Counting variable items in Timmi Timesheet

Before you get started

The main difficulty in time management involves counting the variable items linked to the employee's working time. These variable remuneration items (or VRIs for short) include:

  • overtime
  • night hours
  • Sunday hours
  • hours worked on public holidays
  • on-call bonuses,
    etc.

In practice, the methods used to calculate these different VRIs are relatively standardized, but there is considerable diversity in the way they are combined within each company, and even for each population of employees within the same company.

Hours in excess of the reference schedule

The reference schedule represents the volume of working hours expected from a population of employees over a given period (week, month, year, etc.). This is the amount of work an employee must do in return for a fixed salary (not to be confused with legal working hours, which is the reference working hours defined in the Labor Code and equal to 35 hours per week).

The first type of VRI applies to hours worked in excess of this reference schedule.

This positive difference (it should be noted that a negative difference is fundamentally unusual in that it signals that the employee has not worked hard enough to deserve their fixed pay) can be treated in different ways depending on the contract type, but it always results in, more or less in the long term, monetary compensation or time off given to the employee.

In addition, this compensation is usually subject to an increased amount, i.e. an hour worked in excess of the reference schedule is remunerated at a higher rate than an hour worked within the reference schedule. This is the essential driving force behind the switch to a 35-hour week: overtime has to be made sufficiently expensive for the employer to consider opening a new position, rather than asking existing employees to do more work.

In the classic case provided for by the Labor Code (CDT), for which the reference schedule is the legal schedule, the hours actually worked each week in excess of 35 hours are subject to an increase of 25% up to the 43rd hour worked, and 50% after that. In this example, the 36th hour for an employee whose hourly rate is €10 is paid at €12.50, and the 44th hour is paid at €15.

Note that overtime is paid at its base rate (€10) as an hour of work not covered by fixed remuneration, as well as its increase, expressed as a percentage of its base rate (25% of €10). Later, we will see why this is important.

Overtime can be redeemed in the form of monetary compensation or time off, often referred to as "recovery".

The choice is sometimes left to the employee, with a distinction being made between the part corresponding to the base and the part corresponding to the increased amount (recovery of the base and payment of the increased amount, for example). In all cases, any increased amounts must be applied.

Finally, it should be noted that different types of contract involve different treatment of overtime: with or without increased amounts, modulation, annualization, etc. In most cases, these differences are due to the frequency overtime is calculated, which differs from the weekly frequency specified in the Labor Code. 

Between reference and legal working hours: comp days and structural overtime

Although the Aubry law changed the legal working week to 35 hours, it is common for a company's employees to be asked to work more hours. In this case, hours worked in excess of this limit are still considered as overtime. For example, if the company has a reference working week of 39 hours, employees will work 4 hours overtime each week. These overtime hours may be remunerated or be subject to comp days.

When paid, these hours are known as "structural overtime", and their remuneration is integrated into the fixed part of the employee's salary, smoothing them out over the year. In our example, this would be (4 hours * 52 weeks)/12 months = 17.33 hours. They will have to be increased.

But they can also be compensated in the form of additional days of paid leave (JRTT).

For example, employees working 39 hours a week over 5 days, i.e. 39/5 = 7.8 hours a day, will work 365 days a year - 104 days of weekly rest - 25 days of paid leave - 8 days of public holidays = 228 days.

These 228 days represent 228/5 (days per week) = 45.6 working weeks.

Employees will therefore work (39- 35) x 45.6 = 182.4 hours overtime over the year.

However, these 182.4 hours represent 182.4/7.8 = 23.38 days of overtime.

And therefore as many comp days in the year, which will be rounded up to the next day or half-day, depending on the contract.

Of course, in this case, overtime bonuses will not apply, since comp days are designed to neutralize overtime: they should be seen as a kind of recovery planned in advance to avoid overtime bonuses. 

Overtime without increased hourly rates

Still within the framework of the Labor Code, not every deviation is eligible for an increased amount. In fact, at least for full-time employees, only hours worked in excess of the legal working hours must be compensated. However, it is possible for an employee to work more hours than planned, without triggering overtime pay.

For example, an employee working a 35-hour week would take a day off (i.e. 7 hours) on Thursday, and work an extra hour on Friday (i.e. 8 hours instead of 7).

Although they justified working one hour more (29 hours of actual work and 7 hours of leave) than their reference schedule for the week, their actual working time did not exceed the 35-hour mark. This difference corresponds to overtime without additional hourly rates, sometimes referred to as "complementary hours" (which is normally the term reserved for overtime for part-time workers). 

Actual working time

Note that the Labor Code actually specifies that the working time to be counted in calculating overtime is "actual working time", a concept defined as follows "time during which an employee or public servant is available to the employer or administration and complies with their instructions, without being free to pursue personal interests".

The important thing to remember is that actual working time is sometimes different from attendance time (which is the time counted by Timmi Timesheet). In fact, some collective agreements specify the inclusion of non-attendance time as actual working time. More specifically, the following are generally considered as actual work:

  • delegation hours for employee representatives,
  • pre-recruitment medical check-ups and mandatory medical examinations,
  • training time at the employer's request or as part of a work-study contract,
  • time devoted to the right to freedom of expression,
  • time spent in negotiation meetings in the company,
  • compensatory time off (recovery) and mandatory compensatory time off in lieu,
  • absences for family events (births, weddings, etc.)

In addition, unless otherwise agreed (company agreement, collective agreement), the following periods are in principle excluded from actual working time:

  • break and meal times,
  • commuting time,
  • on-call time,
  • shower time,
  • dressing and undressing times,
  • clocking-in and clocking-out operations,
  • public holidays

When these events are more related to absence than attendance, they are generally managed in Timmi Absences. Nevertheless, in order to be able to count them in Timmi Timesheet, VRI rules can recover the duration of these absences. To do this, set the corresponding absence accounts as "considered as actual working time" and select "actual working time" in the Timmi Timesheet overtime rule.

Hours outside regular working hours

Here, it is not the difference between the total volume of hours worked and the reference schedule that interests us, but work outside of the traditional schedule. These include, for example, hours worked at night, on a Sunday or on a public holiday.

The Labor Code and collective agreements often consider that these hours should also be compensated, in view of the hardship they entail. Note that in this case, the base for this hour (€10 as in the previous example) is not payable as VRI, but only its increased amount (€2.50 in the case of a 25% increase).

This hour is either included in the "fixed" reference working hours, in which case it is remunerated via the employee's salary; or it is treated as overtime, and paid or recovered as such.

This type of VRI, corresponding to "atypical events in relation to the employee's schedule", therefore requires the payment of only the increased amounts.

Cumulative increased amounts

Some work hours may be eligible for more than one increase. For example, an hour worked on the night of a Sunday public holiday. As a general rule, these hours should give entitlement to all three increased amounts, but sometimes certain collective or company agreements stipulate that in these situations the increased amounts should not be cumulative, but exclusive or combined.

It is sometimes agreed that only the most beneficial increased amount should be used, or that the two increased amounts should be combined to form a third increased amount, which is not the sum of the two.

These increased amount exclusions must be managed in accordance with the "non-accumulation of increased amounts" rule.

In some cases, this type of cumulative exclusion is provided for overtime. For example, this is the case with the National Collective Agreement for public sector workers: "increases for overtime, exceptional night work and exceptional work on Sundays and public holidays are not cumulative.

Only the most beneficial will be applied". In this case, do not forget to treat the overtime base correctly, even if it means distinguishing between "VRI increased amounts only" and "increased amounts + base" accounts.

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