Your rights in December

To enjoy quality time over Christmas – and all year round – VR members are entitled to a minimum of 11 hours of rest a day. If 11 hours of rest is not possible, it shall be provided later. Thus, the so-called holiday entitlement is accumulated. For each hour that the 11-hour rest period is reduced, the employee accumulates 1.5 hours of daytime hours in accumulated holiday entitlement.

- - -

Below is a list of key items to keep in mind during the busy Christmas shopping period. If questions arise, employees of the Wage Terms Department are always ready to assist.

The telephone number is 510 1700 and e-mail: vr@vr.is.

December bonus

The December bonus to VR members shall be paid no later than 15 December and for full-time employment in 2019 is ISK 92,000. 

Public holidays during the festive season are:

After 12:00 on Christmas Eve (major public holiday)
Christmas Day (major public holiday)
Boxing Day (public holiday)
After 12:00 on New Year’s Eve (major public holiday)
New Year’s Day (major public holiday)

There is no obligation to work on these days, and employees shall keep their entire daytime salary.

It should also be mentioned that on the first working day after Christmas, daytime work in shops shall begin at 10:00.

Salary on public holidays

If an employee agrees to work on a public holiday, after-hours rates apply (overtime rates apply if this work is in excess of 171.15 hours for shop assistants) for work on public holidays and major public holiday rates apply on major public holidays.

Salaries are calculated as follows:

After-hours rates: 0.8235% of the monthly wages for regular day work.
Overtime rates: 1.0385% of the monthly wages for regular day work.
Major public holiday rates: 1.375% of the monthly wages for regular day work.
Night-time work: 0.8824% of the monthly wages for regular day work from 00:00–07:00.
The normal daytime salary of an employee in permanent and regular employment will remain unchanged.

Work on major public holidays

Work on major public holidays is work done on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Whit Sunday, 17 June, Shop and Office Workers’ holiday, Christmas Day and after 12:00 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Payment for all work done on major public holidays shall be made at hourly rates equivalent to 1.375% of monthly wages for daytime work.

Daily rest period

For every 24 hours, an employee is entitled to 11 hours of rest. It is not permitted, by law, to organise work in such a way that the working day is longer than 13 hours.

If 11 hours of rest is not possible, it shall be provided later. Thus, the so-called holiday entitlement is accumulated. For each hour that the 11-hour rest period is reduced, the employee accumulates 1.5 hours of daytime hours in accumulated holiday entitlement.

Example: An employee starts work at 08:00. He finishes work at 23:00 and returns to work at 08:00 the next day. Continuous rest between working days is only 9 hours. The rest time has, therefore, been reduced by 2 hours, and the employee concerned acquires a holiday entitlement of 3 hours as a result.

In all circumstances, it is prohibited to interfere with 8 hours of continuous rest.

Meal and coffee breaks

Lunch break: In the range of ½–1 hours (subject to agreement). The lunch break does not count towards working hours. Employees need to work at least 5 hours in order to acquire the right to breaks for lunch.

Evening break: 1 hour (between 19:00 and 20:00), and this counts towards worked hours. If the evening break or a part of it is worked, that part shall be paid as double salary. The right to evening break is based on at least 4.5 hours of work.

Coffee break: 35 minutes a day for shop assistants (15 min. for office workers) based on a full working day. It is provided in direct proportion to the working hours of part-time employees.

When work is done outside the daytime working period, the meal break shall be from 3:00–4:00 and coffee breaks from 22:00–22:20 and from 6:15–6:30.

On Þorláksmessa (23 December), however, a 20-minute refreshment break may be granted during the period from 21:40–22:20. The meal and coffee breaks listed above shall be counted as working time, and if employees work during them, then they shall receive pay for correspondingly longer periods of overtime work.

Recording working hours

During the busy period, it is good practise to record your working hours. In many cases, there is a considerable amount of extra work, and therefore, it is important to keep track of time records so that misunderstandings and mistakes in calculating salaries can be prevented.

Since most stores hire students temporarily during peak seasons, it is also important to reiterate these points with new colleagues.

Weekly day off

Work should be organised in such a way that each employee receives at least one weekly day off.

If an employee is required to work for 7 consecutive days, he is entitled to leave on a weekday in the following week without salary reduction.

Weekend work

When work is done on Saturdays and Sundays, payment shall be made for a minimum of 4 hours, even if the period worked is actually shorter.

What is your December bonus?

You can calculate your December bonus.

Everyone knows how busy it can be in shops before Christmas. This is often accompanied by a good atmosphere, but it can also be a heavy burden on employees. Employees in shops should remember that they are entitled to 11 hours of continuous rest a day. Also by law, work cannot be organised in such a way that the working day is longer than 13 hours.

Do you know about burnout?

When people are under severe and prolonged stress, at work or in their private life, there may be a so-called culmination, or burnout, as it is called English. Symptoms of burnout are both physical and psychological, including chronic fatigue, lack of energy, pain and depression. The symptoms of burnout are usually mild and manageable at first, but they gradually increase until an individual finds it difficult to have control of their environment and stops enjoying their work and daily live.