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Congo (Democratic Republic of the)

Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Congo (Democratic Republic of the)

Standard working hours

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), legal limitations on working hours are established to ensure employee well-being. The Congolese Labor Code dictates a maximum workweek of 45 hours and a maximum workday of 9 hours. These regulations apply to every public or private establishment, including those directed towards education or charity. Importantly, there are no legal variations in these limits based on gender or job type.


In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), any work performed beyond the legal working hours of 45 hours per week or 9 hours per day is considered as overtime. There are exceptions for specific situations with pre-defined work schedules that exceed the daily limit but average to 45 hours per week.

While there's no explicit prohibition on mandatory overtime in the Congolese labor code, employers are encouraged to prioritize voluntary overtime whenever possible and avoid abusing this practice.

The DRC mandates increased compensation for overtime work, with the specific rate varying depending on the hours worked and the day involved:

  • For the first 6 hours of overtime in a week, employees receive a 30% increase on their base salary for each hour worked.
  • Overtime exceeding the first six hours in a week earns a 60% pay increase for each additional hour.
  • Working on the designated weekly rest day entitles employees to double their base salary for each overtime hour worked.

For example, if an employee works 54 hours in a week, exceeding the standard 45-hour limit by 9 hours:

  • For the first 6 hours of overtime (45 hours + 6 hours = 51 hours), they'd receive a 30% pay increase.
  • For the remaining 3 hours (51 hours + 3 hours = 54 hours), they'd earn a 60% pay increase.

Rest periods and breaks

Congolese labor law mandates rest periods and breaks for workers, ensuring they have time for recuperation and personal needs.

The cornerstone of worker rest is the weekly rest period. This period must be a minimum of 48 consecutive hours within a seven-day cycle. Ideally, this rest falls on Saturdays and Sundays, but exceptions can be negotiated through collective agreements.

The Congolese Labor Code doesn't explicitly mandate a set duration for daily breaks. However, work schedules are often structured with a lunch break, typically lasting one hour around midday. This practice allows for a period of rest and refreshment during the workday.

Certain sectors, like hotels and restaurants, may have different break structures due to the nature of their operations. These variations typically require approval from the labor inspectorate. The Labor Code offers additional protections for young workers who must receive a daily rest period of at least 11 hours. Unionized workplaces may have negotiated specific break schedules documented in their collective agreements.

Night shift and weekend regulations

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recognizes the challenging nature of night and weekend work and has established specific regulations to safeguard employee well-being during these periods.

Night work, as defined by the Congolese Labor Code, is any work carried out between 7:00 PM and 5:00 AM. While night work is allowed, employers must follow certain guidelines:

  • Prioritization: Night work should be voluntary whenever feasible. Employers are advised to prioritize regular working hours unless operational requirements necessitate night shifts.
  • Medical Examinations: Employees assigned to night shifts may be required to undergo regular medical examinations to evaluate their suitability for such work schedules.
  • Increased Compensation: There's no legal requirement for a specific night shift pay premium in the DRC. However, collective bargaining agreements may stipulate additional compensation for night work.

Weekend work typically refers to work performed on the designated weekly rest period, usually Saturday or Sunday. While the Congolese Labor Code guarantees a minimum of 48 consecutive hours of rest within a week, there are circumstances where weekend work may be required:

  • Essential Services: Certain sectors like healthcare or security may necessitate employees to work on weekends to maintain essential services.
  • Prior Approval: Weekend work requires prior authorization from the labor inspectorate, ensuring its justification and compliance with regulations.
  • Double Pay: Employees working on their designated weekly rest day are entitled to double their base salary for each hour worked. This enhanced compensation serves as an incentive for disruption of their rest period.
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