If the daily working time exceeds six hours, this time must be split by a break lasting at least 30 minutes.
Employees must not be required to work during this period. They can spend the time at their discretion and also leave the establishment.
Splitting the break
The break can be split into two 15-minute or three ten-minute segments, if this is in the interest of the employees or is necessary for operational reasons.
Eine andere Teilung kann durch festgelegt werden.Other splitting may be defined by the employer/works council agreement. If no works council exists, the competent Labour Inspectorate may permit a different split upon request. One segment of the break must be at least ten minutes long.
Reducing the break
The employer/works council agreement may permit a reduction of the break to at least 15 minutes, if this is in the interest of the employees or is necessary for operational reasons. If this reduced break is additionally split, one segment must last at least 15 minutes.
A reduction to a total of 20 minutes, split into four breaks of five minutes each is not possible, as one segment must last at least 15 minutes.
If no works council has been established, such regulations may be approved by the Labour Inspectorate upon request.
Shift operation - short breaks
Reasonable short breaks (total duration: 30 minutes) must be complied with in continuous shift operation (also on the weekend). These kinds of short breaks may also be maintained in partly continuous operation (weekdays). Short breaks are considered working time.
Under the Nachtschwerarbeitsgesetz, night-shift workers are entitled to an additional break of ten minutes per night.
Administrative penalty provisions
Employers are responsible for complying with working time provisions. Infringements of the break provisions are punishable.
Section 11 of the Arbeitszeitgesetz (AZG)
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy