Your basic guide to working hours

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So you got your first job or you could be working a new job, have you ever wondered what your average working hours are? Or do you like most know it as nine hours. 

Well according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the maximum normal working time allowed is 45 hours weekly. This is nine hours per day excluding a lunch break if the employee works a five-day week. And eight hours per day excluding a lunch break if the employee works more than five days per week. 

This doesn’t mean that the employee must work 45 hours per week normal time. The amount of normal time worked is a matter of contractual agreement between employer and employee. Some employers work a 40-hour week, and so on. Then of course there’s the statutory lunch break which is one hour, but this may be reduced to 30 minutes by agreement between the employee and employer.  

The statutory limitation of 45 hours per week means that the employee may not work more than 45 hours per week normal time. As this then is regarded as overtime, which are hours worked in excess of the employee’s normal hours of work. The maximum permissible overtime is three hours on any one day or 10 hours in any one week. 

But there are sectors such as security and domestic work that are characterised by very long working hours and low hourly wages. In these sectors, the hourly minimum wage will probably have the effect of reducing working hours while total monthly pay remains the same, or increases. 

Then of course as we head into the holiday season, the hospitality and retail industries gear up for their busiest period, often extending hours to allow customers more time to sit or shop. With any number of staff expected to work overtime during this period.

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