Do you have countless questions regarding the shortened working week, but do not know where you should start?

Here you can find various questions that VR’s Employment Terms Department has collected from its members and companies.

If you have queries but cannot find the answers here, you can send us questions at the e-mail address vr@vr.is.

What is the shortening of the working week?

The shortening of the working week for VR members is 9 mins per day, 45 minutes a week or 3 hours and 15 minutes a month without any decrease in wages.

The working hours for office workers per month therefore changes from 162 hours and 30 minutes (162.5) per month to 159 hours and 16 minutes (159.27) per month. For those who have been working 171 hours and 9 minutes (171.15) per month, then 100% will work 167 and 56 minutes working hours (167.94).

Why was 9 minutes a day agreed upon; where does that figure come from?

Agreements were reached between the parties for 45 minutes a week. 45 minutes a week equals 9 minutes a day. We would have liked to have negotiated further shortening of the working hours, and we hope to do so in the next round of agreements.

Does everyone have to have the same arrangement in the workplace for shortening the working week?

The shortening of the working hours may be individual, tied to departments/jobs or the same for the entire workplace. It all depends on the nature of each operation and the arrangement that is made at each workplace.

Should a company negotiate the implementation with each department, each individual or the company as a whole?

It is up to each company to decide on the implementation. In some cases, it may be appropriate for it to be implemented according to the job description of the individual, department or the same methodology across the entire company.

Can the agreement between the parties be changed?

According to Article 2.1.11, of the collective wage agreement, it is permissible, due to organisational changes and necessary workplace co-ordination to make changes, and these shall be notified to the employee with at least one month’s notice.

If individuals are interested in reviewing the agreement, it is recommended to discuss such things at e.g. an employee interview, with a supervisor or in agreement with colleagues within the division.

Does my monthly salary change with the shortening of the work week?

No, the monthly salary remains unchanged whether you work 9 minutes less a day, 45 minutes less a week, 3 hours and 15 minutes less per month or you accumulate the shortened working hours for later.

What will change for shop assistants after 1 January 2020?

Working hours are shortened by 9 min per day, or 3 hours 15 minutes per month, without any reduction in wages.

What will change for office workers after 1 January 2020?

Working hours are shortened by 9 min per day, or 3 hours 15 minutes per month, without any reduction in wages.

I am part-time? Am I entitled to a shortening of the work week?

Yes, you are entitled to a shortened work week if you are in a permanent and regular part-time job. You are entitled to a shortened work week in proportion to the % of your employment.

The shortening of the work week amounts to 9 mins per day, based on a full working day, equal to 45 minutes a week or 3 hours and 15 minutes a month without any decrease in wages.

If you work, for example, 50%, then the shortening of your work week is 4.5 minutes a day, over 22 minutes a week or 1 hour and 37 minutes a month, with no decrease in wage.

If it is not possible for you to receive the reduction, then your employment rate will increase based on the new dividing figure, and wages paid will increase accordingly.

My employer says I cannot shorten my work hours; can he prevent me from doing so?

According to the collective wage agreement, the attendance requirement of employees shall be shortened by 9 mins per day, 45 minutes a week or 3 hours and 15 minutes a month without any decrease in wages.

If the parties do not reach an agreement before 1 December, concerning the way in which the working hours’ reduction comes into effect, the working hours of an employee is reduced by 9 minutes per day based on full-time work, without any reduction in wages. As a result, the employee changes to an overtime rate 3 hours and 15 minutes earlier than before if the work hours are unchanged.

I work only on weekends and at night, how will the shortened working hours be implemented for me?

You will move to overtime rates sooner from 1 January 2020, i.e. 3 hours and 15 min earlier than before.

I get paid a so-called exempt salary because I don't get paid extra for overtime worked. How does the shortened work week affect me?

The employee retains the same exempt salary after the change, but the working day is shortened by about 9 minutes a day based on 100% work. The implementation of the shortened work week should be negotiated before 1 December.

I receive market wages, and I negotiate my working hours and wages myself. How will the shortening of the work week affect me?

In the last collective wage agreement, it was agreed that employees should receive the equivalent of 9 mins per day, 45 minutes a week or 3 hours and 15 minutes a month without any decrease in wages.

VR members should enjoy these terms and thus also those that receive market wages.

How does the shortening of work hours affect those that have flexible working hours?

Those who have agreed on flexible working hours have a certain number of hours to be delivered per month. For a 100% employment, the month should be shortened by 3 hours and 15 minutes a month without any wage reduction.

I am paid hourly; does that change anything?

Yes, the hourly pay that you received before 1 January 2020 should be calculated to a monthly wage and multiplied by 160 for office workers and 170 for shop assistants.

The result is then divided by the new dividing figure, which is 167.94 for shop assistants and 159.27 for office workers. This must be done, as VR’s collective wage agreements assume that a monthly salary is negotiated and a monthly salary does not change even though months can be different lengths or the number of working days can be different due to compulsory holidays.

Alternative methodologies can be used, but then the hourly daytime work hours increases by 0.46% for office workers and 1.23% for retail. This only applies if you have agreed on an hourly wage for daytime work that is higher than the wage rate according to collective wage agreement.

In addition, you will receive the overtime rate paid sooner, i.e. after 167.94 hours for shop assistants and after 159.27 hour for office workers.

I can, according to the provisions of the collective wage agreement, accumulate the working hours over the year; how does this work?

In such cases, it is important to keep track of the accumulation. You continue the same work arrangements but accumulate 3 hours and 15 minutes of leave per month for use later. When you take your holiday, you must ensure that those hours or days are not confused with earned and accumulated leave. When the accumulated shortened working hours are taken as holiday, you will receive a standard monthly salary based on the agreed and your normal employment percentage.

Will the shortening of work hours affect holiday accumulation?

No, not regarding the accumulation of days, i.e. the accumulation of each holiday year is unchanged for a minimum of 24 holiday days. See further in Chapter 4 of the collective wage agreement concerning employees’ holiday rights.

What is changing is the accumulation of holiday hours, where the daily work obligation becomes 9 minutes shorter as of 1 January 2020.

Example:
Accumulated holiday hours for shop assistants for 100% daytime work per month is now 17.29 but will be 17.08, based on 24 days of holiday entitlement.

Accumulated holiday hours for office workers for 100% daytime work per month is now 16.27 but will be 16.20, based on 24 days of holiday entitlement.

Does the shortening of working hours affect my sickness leave rights?

No.

If I collect leave due to the shortening of the work week, when will I get paid overtime?

If you keep unchanged working hours and work in excess of them, you will be paid overtime in the same way as before. Cumulative hours due to the reduction in working hours are taken out later at another time on daytime wages rate without any wage reduction.

I work as a receptionist on shifts; how does the shortening of the work week affect me?

You are entitled to 3 hours and 15 minute reduction per month that in your case is not calculated as a 9 minutes per shift because you work fewer working days per month, around 15.15 shifts instead of working all weekdays, i.e. on average 21.67 days per month. Therefore, you earn a relatively longer reduction on each shift than per month; the working hours reduction is the same as for those who work all weekdays, 13 minutes for each shift based on an average 15.15 shifts a month based on 100% work.

You work some hours that are more valuable than others in the reception, so if you have accumulated hours with a 33% premium, you should have these paid out with the same premium when you use them for leave.

I work according to 2-2-3 work arrangements, and therefore, I do not work every weekday, will I also receive a 3 hour and 15 minute reduction each month?

Yes, you will receive the 3 hours and 15 minutes shortening of the work week per month if you work 100%. Your reduction does not occur as a 9-minute reduction of your workday, but as just under 13 minutes when you work 15.15 days on average during a month, but not 21.67 days as with an employee working every weekday.

I want to shorten my working hours even further and skip my coffee break; how does that work?

Parties can agree to skip the coffee break agreed upon in the collective wage agreement. The length of the coffee break varies depending on whether you are an office worker or shop assistant. The implementation of the working hours reduction is a matter of agreement within each workplace.

When negotiating coffee breaks, actual working hours shall be used. Actual working hours for office workers are 153.86 or 153 hours and 52 minutes and for shop assistants 155.3 or 155 hours and 18 minutes a month. Overtime is then paid for all hours beyond this.

The implementation can be implemented in many different ways, e.g. an employee leaves earlier each day, quits earlier or starts later 1x a week, every other week, or collects sold coffee break hour to take at a later date. It is important to keep track of your accumulated free time if the time is not used within the month.

If I skip coffee breaks, when will overtime start being paid?

For all hours worked in an office in excess of 154.86 or 153 hours, 52 minutes hours per month or for shop assistants for any time in excess of 155.3 or 155 hours, 18 mintes, i.e. based on actual worked hours.

How does shortening the work week affect overtime?

Overtime is paid 3 hours and 15 minutes earlier per month.

The working hours for office workers is every weekday from 08.00 to 16:00, in total 8 hours, and the meal time at lunch is not subtracted. How does the shortening of the work week affect us?

Personal employment contracts for paid meal times do not affect the working time reduction; you should receive it in the same way as others.

The shortening of the working week for VR members is 9 mins per day, 45 minutes a week or 3 hours and 15 minutes a month without any decrease in wages.

The working hours per month for office workers therefore change from 162 hours and 30 minutes (162.5) per month to 159 hours and 16 minutes (159.27) per month.

How the reduction of working hours is implemented needs to be agreed upon by all parties before 1 December.

The working hours in warehouses or in shops is every weekday from 08.00 to 17:00, in total 9 hours, and the meal time at lunch is not subtracted. How does the shortening of the work week affect us?

Personal employment contracts for paid meal times do not affect the working time reduction; you should receive it in the same way as others.

The shortening of the working week for VR members is 9 mins per day, 45 minutes a week or 3 hours and 15 minutes a month without any decrease in wages.

Working hours per month for shop assistants / warehouse workers therefore change from 171 hours and 9 minutes (171.15) per month to 169 hours and 16 minutes (169.94) per month. How the reduction of working hours is implemented needs to be agreed upon by all parties before 1 December.

Shortening of the working week