Rivermate | Bosnia and Herzegovina flag

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Standard working hours

Bosnia and Herzegovina adheres to a 40-hour workweek as the standard for most employees. This framework is established within the legal code of the two entities that comprise Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska.

The Labour Law of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and the Law on Labour Relations of Republika Srpska (RS) both stipulate a maximum of 40 working hours per week. While a specific breakdown isn't mandated by law, the typical workweek is spread across five days, from Monday to Friday.

It's important to note that Collective Bargaining Agreements can supersede some aspects of the standard working hour regulations. Therefore, it's advisable to consult any applicable collective bargaining agreements that might be in place for your specific industry or company.


In Bosnia and Herzegovina, overtime work is permitted but with certain limitations and specific compensation rules. Employees can work overtime upon request, but the maximum allowed overtime is eight hours per week.

The specific overtime pay rate is not mandated by national law. Instead, it's determined through various means. These include collective bargaining agreements, which are negotiated between employers and employee unions to establish industry-specific overtime pay rates. It can also be determined by the employer's employment rulebooks, which are company-specific documents that might outline overtime pay rates. Lastly, an employee's individual employment contract might stipulate their overtime pay rate. Generally, overtime pay is higher than the regular hourly rate.

There are exceptions and limitations to these rules. Employers can request more than eight hours of weekly overtime in specific situations such as force majeure events, which include emergencies like fires, earthquakes, or floods, and extraordinary workload increases, which refer to significant, unexpected spikes in workload. Even in these exceptional circumstances, the total overtime cannot exceed 10 hours per week. The employer must notify the labor inspectorate if an employee works overtime for more than three consecutive weeks or ten weeks within a year.

Rest periods and breaks

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, rest periods and breaks for employees are guaranteed, providing them with ample time to recuperate during the workday and workweek.

Daily Rest Periods

Employees are entitled to a minimum uninterrupted daily rest period of at least 12 hours between two consecutive working days. This minimum rest period can be reduced to 10 hours for seasonal workers, provided they meet the appropriate age requirements according to labor regulations.

Breaks During the Workday

Employees who work for more than six hours a day are entitled to a break during the workday lasting for not less than 30 minutes. There might be flexibility in scheduling the break. The specific timing of the break can be defined in a collective agreement, employer's rulebook, or individual employment contract, as long as it adheres to the minimum 30-minute duration and doesn't count towards working hours.

Weekly Rest Period

Workers are entitled to a weekly rest period of at least 24 uninterrupted hours. This rest period is typically granted on Sundays. If an employee is required to work on their designated rest day, they are entitled to an alternative day of rest to be negotiated between the worker and the employer. This alternative rest period should be provided within a two-week timeframe.

Night shift and weekend regulations

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the regulations on night shift and weekend work are outlined in the Labour Law of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Night work is generally defined as work performed between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM the following day. However, in agriculture, night work starts at 10:00 PM and ends at 5:00 AM. Collective agreements or cantonal regulations may define different night work hours for specific situations.

If a job involves night shifts, the employer must create a shift schedule that ensures no employee works more than one consecutive week of night shifts. Night work is prohibited for certain protected groups. These include pregnant women starting in the sixth month of pregnancy, mothers and adoptive parents of children under two years old, and individuals legally entrusted with childcare of a child under two.

Night work is generally prohibited for minors. The specific timeframe defining night work for minors varies depending on the industry. In industry, night work for minors is between 7:00 PM and 7:00 AM. For minors employed outside of industry, night work falls between 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM.

Regarding weekend work, the Labour Law doesn't explicitly prohibit it. However, it guarantees employees the right to one uninterrupted rest period of at least 36 hours per week. This essentially restricts weekend work to a maximum of two days.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

We're here to help you on your global hiring journey.