When do I pay employees for overtime?

Happy employees make for a more successful business.

There are many ways to create a healthy and happy working environment for your staff. Prioritizing a good work-life balance for your employees is one of them. Allowing your staff to have enough time for their personal and family commitments outside of work, will enhance their loyalty, engagement, and positive working attitude at the job. 

A good employer respects the employee’s rights. To prevent stress and burn outs, and avoid misunderstandings or even disputes with your employees, make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations in the labor law.

In this article we set out the main regulations regarding working hours.

Different shifts, different rules

The law makes a distinction between regular work shifts and scheduled work shifts. Regular work takes place between 7AM and 8PM and mostly on weekdays (let’s say office hours). Scheduled work is when working times may vary and also take place outside these hours. Then there are night shifts: work that is scheduled between 12AM and 6AM. And lastly, some jobs require on-call duties, shifts where employees have to be standby to perform work in case of any emergency of calamity. Depending on the types of work and shifts, different rules and regulations apply.

Note that for hotel, restaurant, and casino staff, because of their broad opening hours, different rules apply, stated in the Labor Decree Hotels, Restaurants and Casinos 2000 BES. Also, a collective labor agreement might be applicable in your business, stating different regulations.

What is considered overtime?

The below scheme shows the maximum working hours an employee is allowed to work per week without having to pay them overtime. These maximums also apply to staff working part-time or flexible hours.

If you let them work more and longer, this is considered overtime and must be compensated accordingly. Further in this article, you find the exact compensation percentages (of the employee’s hourly wage) that apply.

* Even when the average stays below 48 or 55 hours, maximum working hours incl. overtime per week can never exceed 60 hours

** Not applicable to hotel, restaurant, and casino staff

Resting period

In general, the time before 7AM and after 8PM is considered resting time. If other closing times apply in a company (as statutory regulated), the rest time should commence no later than 30 minutes after this closing time and last at least 11 hours until the start of the next working day. This does not apply to hotel, restaurant, or casino employees.

Employees have the right to at least 1 resting day per week. Additionally, they should get a morning or an afternoon per week off **. Scheduled workers have the right to have at least one Sunday off per 7 weeks. For hotel, restaurant and casino employees this is at least once per 13 weeks.

On a working day of 6 hours or more, the employee is allowed a break of at least 30 minutes after a maximum of 5 hours. An interruption of less than 15 minutes does not count as a break.

Resting time after a night shift that ends before 2AM should be at least 12 hours, and 14 hours when the shift ends after 2AM. After 6 consecutive night shifts, the employee has the right to 48 hours of resting period.

On-call duty

An employee who needs to be available for work (in case of unforeseen circumstances) between two consecutive shifts or during his break time, is on call. An employee has the right to not be on call during 14 consecutive days per 4 weeks. It is not allowed to have employees on call when they are scheduled to work night shifts. Employees younger than 18 years of age, are not allowed to be on call. Actual working time when on call needs to take at least 30 minutes to be considered and compensated as overtime. This is in addition to the supplement the employee should receive per day that he is on call, which is 1% of his gross monthly salary **.

Public holidays

Public holidays are considered resting days, unless it’s a scheduled workday, according to their regular working schedule. Employees should be exempted from work on at least 5 holidays per calendar year (except hotel, restaurant, and casino employees).

The public holidays are as follows:

  • January 1st New Year’s Day;
  • the date falling after the date of the Carnival procession held in the public body of Saba;
  • Good Friday;
  • Easter Sunday and Easter Monday;
  • Labor Day;
  • Ascension Day;
  • Wit Sunday;
  • Emancipation Day (Sint Eustatius);
  • Christmas Day;
  • Boxing Day;
  • the day on which the King’s birthday is officially celebrated;
  • the date 16 November for the public body Sint Eustatius and the date of the first Friday of December for the public body Saba.
Overtime compensation

Overtime is always compensated by paying the employee an allowance of 50% of an employee’s regular hourly wage, on top of his regular hourly wage (100%). In other words, you pay him 150% for every extra hour. If the overtime occurs in resting time, on a resting day or on a public holiday, you have to pay him an additional percentage. Please take a look at the applicable percentages in the scheme below.

To calculate the actual duration of overtime, the total number of minutes is rounded up to the nearest half hour. So 70 minutes is considered 1 hour and 80 minutes is considered 1 ½ hour. Overtime that lasts less than 15 minutes per day and that is not regular or recurring, is not considered overtime. If you’re not sure about a specific situation, please check with your local labour office. 

Did you know?
  • Calling an employee in to work overtime on a day on which he was not scheduled to work, the overtime should last (and be compensated for) at least 3 hours. If it doesn’t, you still have to pay the employee 3 hours.
  • If the working hours per day (including overtime) exceed 10 hours, you as an employer have to provide the employee with a hot meal or adequate compensation.
  • It is allowed to agree (in writing) to compensate an employee for overtime, whole or partially, in the form of paid leave, also known as “time for time”.
More information

For more information, please contact your local labour offi