The die is cast - details of the BAG "time clock ruling
7 December 2022

The die is cast - details of the BAG "time clock ruling

European employers must fully record the working hours of their employees - So ruled the European Court of Justice as early as 2019. Up to now, in Germany, as in other EU states, there was only the obligation to accurately record overtime worked. With the judgements of the ECJ and the Federal Labour Court of September 2022 this regulation was overturned. But what do employers and employees have to consider from now on?

Long awaited & feared: The written reasons for the BAG's judgement

After the BAG ruling in September, a thunderclap went through the Republic: Is the time clock coming back? There was general confusion when the Labour Court ruled that from now on employees must record the hours they have worked. Only the "how" had not been clarified. Until now. On 3 December 2022, the long-awaited (and also dreaded) decision was finally made. Reasons for the BAG's judgement published. On 22 pages, the judges explain which points will be relevant for employers and employees in the future and how their everyday working life might change as a result.

Working time must actually be recorded

According to the ruling, it is not sufficient for employers to merely provide a system for time recording - the system must also be used. This means that employers and employees are now obliged to record their working hours exactly, whereby employers are allowed to oblige their employees to record themselves. This also applies to so-called trust-based working time. Here, too, times must be recorded by the employee and checked by the employer.

From when? As of now!

According to current EU law, there is already an obligation to document working hours precisely in Germany with the ECJ ruling of 2019. However, the federal government has not yet introduced a corresponding law. The concretisation has yet to find its way into valid labour law. In September 2022, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht - BAG) took the lead and ruled: "The new rules apply immediately! This is also reflected in the relevant ruling: There would be no transitional period. Working hours must be recorded exactly with immediate effect.

Is the time clock coming back to German companies?

No, or not necessarily. In its reasoning, the BAG does not stipulate HOW working time must be recorded, but only THAT it must be documented. Employers are free to decide how this is done. Whether by time clock, with the help of a computer system or by slip of paper - the court leaves employers room for manoeuvre here.

Now it's the traffic lights' turn

Now that the basis is in place, it is up to the government with the traffic lights to incorporate the rulings of the Federal Labour Court and the European Court of Justice into applicable German occupational health and safety law. And promptly! However, the "grand coalition" of CDU/CSU and SPD has already failed in this endeavour. After the above-mentioned rulings, however, bosses would be well advised to purchase a corresponding time recording solution now and integrate it into their daily work routine.

Compulsory documentation is also possible without bureaucratic effort

It is estimated that about 1/3 of German employees already record their working hours. In many cases, this is done with a mixture of a paper timesheet and entries in Excel. However, this solution is very error-prone and can quickly fall on one's feet. One wrong formula and the entire Excel sheet is no longer usable. For the reliable and effective recording of working and project times, we at provantis IT Solutions GmbH developed ZEP 22 years ago. Our software covers all levels and requirements of modern project time recording, from pure working time recording to complete project management. ZEP already facilitates the daily work of more than 1,300 customers, contributes to their profitability and is an intuitive tool that saves users time and nerves when recording their project and working times. Why? Because time is money!

Are you interested in our DSGVO-compliant solution? With our 30 days trial version you can try out all the features without obligation and free of charge, if necessary even for longer than 30 days. If you have any questions, please contact our free support will be happy to advise you.