Work time tracking

Manage flexible working time models with ZEP

Flexible working time models are increasingly coming into focus. ZEP enables the definition of core working hours, break regulations and special times to meet the individual requirements of your employees & legal regulations.
Manage flexible working time models with ZEP

The modern working world is undergoing continuous change, shaped by technological advances, changing lifestyles and changing work cultures. In this dynamic environment, flexible working time models are becoming increasingly important. These models offer employees the opportunity to adapt their work to individual needs and commitments, whether in the form of part-time employment, shift work or night shifts. However, implementing and managing flexible working time models comes with various challenges that can be easily overcome with the help of suitable project time recording software such as ZEP.

Organisation of working time: laws, regulations & challenges

The organisation and implementation of the above-mentioned working time models are subject to a complex and strict legal framework in Germany. This framework extends from the basics of working time organisation to accurate time recording and documentation. The focus is on laws and regulations that companies and employees alike must observe in order to avoid fines and even imprisonment. In this context, paragraphs such as § 3 ArbZG regulate working time, break times and rest periods. Flexibility in working time models is possible, but clear guidelines and requirements must be met. In addition, recent legislation and rulings, such as the BAG ruling in September 2022 and the BMAS draft bill in April 2023, have changed and expanded the way working hours are recorded. In the following, we will take a closer look at the complexity and requirements of German working time regulations and laws as well as the importance of time recording and documentation.

Working Time Regulations & Laws

In Germany, there are complex laws and working time regulations that you must observe when implementing flexible working time models. The following applies: § 3 regulates the working hours. In principle, 8 hours of daily work are to be assumed here. Exception: 10 hours per day may be worked if the average working time - over a period of 6 months or 24 weeks - is 8 hours per working day. The corresponding Break times are set out in § 4. The following applies: at least a 30-minute break if the working time exceeds 6 hours or at least a 45-minute break if the working time exceeds 9 hours. Break time is not equal to Rest period, which is regulated in § 5 is: After the end of the daily working time, an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours must be observed!

Statutory regulations on overtime, rest periods and working time restrictions must be complied with in any case when you Fines of up to 30,000 euros want to avoid. Companies that violate the Working Hours Act can be fined. The exact amount depends on various factors, such as the severity of the violation, the number of employees involved and the repetition of the violation. In the case of persistent repetition of a violation, employers are threatened with according to § 23 ArbZG, even imprisonment of up to one year..

Time recording & documentation

The correct and accurate recording of working hours is crucial to ensure compliance with working time agreements. Because: At the latest with the BAG ruling from September 2022 recording of working time is mandatory - even in flexible working time models where working hours can vary, making time recording particularly demanding. Manual time recording can be prone to errors and provide inaccurate information, which can lead to incorrect payrolls. And also the In April 2023, the BMAS published the long-awaited draft bill. for a bill to amend the Working Hours Act and other regulations to introduce statutory regulations on the recording of working hours. The draft provides that employers pursuant to section 16 (2) sentence 1 ArbZG-E be obliged to record the daily working time of their employees and to do so already on the day the work is performed. In contrast to the regulation from § Section 17 (1) sentence 1 MiLoGwhich states that the recording must be made no later than the end of the seventh calendar day following the day on which the work is performed, the draft does not wish to adopt a similar provision. The draft provides that the recording of working time must be done electronically. Our Software for (project) time recording offers a simple way to comply with all legal requirements. According to the draft law, companies in which a collective agreement or a company/service agreement provides otherwise are exempt from the compulsory recording of working time. Companies with less than 10 employees are exempt from the electronic recording obligation according to the draft law.

As you can see, flexible working time models are accompanied by various challenges and legal regulations. But which regulation applies to which model?


The Working Hours Act (ArbZG) regulates the working hours, rest breaks and rest periods of employees in Germany. As a rule, full-time employees may not work more than 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Employees are entitled to according to § 5 ArbZG to have an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours after the end of the daily working time.


The flexibility of part-time work can present your company with a variety of challenges. Because: The Part-Time and Fixed-term Employment Act (TzBfG) stipulates that employees have the right to switch from full-time to part-time and vice versa. As an employer, you should be flexible in responding to employees' requests for part-time work. Of course, this requires careful planning to ensure that business operations are not disrupted.

Shift work

Time recording in shift work harbours a A number of legal challengesthat can affect you as an employer, your employees and the accuracy of records. For example, shift schedules are often complex, with changing working hours and days. Also, in shift work, overtime and breaks are often irregular. Therefore, the management of shift schedules and the correct recording of working time should be a top priority in order to avoid legal consequences regarding rest periods, maximum working hours, etc.

Night work

Night work is defined by the ArbZG as hours worked between 11 p.m. of one day and 6 a.m. of the following day. Night workers may according to § 6 ArbZG do not work more than 8 hours per working day if they work exclusively night shifts. This period may be extended up to 10 hours if a certain threshold is not exceeded on average within 6 calendar months or within 24 weeks. Night workers are entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours per working day. As an employer, you are obliged to accurately document the working hours of night workers and to ensure that the legal requirements are met.

The role of ZEP

As you can see, flexible working time models are becoming increasingly important in the modern working world, as they allow your employees to better balance work and private life. ZEP can be seamlessly adapted to your working time models. How? ZEP can be configured to meet the needs of your employees and also your company policies. Let's now look at this in detail:

Flexible standard working hours for flexible working time models

ZEP offers support for all working time models in your company. It enables both the mapping of a 6/7-day week and part-time employment with variable working hours per working day as well as pure night work. You have the choice of defining the working hours per day or per month. Individual working days and working hours can be defined for each employee - regardless of whether the employee is employed by you full-time, part-time or exclusively night work. This can be done either by entering the hours per day or by specifying the monthly working hours and defining the working days. ZEP then dynamically calculates the regular working time per working day based on the set parameters.

By default, ZEP uses the regular working time per day as you store it in the master data of the respective employee. The system enables the exact mapping of the working hours specified in the employment contract - depending on the employment relationship. You can individually assign a "valid from" date to the regular working time for each working time model. This is advantageous, for example, if something changes in the working time model of your employees (full to part-time, part to full-time, day to night shift, etc.). Optionally, monthly hourly ceilings and break regulations can be linked to the regular working time.

In this way, ZEP offers you full flexibility in managing complex and flexible working time models - even if these change at a certain point for your employees.

Flexible break arrangements

In ZEP you can define break regulations - according to the working time model of your employees - to ensure compliance with legal break regulations. The break regulation in ZEP allows you to define legally required minimum rest periods and maximum working hours per day. Benefit: The break regulation shows you whether your employees comply with the defined rest periods, minimum breaks and core working hours. In case of non-compliance, you can activate corresponding warnings. This primarily serves to ensure compliance with working time specifications.

Important: Note to set the minimum length of a break and the minimum breaks for different working time durations, according to legal requirements. For working hours of 6 to 9 hours, a statutory break of 30 minutes must be taken. For working hours of more than 9 hours, your employees must take a break of at least 45 minutes. Attention: Breaks of less than 15 minutes are NOT considered a rest break by law, unless there are corresponding collective agreements or company agreements.

Special times & time surcharges

Now it becomes really individual, because: In ZEP you can define "special internal times", which represent individual time periods within the working times of your employees. You can display these times per employee in the month-end evaluation. Please note that you have to define the time periods carefully, especially if it is pure night work. You should always observe the regulations described in § 6 ArbZG. In the month-end evaluation, a column called "Night time" is then displayed and contains working hours that occurred between 11 p.m. of one day and 6 a.m. of the following day.

Let us now turn to time bonuses in ZEP. Time surcharges are a way to include surcharges for working hours during special periods, such as public holidays, in ZEP and add them to the employees' overtime account. In our tool you can define special times on public holidays, for example "Public holiday from 0:00 to 6:00 with 50% surcharge". This means that if working time is recorded on a public holiday with a surcharge of 100% in the time between 0:00 and 6:00, a 50% surcharge is also taken into account in addition to the 100% surcharge, resulting in a total surcharge of 150%. In the end-of-month evaluation of an employee, you will then see separate columns for time bonuses and the total sum of bonuses.

A strong foundation for flexible working time models

As you can see, the challenges of the modern working world require innovative solutions to efficiently manage flexible working time models. ZEP supports you in the implementation and Management of flexible working time models with extensive functions. With its flexible standard working hours, ZEP enables you to define individual working hours and working days for each employee. In doing so, our software takes into account legal break regulations and offers you the possibility to define special times and time bonuses. Our software facilitates accurate time recording, automates the calculation of overtime and holiday days and provides an improved overview of project progress. This not only leads to higher efficiency, but also increases employee satisfaction, who can rely on transparent and reliable project time recording.

Optimise your working time management and discover how ZEP perfectly complements your flexible working time models - and masters all the challenges of flexible working time models. You don't use ZEP yet? Test our software for at least 30 days free of charge and without obligation. Our Support team is always at your disposal.

Tanja Hartmann CEP

Tanja Hartmann

Content Marketing Manager at ZEP

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