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Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Djibouti

Standard working hours

In Djibouti, the Labour Code outlines the regulations for the typical workweek for most employees. The standard workweek is set at a maximum of 48 hours, spread over six days. This translates to an average of eight hours per day. The Labour Code is a primary legal document outlining employment regulations in Djibouti.

While the 48-hour limit is the norm, there are some exceptions. Specific industries, particularly those with continuous operations, may be subject to different working hour regulations outlined in sectoral agreements.


Overtime work is a common practice in Djibouti, regulated by law to protect employees. Here's a breakdown of the rules and compensation for overtime work, referencing relevant Djiboutian legislation:

Any work exceeding the standard work hours falls under overtime work. There are exceptions for certain industries that may have different standard working hours, but these should be outlined in a relevant collective bargaining agreement.

Employers can require employees to work overtime, but with limitations:

  • Maximum Mandatory Overtime: The Djiboutian Labour Code permits employers to mandate a maximum of 5 hours of overtime per week, per employee. This limit applies proportionally to part-time workers based on their contracted hours.
  • Exceptions for Mandatory Overtime: Employers can also request overtime in specific situations:
    • Urgent situations where work cannot be postponed.
    • Responding to accidents or emergencies.
    • Completing preparatory or complementary tasks essential for company operations.
  • Employee Right to Refuse: Importantly, employees have the right to refuse overtime work if they choose to.

Overtime work is compensated at a higher rate than regular wages:

  • Standard Overtime Rate: The first two hours of overtime are typically paid at 150% of the employee's regular hourly rate.
  • Increased Overtime Rate: Any hours worked beyond the initial two hours of overtime are compensated at 200% of the regular hourly rate.

These rates may be subject to negotiation or alteration based on a collective bargaining agreement within a specific industry.

Additional regulations include:

  • Total Working Hours Limit: The total working hours, including overtime, cannot exceed a certain limit per week and per day.
  • Record Keeping: Employers are required to maintain accurate records of employee overtime hours worked and the corresponding overtime pay provided.

Rest periods and breaks

In Djibouti, labor laws ensure that workers are entitled to designated periods for rest and breaks during their workday.

The law mandates a weekly rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours. Ideally, this rest period should fall on Fridays.

On a daily basis, workers are guaranteed a minimum of one hour of unpaid rest break during each workday.

However, there are exceptions to these daily breaks. For instance, decrees may exist for specific industries or job types that require continuous operations across three work shifts. In such cases, the mandated rest break may not apply.

Additionally, if a written agreement exists between the employer and employee, the mandated rest break may be waived in a two-shift system. Even in such scenarios, workers are still entitled to refreshments or a rest period determined by management during work hours.

Night shift and weekend regulations

In Djibouti, labor laws provide a structure for night and weekend work, safeguarding employee rights and detailing employer duties. Here are the main regulations:

Night work is defined as work carried out between 10 pm and 5 am, although these hours can change depending on the season. Employers can ask for night work as overtime, with a limit of 5 hours per week for each employee. This limit is further reduced proportionally for part-time workers. There is a total working hour limit, including overtime, of 60 hours per week and 12 hours per day, ensuring that night shifts do not result in excessive working hours.

As for weekend work, Djibouti's labor laws do not explicitly forbid it, suggesting that weekend work is allowed under certain conditions. Weekend work likely falls under overtime regulations. Employers can request it within the 5-hour weekly limit, provided the reasons outlined for overtime during weekdays apply. Certain sectors or industries might have specific regulations regarding weekend work. To determine exceptions for specific industries, it would be necessary to consult relevant Djiboutian labor codes.

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