Change from winter time to summer time

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

We enter summer time on Sunday, 28 March 2021. This means putting the clocks forward an hour (at 2 am it will actually be 3 am).

The change to summer time can create problems in calculating the pay of some categories of worker.

Collective Agreement No. 30 of 28.03.1977 concluded in the National Labour Council governs the problem of calculating the pay of shift workers who are not paid on a monthly flat rate basis.

Principles

The broad principles of the Collective Agreement are.

- If the organization of work allows it, shift changeovers must be arranged so that the shift which worked only 7 hours (or less) when the clocks went forward (i.e., Sunday, 28 March 2021) should work longer than the normal daily working hours when the clocks go back for winter time (i.e., in the night of Saturday to Sunday, 31 October 2021). These workers will therefore be working 2 normal work days during these 2 nights and must be paid for two normal working days.

This is because payment of a normal work day’s pay for 7 hours of actual work or less (being done when the clocks go forward on 28 March 2021) is to be seen as including an advance payment of the "extra work" that will be done when the clocks go back to winter time in the night of Saturday to Sunday, 31 October 2021.

- If the organization of work does not allow the above to be done, the arrangements below should be made:

  • workers employed for 7 hours (or less) during the change to summer time (i.e., Sunday, 28 March 2021) must be paid a normal day’s pay;
  • workers employed during the change to winter time for a period longer than a normal day must be paid for the time actually worked.

Example

A firm works a 3 shift system (A, B and C), each shift working an 8-hour day.

Shift B will be the night shift when the clocks go forward for summer time (the night of Saturday to Sunday, 28 March 2021). They will therefore have been employed for 7 hours, but will be paid for 8 hours’ work.

There are two possibilities when the clocks go back to winter time:

  • Shift B also works the night shift: the workers will be employed for 9 hours but paid only for 8 hours’ work (the 9th hour having already been pre-paid on the change to summer time); or
  • Shift A or C works the night shift: the workers will be employed for 9 hours and will be paid for 9 hours’ work.

Summary table

Night shift on the two "time changes"

Number of hours paid on the change to summer time (for 7 hours’ actual work)

Number of hours paid on the change to winter time (for 9 hours’ actual work)

Same shift

8

8

Different shift

8

9

 

Source: Collective Agreement No. 30 of 28 March 1977 on the problems of payment to certain workers for the changes to summer and winter time, made mandatory by Royal Decree of 16 July 1998, Moniteur belge 11 August 1998.

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