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I recently heard that in 2013, Germany banned out-of-hours working. This article says:

Germany's employment ministry has banned its managers from calling or emailing staff out of hours except in emergencies, under new guidelines intended to prevent employees from burning out.

As a PhD-student, I've got several deadlines throughout the year and sometimes I need to work after the regular working hours and in the weekends. I could work at home, but I am always more productive at my workplace.

The thing is, no one is asking me to stay, I am staying out of my pure will. I can simply tell my supervisors that I am not willing to consider the following conference deadline and they would not mind it, it's my decision.

Would it still be illegal if I spend extra time at work or go on weekends?

Although I have the status of a student, "PhD student" in Germany (and many places in Europe) is a paid job. Your employer could be the institute/university, or you could be funded through a scholarship.

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    Your question seems like a non-sequiter: You quote a ban on managers contacting employees outside regular hours, and then ask if it's legal for you to work outside regular hours. Are you a manager contacting employees outside regular hours? – feetwet Aug 29 '15 at 21:36
  • Yes, this does indeed appear non-sequitur. – cnst Sep 15 '15 at 3:33
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I think you are misinterpreting what the article is saying. It's not Germany as a whole that is banning managers contacting employees (and since you are not a manager, this wouldn't affect you anyway), it is the German ministry of Employment banning it for its employees. When it comes to your own workplace, you will need to look at your own contract and see whether you are allowed to work on the weekend without, for example, getting extra money for that work. This is probably not the case for you as a PhD student, but if it is, you would usually need to talk to your employer before doing work on the weekends.

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