Focus on the work schedule


The organization of the life of the company goes through the organization of the working hours of the employees.

The working time of employees is organized by the employer. It is he who determines the working hours, that is to say the hours at which employees start and end each day. This work schedule is brought to the attention of employees by posting in the workplace.

What is the work schedule? What are the rules to follow ? How to modify the work schedule? PayFit explains.

Summary :

  • What is the work schedule?
  • What is the obligation to display the work schedule?
  • Changing working hours: what are the rules?
  • Part-time: how to modify the work schedule?
  • Tracking work schedules: think about outsourcing!


What is the work schedule?

The weekly working time of employees is organized according to a work schedule. This work schedule corresponds to:

  • at the start and end times of the working day;
  • hours and durations of rest.

The work schedule is intended to be applied to a group of employees, we then speak of a collective work schedule. For example, the employer can provide that all the employees of a workshop, a department or a team work according to the same collective schedule.

The employer has the possibility of derogating from the principle of collective working hours. This is the case, for example, of part-time employees or employees subject to an individualized schedule.

Unless otherwise agreed, the work schedule can be spread over the week, i.e. 7 days. It is also possible to spread the working hours over a period of 5 or 6 days.

Attention, on the same day the working hours are distributed at the most, over a period of 13 hours maximum. We are talking about working hours, it is the duration between the employee taking up his post and the end of the working day, including break time.

What is the obligation to display the work schedule?

The employer has the obligation to post the work schedule. The display must show:

  • the times at which work begins and ends;
  • hours and duration of rest.

The company has the possibility to choose in which form the work schedule will be displayed. In practice, the work schedule is the tool generally used by the employer to display the working hours of employees.

Please note: the employer is not obliged to use a work schedule, he can decide to use another tool, such as a work diary or a work schedule table.

Regardless of the form chosen, the work schedule must be:

  • be dated and signed by the employer or by the person to whom he has delegated his powers for this purpose;
  • be displayed in legible characters and affixed in a visible manner in each of the workplaces to which it applies. Clarification – When employees are employed outside, the work schedule is displayed in the establishment to which they are attached.

In companies, establishments, workshops, departments or teams where a working time arrangement applies, the display must indicate:

the number of weeks included in the reference period set by the agreement or decree and;

for each week included in this reference period, the working hours and the breakdown of working time.

Changing working hours: what are the rules?

To organize the life of the company, the employer has the possibility of modifying the working hours of his employees, without seeking their agreement.

Why ? Because the establishment of a new distribution of work over the day falls within the management power of the employer. In practice, it is only a modification of working hours which has no consequences on remuneration or working hours.

On the other hand, the employer cannot modify the working hours, when it is specifically fixed in the employment contract – clause of the contract. Thus, if the employer wishes to make changes to the schedule provided for in the employment contract, he must propose this modification to the employee. And in the event that the employee accepts, an addendum to the employment contract must be drafted.

In addition, the modification of working hours at the initiative of the employer is not authorized, since it excessively interferes with the employee’s right to respect for his personal and family life or his right at rest.

Clarification: before the application of the changes to the schedule, the employer must post a correction of the work schedule. This posting of the modification of the work schedule must comply with all the aforementioned conditions.

Is the modification of working hours at the initiative of the employee possible? No, an employee subject to the collective work schedule does not have the possibility of modifying his work schedule. However, the employee has the possibility of making a request to the employer to adjust the working hours.

The employer will then be free to accept or not this request for modification of the weekly work schedule.

Part-time: how to modify the work schedule?

The employer can make changes to the working hours of part-time employees, provided that the notice period is respected. This means that any change in the distribution of working time between the days of the week or between the weeks of the month must be notified to the employee, respecting a notice period.

The notice period is set by agreement or company agreement. This period cannot be less than 3 working days. When the notice period is less than 7 working days, the convention or the company or branch agreement is required to provide compensation for the employees.

In the absence of an agreement or convention, the notice period is set at a minimum of 7 working days.

In addition to respecting the notice period, the employer is required to respect the provisions of the employment contract.

Indeed, if the employment contract provides for the possibility of modifying the work schedule, the employee cannot refuse the employer’s request. Conversely, when the employment contract does not provide for such provisions, the employee may refuse the employer’s request.

Tracking work schedules: think about outsourcing!

The conventional legal obligations relating to working hours are numerous and sometimes complex to implement in the company.

With an outsourcing of human resources, thanks to HR software or planning software, you can more easily manage the working hours of your employees.

The advantage of this type of software is to facilitate compliance with legal obligations such as the legal working time or the working hours, because in general, the calculation of the working hours is automated.

For example, you can consult the annual working time or the collective monthly work schedule of your employees, without performing any calculations.


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