The normal hours of work for full-time employment and the maximum hours for part-time work vary according to the relevant sector of industry. These are established in Wage Regulation Orders that regulate such sectors according to their activity of work (see also L.N. 247 of 2003 - Organisation of Working Time Regulations). Generally, the normal hours of work (excluding overtime) should not exceed a maximum of an average of 48 hours a week spread over a reference period of 17 weeks. In certain sectors, as the manufacture and tourism sectors, the reference period is of one year.
An employer can ask an employee to work more than an average of 48 hours per week. However in such a case, a written consent is required from the employee concerned. If an employee does not give his/her consent, the employer can neither force nor victimize that particular employee as a consequence of his/her refusal. On the other hand, if the consent is given, the employer has to ensure that the employee is given the daily rest and weekly rest periods due as established by law.
If an employee consents to work for more than an average of 48 hours per week, the employee can demand that the consent will be withdrawn. This can be done through written notice which is given to the employer. Notice must be given at least seven days before the withdrawal of the consent or at such longer periods, not exceeding three months, as may be agreed between the parties.
If the employee has not consented to work over an average of 48 hours a week, the maximum working hours including overtime shall not exceed such an average when calculated over a reference period, usually of 17 weeks. It is important to clarify that if an employee who normally works on a 40 hour week is asked to perform overtime, such overtime may be of more than 8 hours in a particular week, provided that the provisions at law regarding daily rest and weekly rest periods are observed.