ECJ ruling on the recording of working time: When courts are faster than politicians

ECJ ruling on working time recording triggered discussion, Emden Labour Court confirms obligation for employer to set up a system, ZEP Clock offers up-to-date solution.

Almost exactly one year ago, the Decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the recording of working time caused a great stir and media coverage. In the ruling of 14 May 2019, the ECJ had called on member states to adopt regulations obliging employers to set up a system to measure daily working time.

The central question for national legislators and companies alike was: Is the ruling merely a call to action for politicians or can a need for action or even an obligation for companies be derived from it?

Until today, this question is still waiting for an answer. It almost seems that this issue has slipped down the priority list again for many companies. A recent ruling by the Emden labour court shows how risky such "sitting out" can be.

Court sees duty to set up a system for time recording

The starting point for the ruling of the Emden Labour Court was the complaint of a construction worker. He claimed that he had been paid less than the hours he had actually worked. As proof, he submitted records he had made himself. In return, the employer submitted a construction diary to prove that the plaintiff had worked fewer hours than he had claimed.

However, the court upheld the employee's claim and referred to the Working Time Directive according to the "case law of the ECJ in the light of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (in particular Art. 31 II GRCh)". This was to be interpreted to the effect that "the employer's obligation to set up a system for recording working time can be inferred from it. Essential to this is the recording of daily working hours, so that this obligation affects the employer even without statutory implementation of the directive by the member state".

And so legal experts such as lawyer Claudia Knuth, specialist lawyer for labour law and partner in the Berlin office of the commercial law firm Lutz Abelconcluded that there was a "need for employers to take action!

ZEP Clock: The contemporary and legally compliant time recording system

Instead of continuing to walk on legally "thin ice" on the issue of working time recording and accepting the risk of losing out in the event of a legal dispute, companies should not wait for politicians to finally provide clarity in the form of a national regulation, but should look for an appropriate solution as soon as possible, such as the ZEP Clock from provantis IT Solutions. ZEP Clock is a ready-to-use solution for the employee-related, complete recording of working hours with start and end times. The working hours must be recorded no later than seven days after the work is performed and can be archived for two years or longer. The proof of working hours is possible directly from the solution thanks to an evaluation that can be called up at any time at the click of a mouse.

The technological basis for the ZEP Clock is the cloud-based software solution ZEP - Time recording for projects.

Working hours are recorded either via a corresponding mobile app (iOS, Android), via the web-based user interface, which can be accessed via any conventional web browser, or via the cost-effective ZEP Clock RFID terminal for clocking in and out via RFID chip. This eliminates the need for "double bookkeeping" or double time recording as in the case of the construction worker in Emden.

Precise time recording is mandatory for short-time work

In her contribution, Ms Knuth also refers to time recording in the case of short-time work. Unfortunately, the Corona pandemic has meant that millions of workers in Germany are currently affected. She explains: "In particular, companies that have registered short-time work for their employees must ensure clean and reliable time recording for the period of short-time work anyway. After all, in case of doubt, they have to provide proof that actual work absences have occurred after being requested to do so by the employment agency."

The ZEP Clock is also the perfect solution for this case.

Tanja Hartmann

Content Marketing Manager at provantis IT Solutions

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