48 hours a week are harmful to health

Permanent overtime can make you sick

It is not uncommon for employees to have to work longer than 48 hours a week, for example to complete an appointment project. If you regularly have to work well over 40 hours a week, you can quickly suffer from health problems. Gastrointestinal complaints or feelings of stress increase significantly. The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health draws attention to this.
According to occupational physicians, working hours of more than 40 hours a week can endanger health. Therefore, workers who work 48 hours or more per week should receive timely leisure time compensation, as the expert for working hours, Frank Brenscheidt, from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health told the news agency "dpa". If employees have to do overtime of more than 40 hours per week in the long term, evaluations show that health problems such as stomach problems, intestinal complaints or stress syndromes increase significantly. A short break after overtime can, however, compensate.

Accumulating overtime in bulk is the wrong way Accumulating overtime is the wrong way, says Brendscheidt. It is also important that overtime is predictable for employees. "When extending your working life, you should pay much more attention to the design," warned the expert. However, there is no optimal solution in the form of positive working time models in the drawer. The models must always be negotiated on site between the parties.

A very flexible model, however, is the trust working time. The employees can decide when they come and go. The total working time is transferred to the project work. "De work is defined by goals such as project work," reports the working time expert. With this model, employers would rarely be disappointed. In return, workers would have to be careful not to overuse themselves in their work. Trust working hours are often used in the IT industry.

Another option is flextime models with one traffic light. These working time models are particularly suitable for the general public. If, for example, an employee has accumulated 50 hours of overtime, there is an indication that the traffic light turns yellow. If more than 50 hours are reached, the traffic light lights up red and the employee must reduce the extra work by means of leisure time compensation.

Flexitime models are often hardly possible in shift work. Here employers could take countermeasures by changing shifts or jumping workers. This gives colleagues quick relief. "Never more than three night shifts in a row," advises the expert. So-called forward rotations from the early to the late shift with as much free time after the night shift as possible make sense. It is very important to "involve employees in the organization of working hours". In some industries, overtime is not a good idea. These include steel workers, for whom overtime should not be an option. (sb)

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