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Central African Republic

Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Central African Republic

Standard working hours

In the Central African Republic (CAR), standard working hours are regulated by the country's Labour Code (Law No. 09.004 portant Code du Travail de la Republique Centrafricaine, of 29 January 2009). The standard workweek in the CAR is set at a maximum of 40 hours. This applies to most employees in non-agricultural establishments, regardless of whether they are public, private, secular, or religious, including educational institutions and voluntary work settings.

There are exceptions to the 40-hour limit, which may not apply to certain sectors with specific regulations. If your work falls outside the typical non-agricultural category, it's crucial to consult the relevant industry codes or seek legal advice.

While the Labour Code establishes the framework, individual employment contracts can specify working hours within the legal limits. Therefore, it's essential to review your employment contract for details regarding your specific work schedule.


In the Central African Republic, the Labour Code outlines regulations for overtime work. The key points are as follows:

  • Employees are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked that exceed the standard workweek limitations. This means overtime starts after 40 hours (or 48 hours in agriculture) have been completed in a week.
  • There's a legal limit on total working hours, including overtime. This limit is set at 48 hours per week.
  • The specific rate for overtime pay isn't directly stated in the Labour Code. The Code defers to collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) or ministerial orders to determine the minimum overtime pay rate.

Rest periods and breaks

In the Central African Republic, the Labour Code outlines legal requirements regarding rest periods and breaks for workers.

Regarding weekly rest, it is mandatory for workers to have a rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours. Ideally, this rest period should fall on Sunday and cannot be replaced with financial compensation. By law, apprentices cannot be required to work on Sundays.

As for daily breaks, mothers returning to work within 15 months after childbirth are entitled to paid breastfeeding breaks of up to one hour per day. The specific timing of these breaks can be agreed upon between the employer and the employee. If no agreement is reached, the breaks should be distributed in the middle of each half of the workday.

Night shift and weekend regulations

Night work in the Central African Republic is defined as any work performed between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am. Night shift hours contribute to the total working hours. While the Labour Code doesn't explicitly require premium pay for night shifts, collective bargaining agreements in certain sectors may include such provisions. There might also be specific health and safety regulations for night shift work depending on the industry.

As for weekend work, the law mandates a weekly rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours, ideally falling on Sundays. Working on Sundays is generally discouraged and cannot be compensated financially. However, there might be exceptions to weekend work restrictions in certain circumstances. The Labour Code allows for exemptions but doesn't elaborate on the specific situations. It's possible that certain essential service sectors, like healthcare or security, may require employees to work on weekends. Collective bargaining agreements might outline exceptions for weekend work in specific industries.

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