Clarification of the conditions for payment of overtime

In a decision of 14 November 2018, the French Supreme Court summarized the conditions under which an employee is entitled to the payment of overtime.

In this case, an employee had claimed a constructive dismissal because of unpaid overtime and moral harassment.

The employer complained that the Court of Appeal had ordered him to pay overtime while the employee had contractually undertaken to request the employer’s prior authorization before performing overtime.

The French Supreme Court rejected the employer’s argument by stating that an employee may claim payment for overtime, either if there is at least an implicit agreement of the employer, or if it is established that the performance of such hours was made necessary by the tasks entrusted to the employee. The second condition was met in the case.

Therefore, if an employee is unable to prove the employer’s at least implicit agreement in the context of a request for payment of overtime, the Court gives him the possibility to prove that these hours were made necessary by the functions held and the workload imposed by the employer.

French Supreme Court, 14 November 2018, N°17-16959