Your HR Questions Answered

We aim to give our readers and followers the best advice when it comes to managing people effectively. Every month you can read a digest of some HR questions that might be relevant for you.

Q: What is the maximum hours my Employee can work in a given week?

A:  The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 states that the maximum average working week for many employees cannot exceed 48 hours. This does not mean that a working week can never exceed 48 hours; it is the average that is important. The average may be calculated over one of the following periods:

  • 4 months for most employees
  • 6 months for employees working in the security industry, hospitals, prisons, gas/electricity, airport/docks, agriculture or in businesses which have peak periods at certain times of the year (such as tourism)
  • 12 months where this has been agreed between the employer and the employees (and this must be approved by the Labour Court)

Q: Do I include time spent on breaks, if I pay my Employees for their breaks?

A: No, time spent on break is not considered working time unless the Employee is liable to be called to work on breaks.

Q: What if my Employee takes an annual leave day, do I consider that when calculating their hours?

A: No, the 48 hours of work do not include annual leave, sick leave or maternity or adoptive or parental leave.

Q: Are there exceptions to the Working Time Act?

A: Yes, It does not apply to the Gardaí, defence forces, employees who control their own working hours or family employees on farms or in private homes. Separate regulations govern the working time of trainee doctors, employees at sea and those working in mobile road transport. 

If you have a question on working time, rest periods or breaks, please contact us. We have a team of trained and skilled investigators and consultants who have extensive experience in this area and would be happy to discuss any issue of concern with you. Just email us on or call Ingrid on 01 5252914.

Voltedge Management