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Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Afghanistan

Standard working hours

In Afghanistan, labor laws provide a structure for working hours to ensure fair treatment for employees. The Afghan Labor Code sets a maximum of 40 working hours per week, averaged across the workweek. This means employers cannot schedule employees for more than an average of 8 hours per day.

The Labor Code also mandates reduced working hours for specific categories of employees. Youths aged between 15 and 18 years old, pregnant women, and those engaged in strenuous or hazardous work are all subject to a maximum of 35 hours per week. For those involved in strenuous or hazardous work, the maximum is further reduced to 30 hours per week. These reduced working hours aim to protect vulnerable workers from overexertion.


Afghanistan's labor laws provide clear guidelines for overtime work, safeguarding employee rights and ensuring fair compensation.

Overtime work is only permissible under specific circumstances. Firstly, it requires the employee's agreement. Employers cannot force employees to work overtime. Secondly, overtime may be necessary to complete essential services crucial for public welfare.

However, the Labor Code prohibits overtime work for certain categories of employees, including those involved in strenuous or hazardous work, pregnant women, and women with children under 2 years old.

Even with consent and under permitted circumstances, there are limitations on overtime work. Overtime hours cannot exceed the average working hours per day. This translates to a maximum of 4 hours of overtime daily, assuming an 8-hour workday.

The Labor Code mandates fair compensation for overtime work. Employees are entitled to receive an additional payment of 25% of their regular wage for overtime work performed on weekdays. Overtime work performed on public holidays or national holidays requires a 50% increase in regular wages on top of the base wage.

These regulations ensure that employees are adequately compensated for the extra time and effort invested during overtime work.

Rest periods and breaks

Afghanistan's Labor Code ensures rest periods and breaks for employees, contributing to worker well-being and enhanced productivity.

The cornerstone of rest periods in Afghanistan is the mandatory weekly rest day. This designated day, typically Friday, allows employees a full day of rest with pay.

The Labor Code also acknowledges the significance of breaks throughout the workday. It stipulates a combined prayer and meal break of one hour. This break is not counted as working time and is regulated by the internal rules of each organization. This allows for flexibility based on industry and employee needs while ensuring a dedicated break period.

While the Labor Code specifies a one-hour combined break, the specific allocation for prayer and meal times can be determined by internal company regulations as long as the total break duration remains one hour.

Additional considerations include:

  • The Labor Code currently does not have specific regulations on mandated rest periods within the workday beyond the combined prayer and meal break. However, some industries may have specific regulations or collective bargaining agreements that address this aspect.
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers may be entitled to additional breaks as needed based on their specific requirements.

Night shift and weekend regulations

In Afghanistan, the Labor Code recognizes the challenging nature of night and weekend work and has established regulations to safeguard employee well-being and ensure fair treatment.

Night shift workers are entitled to reduced working hours, with a maximum limit of 35 hours per week. This regulation acknowledges the potential strain of working during night hours. To compensate for the disruption to normal sleep patterns, night shift workers are entitled to a wage supplement on top of their regular pay. The supplement amount is 15% for Service and Administrative Staff and 25% for Production Workers.

Afghan Labor Law mandates a weekly rest day, typically Friday, for all employees. This ensures a full day of rest and recuperation after the workweek. While weekend work is generally discouraged, overtime work on weekends may be necessary in specific situations. However, such overtime work comes with a higher compensation rate. Employees working overtime on public holidays, which often fall on weekends, are entitled to a 50% increase in their regular wage on top of their base salary.

The specific hours constituting a night shift are determined by the internal labor rules of each organization. This allows for some flexibility based on industry needs. Night shift workers are generally prohibited from working overtime due to the already demanding nature of their work schedule. This safeguards their health and well-being.

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