December 15, 2016

Sunday and holiday employment: restricted but not impossible

According to the German Working Hours Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) employment is not permitted on Sundays and public holidays in the time between 12 am and midnight. This work free period of 24 hours must be combined with an additional rest period of eleven hours, amounting to 35 hours of uninterrupted rest. Depending on regional custom, there are generally between eleven and thirteen public holidays per year in the state of Bavaria.

Nevertheless, in special cases, Sunday and holiday employment is permitted without further authorization, for example: in emergency and rescue services, in maintaining public safety and order, in hospitals, in restaurants, in broadcasting, in the press, in fairs, exhibitions and markets, in transport enterprises, in energy and water supply enterprises, in agriculture, in security services, in cleaning and maintaining works facilities, in preventing work products from spoiling, in research work which must be carried on without interruption and for avoiding the destruction or serious damage of processing facilities.

With authorization of the regional Trade Supervisory Board (Gewerbeaufsichtsamt) further exemptions are possible:

  • in commerce, on up to ten Sundays and holidays per year on which special circumstances make an extension of trading necessary;

  • generally, on up to five Sundays and holidays per year, if it is necessary for the prevention of disproportionate damage under special circumstances and in addition,

  • on one Sunday per year for taking the inventory prescribed by law.


Julius Jacoby

Arbeitsrecht, Wirtschaftsrecht, Internationales Recht

Julius Jacoby