisely define the beginning and end of a given job, or when a given task depends on variables that are difficult to predict. So for which professional groups can irregular working hours be used?
Who may be affected by irregular working hours?
People who most often work in the task-based work system are primarily those employees who cannot record and control working time due to their performance outside the employer's premises. This group includes, among others: sales representatives, postmen, canvassers, architects, programmers and journalists. From the point of view of these professions, the most important thing is the number of tasks completed than the time at which the work started and ended. How much time an employee will spend on their implementation is a matter for the employee. Similarly, when the work is simple, the most important thing is to achieve the goal. Cleaning services can serve as an example here.
Non-standard working time also covers employees managing the workplace on behalf of the employer and managers of separate organizational units.
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Overtime and irregular working hours
Irregular working hours is not a system in which payment of overtime wages can be avoided. In a situation where the scope of tasks has been designated in such a way that it is objectively impossible to perform them within a specified time, the employee is entitled to remuneration for overtime work. According to the judgment of the Supreme Court (see the judgment of the Supreme Court of 10 September 1998, I PKN 301/98, OSNAPiUS 1999, No. 19. item 608): it is tantamount to an order to perform work in excess of the working time norms ”.
A derogation is the situation when employees managing the workplace on behalf of the employer and managers of separate organizational units, if necessary, perform work outside normal hours. Pursuant to Art. 151 of the Labor Code, they are not entitled to additional remuneration in this respect, unless it is overtime work falling on a Sunday or a holiday. If they have not received another day off in exchange for overtime work, then they are entitled to remuneration with an allowance for overtime work.
However, it should be remembered that in the event of exceeding the generally applicable standards of working time by a defective and independent manager or person managing the organization of work, the employer may not deprive these employees of the right to overtime remuneration.
Managers or managers themselves must also remember that non-standard working hours do not release them from the applicable working time standards and cannot shorten their working hours at will. It should fit within the 40-hour weekly standard of working time, and each unworked hour will be treated as an excused absence.