Skip to main content

Hours Worked

« Back to Glossary Index

What are hours worked?

Hours worked encompasses all the time when a team member is required to be on duty or completing a task. This includes training days when a new team member is onboarded. Whenever a team member is required to be at work, even waiting time when a team member is not actually completing a task, it is considered hours worked. Overtime labour outside of normally scheduled hours is also considered hours worked.

Short breaks (20 minutes or less) that are agreed upon by the manager and the team member are considered work time. This is not to be confused with employee absenteeism, which are long breaks taken without permission that are detrimental to workplace performance. Buddy punching, or arriving late regularly is also not considered hours worked.

Lunch breaks over 30 minutes are usually not considered work time unless the team member is working during that lunch break.

Are commute or travel time hours worked?

Commute time to a team member’s usual workplace is not considered hours worked. However, travelling to another city or a new location is considered hours worked. If a team member’s role involves them travelling between worksites during the workday, that is included in hours worked.

What are the limitations to hours worked? 

Many countries have labour laws to establish the maximum or minimum hours of work in order to support team members. The average hours worked a week is 40, but some employees may require more. There are laws requiring overtime pay in excess of 40 hours of work a week at 1.5x regular pay. For shift workers, their hours worked a week may vary.

Hours worked in week examples:

  • North American – 40 hours: The classic 5-day workweek is 9 am-5 pm from Monday through Friday.

  • Graveyard shift – flexible hours: A night shift worker works overnight and rests in the daytime. Their hours worked may change depending on their type of work.

  • Healthcare worker – 36 hours: Nurses work 3 days a week but they often have 12-hour shifts. This gives them flexible time off and also limits travel costs. However, they are also very exhausting.

  • Trucker – 70 hours: Truckers are often fatigued, so they are limited to 70 hours of work in an 8 day period. Other limits include the 11-hour driving limit and 14 hours working limit a day.
« Back to Glossary Index