POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Working hour limits raised for ‘essential’ staff



Staff working in the health and care sectors could be putting in more overtime under an interim measure approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 28 October 2020 Pavel Gulea/Shutterstock

Staff working in the health and care sectors could be putting in more overtime under an interim measure approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 28 October 2020 Pavel Gulea/Shutterstock

Parliament has approved a bill that would temporarily increase the maximum number of working hours across key sectors in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

There are “alarming signs that more and more people working in these sectors have been infected with covid-19 or have been placed in quarantine,” which could reduce the availability of essential services, the Chamber of Deputies said.

The measure raises the limit on working time to 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week. This applies to the health, aid and care sectors, including hospitals, medical laboratories and children’s shelters. Before making the change, organisations will have to ask the labour ministry to grant an exemption to the working hours ceiling. The measure will expire on 31 December 2020.

The law passed on Wednesday with 37 (out of 60) votes, with the government coalition (DP, LSAP and Greens) joined by the ADR and Pirate party. The opposition CSV and Left parties abstained.

Bill 7689 was introduced by Dan Kersch, the labour minister (LSAP), and the rapporteur of was Georges Engel (LSAP), the MP who chairs the labour committee.