Apply for a derogation from the rules on the rest period

Under certain conditions, the State Office for Environmental and Occupational Safety may, upon application, grant rest periods deviating from working time regulations.

In the following constellations, you can apply to the State Office for Environmental and Occupational Safety for approval of a derogation from the working time regulations on the rest period, according to which employees must have an uninterrupted rest period of at least eleven hours after the end of daily working hours:

§ 15 Abs. 1 Nr. 3 Arbeitszeitgesetz (ArbZG):
The State Office for Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health may grant a duration and location of the rest period in the public service that deviates from the regulations on working time (§§ 5 and 11 para. 2 of the Working Time Act) if the employees are employed on standby, on-call duty and on-call service.
The public service is the administrations and enterprises of the Federal Government, the Länder, the municipalities and the other bodies, institutions and foundations under public law. These include federal and state ministries, their subordinate authorities, the administrations of the district governments or government presidencies, other authorities and the administrations of the municipalities.
Companies and companies in which the public sector holds the majority, but which, like any other company, are market-economically active (fiscal enterprises) cannot receive an exemption permit.


§ 15 Abs. 1 Nr. 4 Arbeitszeitgesetz (ArbZG):
A different rest period can also be granted in shift operations in order to be able to carry out a regular weekly shift change.
The exemption is only permitted twice within three weeks and is valid for the rest period after working days as well as after Sunday and public holiday work.

You are not entitled to an exemption. The decision of the State Office for Environmental and Occupational Safety is made at its dutiful discretion. In the context of this Decision, a balance is struck between interests relating to the protection of the safety and health of workers and the industrial interests of the employer.

- for an exemption pursuant to § 15 (1) no. 3 of the Working Time Act (ArbZG):

  • Detailed information on the activity, the number of employees for whom a permit is to be granted and the design of the on-call plans
  • Contact person with contact details
  • Risk assessment (especially with regard to psychological stress due to the deviating situation of the travel time)
  • Statement of the company doctor
  • Opinion of the works council (if any)
  • Proof that a flexible deployment of employees must be necessary either for reasons of public safety and order or services of general interest
  • Schedules for night shifts, from which in particular the break possibilities can be seen

- for an exemption pursuant to § 15 (1) no. 4 of the Working Time Act (ArbZG):

  • Detailed information on activity, number of employees for whom a permit is to be granted and design of the shift schedules, contact person with contact details
  • Risk assessment (especially with regard to psychological stress due to the deviating rest periods)
  • Statement of the company doctor
  • Opinion of the works council (if any)
  • Proof that the deviating rest period enables a regular weekly shift change
  • Schedules for night shifts, from which in particular the break possibilities can be seen
  • Forms: none
  • Online procedure possible: yes
  • Written form required: no
  • Personal appearance required: no

Preconditions

  • for an exemption according to § 15 Abs. 1 Nr. 3 Arbeitszeit-Gesetz (ArbZG): An exemption permit is only considered if the employees are employed with work readiness, on-call services and on-call duty in the public sector. The authorisation must take into account the special features of a corresponding claim in the public sector. These special features are characterized by the fact that a flexible deployment of employees must be necessary either for reasons of public security and order or for security purposes.
  • for an exemption according to § 15 Abs. 1 Nr. 4 Arbeitszeit-Gesetz (ArbZG): An exemption permit is only considered for shift companies that want to enable a regular weekly shift change. The permit can only be granted twice within 3 weeks.
  • In both cases, the granting of a different rest period depends on the circumstances of the individual case. It is crucial that the health of the workers is not adversely affected. An exemption can only be granted if, in the context of a balancing exercise between interests relating to the protection of the safety and health of employees and the industrial interests of the employer, the latter prevail.

Hints

In order to simplify communication and speed up the procedure, you should appoint a contact person in your company when submitting the application and provide their contact details.

Related Links

  • § 15 Working Time Act (ArbZG)

Since the exemption can only be granted on application, you must submit a corresponding application to the State Office for Environmental and Occupational Safety and Attach all the documents required for a decision on your application.
The documents submitted by you will be checked for completeness and conclusiveness and, if necessary, documents will be requested.
If you meet all the requirements, the permit can be granted. You will then receive a corresponding approval notice.
In the event that the conditions are not met, a negative decision will be issued.


Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Gender Equality

Last update or date of publication
07.06.2021