Working hours

During the COVID-19 crisis period, and in compliance with instructions on COVID-19-related health and safety measures published by the HSE unit, members of the personnel may choose to stagger their working hours by up to 1.5 hours with respect to CERN's normal working hours to avoid peak hours. This means that they may choose to work from 7 am until 4 pm (with a one-hour lunch break) or from 10 am until 7 pm (with a one-hour lunch break) (and any other work pattern between those two extremes) while still being considered working normal working hours. They must discuss the compatibility of the desired working hours beforehand with their supervisor and obtain their supervisor's agreement in writing by e-mail.

Special working hours are defined in Chapter III, Section 1 of the Staff Regulations and in Administrative Circular No. 23.

The reference working week shall be 40 hours and the reference working day shall be eight hours. The reference working hours shall be 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. with a break of one hour, from Monday to Friday inclusive.

1. Special working hours

1.1 Definition

A special working hour is defined as any hour of:

  • overtime;

  • work on official holidays or the equivalent;

    Official holidays are defined in article R II 4.39 of the Staff Regulations. Every year, HR department establishes the Calendar of official holidays and annual closure.
    The following days are deemed to be equivalent to an official holiday:

    • Mondays to Fridays during the Organization's annual shutdown,
    • day of compensatory leave set by the Director-General whenever the 24th, 25th or 31st December, 1st January or 1st May fall on another official holiday, a Saturday or a Sunday.
  • Sunday work;

  • night work;

  • stand-by duty;

  • shift work.

1.2 Remuneration and compensation

Special working hours are compensated (in time) and/or remunerated (paid) where they are performed:

  • on the orders of the Head of Department, and et

  • on the site* of the Organization or, in case of emergency call-outs and subject to authorisation by the Head of Department, remotely.

The details of remuneration and compensation for special hours are summarised in this table (in French only).

* site of the Organization, as defined in the Operational Circular No. 04: all the land made available to CERN by its Host States, namely France and Switzerland, part of which is fenced (hereinafter referred to as “the fenced parts of the CERN site”).

Pursuant to the primacy of compensation rule defined in article R III 1.08 of the Staff Rules and Regulations and in Administrative Circular No. 23, compensatory leave for overtime, work on an official holiday or the equivalent, Sunday work and night work must be taken the following working day (or, exceptionally, the following week); where it is materially impossible for the member of the personnel concerned to meet this obligation, the compensatory leave may be deferred, subject to authorisation by the Head of Department, for a maximum of two months.

Remuneration may be granted only where the Head of Department considers it impossible to grant compensatory leave within the two-month deadline:

  • To staff members in grades 1 to 7

  • To staff members in grades 8 to 10 in the case of hours worked on an official holiday or the equivalent.


  1. Overtime, work on official holidays or the equivalent, Sunday work, night work and stand-by duty during official travel are not compensated or remunerated.

  2. Any outstanding compensatory leave that has not been taken before the end of a contract is not remunerated.

  3. In the case of staff participating in the pre-retirement programme: hours of work performed over and above the contractual working hours, up to a maximum of 40 hours per week, give entitlement to compensatory leave but are not remunerated. Staff members participating in the pre-retirement programme are not authorised to perform special working hours within the meaning of article R III 1.07 of the Staff Regulations.

  4. Overtime and stand-by duty are not authorised during sick leave (full or partial absence).

2. Staggered working hours

Staggered working hours are working hours that differ from CERN's normal working hours and are assigned to a staff member or fellow by the Director-General for a total number of hours equivalent to the contractual working hours. Any hours above this total are deemed to be overtime.

Staggered working hours are an exceptional measure applied for a limited period and restricted to a small number of people.

N.B.: If a member of the personnel chooses to stagger his working hours by up to one hour and half with respect to CERN's normal working hours, he is not considered to be working a staggered schedule. His supervisor's agreement is all that is required.

Given that these working hours are simply staggered with respect to normal working hours, no special supplements are applicable. However, if staggered working hours involve work at night, on a Sunday or on an official holiday or the equivalent, the member of the personnel concerned is entitled to the corresponding supplement.

Procedure updated on: