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Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Bolivia

Standard working hours

In Bolivia, the labor framework is designed to strike a balance between productivity and worker well-being, with clear regulations regarding standard working hours. According to the General Labor Law, a standard workweek is defined as 48 hours, spread across a maximum of six working days. This equates to an eight-hour workday from Monday to Saturday. It's important to note that this is the maximum limit for standard working hours. Employers cannot require employees to work more than 48 hours per week.

The Law also establishes a shorter workweek for female employees, who are legally entitled to a maximum of 40 hours per week. This differentiation is intended to acknowledge potential childcare or family responsibilities that may disproportionately affect female workers.

While the Law sets the standard, there may be some flexibility within individual employment contracts. However, such variations cannot exceed the legal maximums of 48 hours per week for male employees and 40 hours per week for female employees.

Certain sectors with inherently different work patterns, such as security or healthcare, might have negotiated alternative working hour arrangements through collective bargaining agreements. However, these agreements must still comply with the standard working hours if they surpass the standard limits.


In Bolivia, the General Labor Law outlines the regulations and compensation for overtime work, ensuring fair treatment for employees who work beyond standard hours. Here's a breakdown of the key points:

Overtime applies to any work performed in excess of the legal standard working hours. This includes situations where employees work more than eight hours per day or more than 48 hours per week. The daily overtime limit is not explicitly stated in the General Labor Law, but is established through Ministry of Labor regulations at a maximum of two hours per day. Employers cannot require employees to work overtime beyond this daily limit.

The Law mandates that overtime work be compensated with an additional salary of 100% on top of the regular wage. This means employees must be paid double their regular hourly rate for each hour worked overtime.

Working on weekends and public holidays attracts the same 100% extra pay for overtime hours. There's no additional premium pay on top of the standard overtime rate for working these days.

Employers are required to maintain clear records of employee overtime hours worked. These records are crucial for ensuring accurate overtime pay calculations and compliance with labor regulations.

The Law empowers employees to refuse unreasonable overtime demands. However, employers can potentially impose disciplinary actions if the refusal disrupts essential services. It's advisable for both employers and employees to maintain open communication regarding overtime expectations.

Rest periods and breaks

In Bolivia, labor law mandates rest periods and breaks for workers to ensure their well-being and productivity.

Daily Rest Breaks

For general workers, the General Labour Act stipulates a mandatory rest break after every five hours of work. There's a maximum limit of two hours for these breaks per day.

The daily rest period (lunch break) is not explicitly defined for general workers. However, the two-hour maximum for breaks suggests a typical lunch break duration.

Weekly Rest Day

Bolivian workers have the legal right to one paid weekly rest day. This day off is separate from, and in addition to, the daily rest breaks.


There might be exceptions to the above for specific professions or work arrangements. It's always best to consult the Bolivian General Labour Act or seek guidance from the Ministry of Labor for comprehensive and up-to-date information.

Night shift and weekend regulations

In Bolivia, labor law provides protection for workers performing night shifts and weekend work.

Night work is defined as any work performed between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00. Night shifts cannot exceed 7 hours per night. Night shift workers are entitled to a night shift premium. The specific amount is determined by collective bargaining agreements or company policy, but it must be at least 25% higher than the regular wage. Pregnant women, workers under 18, and people with disabilities cannot be employed in night shifts without their express consent and a medical certificate (LGL Art. 43).

Weekends in Bolivia consist of Sundays and legal holidays. In general, Sunday work is prohibited. However, there are exceptions for certain sectors deemed essential, such as hospitals, security services, and public transportation. Workers required to work on Sundays must be granted a compensatory rest day within the following week. If compensatory rest is not possible, workers must be paid double their regular wage for work performed on Sundays.

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