What is working time?
According to the Labor Code of Georgia, working time is the period of time when an employee performs his/her duties and carries out his/her activities under the employer’s control. However, determining working time is not always so straightforward.
For example, some employees perform jobs where they must wait for an incident to occur before taking specific action. Examples include a firefighter-on-call or cashier who is at the employer’s disposal at the workplace, waiting for customers. In such cases, waiting time is working time and must be remunerated.
Many employees must also arrive before their shifts start, in order to carry out preparatory activities for work. This time must also be remunerated. For example, if a person is working with piece of equipment or machinery, the period for checking the equipment and turning it on is working time and should be remunerated as such. Or another example is miners: the time they need to enter the mine or change into special clothing/equipment is also considered working time.
In sum, the performance of any duty required to do the job and ordered by the employer is considered working time and must be remunerated.
Remember, your employment contract must include the regulation of working hours.
Standard working hours
Why are standard working hours important?
Working time is important not only because it impacts remuneration, but also because it is directly related to workplace safety and health.
Unreasonably long working hours can affect a person’s ability to do their job and lead to fatigue, which negatively affects employees’ health. At the same time, employee should be able to connect with the outside world, have time for other pursuits outside of work, and balance their professional and personal lives. Therefore, in order to protect employees, the law limits the length of working hours.
Standardized working time is the amount of working time regulated by law. All work beyond these hours is considered overtime, and must be voluntary. No one has the right to force an employee to work overtime, except in exceptional cases provided by law.
Working beyond standard hours is considered overtime and must be remunerated in increased amounts.
What are the standard working hours in Georgia?
According to the Labor Code of Georgia, working hours for an adult should not exceed 40 hours per week (Article 24, Paragraph 2 of the Labor Code of Georgia). Georgian legislation sets a different rule for enterprises with specific exemptions, where standard working hours should not exceed 48 hours per week. The Government of Georgia, in consultation with its social partners, is tasked with establishing a list of employment sectors that fall under the 48 hour rule.
Working hours for minors between the ages of 16 and 18 should not exceed 36 hours per week and 6 hours per working day.
The working hours of minors between the ages of 14 and 16 should not exceed 24 hours per week and 4 hours per working day.
Am I required to work more than the standard working hours?
Performing work beyond the standard working hours must be voluntary. Except for in very specific situations set out in the law, employees have the right not to work more than the standard time.
Work performed outside the standard working hours is considered overtime work. Accordingly, laws and conditions on overtime apply to such work.
Is participation in compulsory training and education considered working time?
Yes. Employers often oblige employees to participate in various trainings and other activities during non-working hours, without pay. This is illegal. If the training or other professional activity is mandated by the employer, the employee’s participation is considered as working time and should be remunerated.
This obligation of the employer in this regard is set forth in Paragraph 3 of Article 22 of the Labor Code of Georgia.
What is overtime work and can my employer require me to work overtime?
When an employee works beyond standard working hours, it is considered overtime. For example, if you normally work 40 hours a week, but work 44 hours one week in agreement with your employer, the 4 extra hours are considered overtime and you must be paid at an increased rate.
Working on weekends and holidays is also considered overtime. If the employer asks you to work on any of the holidays listed in Article 30 of the Labor Code of Georgia, that work constitutes overtime and it must be remunerated accordingly.
When must my employer notify me of the need for overtime work? Is overtime work voluntary?
Employer are obliged to notify employees about overtime work at least one week in advance.
Overtime work is voluntary except for two cases established by the Labor Code of Georgia. The employee is obliged to perform overtime work:
- to prevent a natural disaster and/or to eliminate the effects – without overtime pay;
- to prevent an industrial accident and/or to eliminate its effects – with overtime pay. (Paragraph 5 of Article 27 of the Labor Code of Georgia)
How should overtime work be remunerated?
The employer and employee must agree on the amount of overtime pay. However overtime must always be remunerated at an increased amount rate. The amount of the increase is determined by the parties. However, if the parties do not agree on this issue and the dispute is taken to court, the amount of overtime pay is determined by the court.
Can I request time off instead of overtime pay?
In agreement with the employer, the employee may be given congruent additional rest time in exchange for overtime pay. Such time must be given to the employee no later than four weeks after the completion of overtime work, unless the parties agree otherwise.
Breaks & rest time
Am I entitled to breaks at work?
Yes. It is illegal to force an employee to work without breaks, though the exact definition of break time is not provided by Georgian legislation.
The parties must agree on the timing of breaks. If the employee does not use the break, they cannot leave work early.
The employee is obliged to use the break during the agreed period.
The employee has the right to spend the break time as they please. The employer must provide the employee with adequate time to use of the break.
According to the Labor Code of Georgia, all employees who work more than 6 hours per day are entitled to a break. Although the break time should be determined by the agreement of the parties, the legislation sets a minimum standard from which deviation is not allowed. If an employee’s shift is 6 hours or more, they should be given a break of at least 60 minutes.
A breastfeeding woman who is feeding a child under one year of age should be given an extra break of at least 1 hour during the day to feed the baby. Breaks for feeding the baby are considered working time and must be remunerated.
A break is essential for the physical and mental health of employees.
Am I entitled to days off?
Yes. Employees must have a rest period between working days/shifts, the continuous duration of which must not be less than 12 hours.
In addition to this rest period, the employer is required to provide the employee with at least one continuous 24-hour rest period over a period of 7 days, i.e. an employee must have at least one full day in seven days to rest.
Rest periods are not counted as working time and are not remunerated.
Remember, holidays are regulated in the labor contract.
A legal representative or supporter of a person with a disability has the right, in addition to the days off, to take an additional paid day off once a month or to arrange with the employer a working time different from that provided for in the labor regulations.
Recording working time
Does my employer have to keep records of my working time?
Yes. The employer is obliged to record the working time of all employees in written or electronic form.
Every employee has the right to know how much time he/she has worked during the month in order to be able to verify the accuracy of the calculation of their remuneration.
The employer is obliged to present the document recording working time to the employee unless it is impossible due to the specifics of the job.
Remember, the time actually worked by the employee and the time specified in the document must match. No one has the right to enter incorrect data in your working time accounting document.
Your hours worked must reflected in your working time accounting document at least once per month, or periodically throughout the month.*
The working time registration document must be completed and signed and kept on file by the employer (or a person designated by the employer) for one year.**
The format for working time document is defined by the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Health, Labour and Social Affairs. However, employers have the right to determine their own format and frequency for recording work hours.
Note that under certain working conditions where it is not possible to record working hours daily or weekly, it is permissible to use a summary accounting system.
* სამუშაო დროის აღრიცხვის ფორმისა და მისი წარმოების წესის დამტკიცების თაობაზე | სსიპ ”საქართველოს საკანონმდებლო მაცნე” (matsne.gov.ge)
** სამუშაო დროის აღრიცხვის ფორმისა და მისი წარმოების წესის დამტკიცების თაობაზე | სსიპ ”საქართველოს საკანონმდებლო მაცნე” (matsne.gov.ge)