Work time tracking

Time clock judgement on time recording " These are the rules!

Following the BAG's "time clock judgement" in September 2022, it was initially unclear what the obligation to record working hours would look like. The reasons for the judgement on recording working hours shed light on the matter.
Time clock judgement on time recording: these are the rules!

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 this regulation was overturned in September 2022. But what do employers and employees need to bear in mind from now on?

Table of contents - What you can expect:

Documentation without additional bureaucracy
Time clock judgement on working time recording
This is how working time must be recorded

These are the new rules following the time clock judgement at a glance

According to the judgement of the Federal Labour Court in September 2022, employees must Attendance will be recorded precisely with immediate effect, which will have far-reaching effects on everyday working life. What exactly is regulated?

  • Obligation to record working hours: Employees must now accurately record their hours worked; employers are obliged to provide a corresponding system and ensure that it is used.
  • Self-recording possible: Employers may oblige their employees to record their working hours themselves, including trust-based working hours.
  • Immediate implementation: The new rules apply with immediate effect, without a transitional period, in accordance with the ECJ ruling of 2019 and the BAG ruling of 2022.
  • Room for manoeuvre with the method: The BAG does not specify how working time must be recorded; various methods such as time clocks, computer systems or manual records can be used.
  • Relevance for labour law: The BAG's reasoning substantiates existing EU requirements and transposes them directly into German labour law, even if national laws are still missing.

Documentation obligation without bureaucratic effort with ZEP!

It is estimated that around 1/3 of German employees already record their working hours. In many cases, this is done with a mixture of a Time sheet from paper and entries in Excel. However, this solution is very error-prone and unreliable. One wrong formula and the entire Excel sheet is no longer usable.

We developed ZEP more than 20 years ago for the reliable and effective recording of working and project times. Our software covers everything from pure Work time tracking up to the complete project management of all stages and requirements of modern Project time tracking from. ZEP is already making the day-to-day work of more than 1,800 companies easier, contributing to their profitability and is an intuitive tool that saves users time and effort when recording their project and working times.

Time clock ruling by the Federal Labour Court: The new decisions on recording working hours in detail

After the BAG ruling in September 2022, a thunderclap went through the Republic: Is the time clock coming back? General uncertainty spread when the labour court ruled that employees must record their hours worked with immediate effect. Only the "how" was not clear. In December 2022, the long-awaited (and also dreaded) Reasons for the BAG's judgement published. Over 22 pages, the judges explain which points are now relevant for employers and employees in the future and how their everyday working life could change as a result. The following can be found in the time clock judgement:

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!
Under current EU law, the ECJ judgement from 2019 also requires Germany to document working hours accurately. However, the federal government has not yet Law on the recording of working hours on the way. The specifics still have to find their way into valid labour law. In September 2022, the Federal Labour Court took the lead and ruled that the new rules apply immediately! This is also reflected in the corresponding judgement: there would be no transition period. Working hours must be recorded precisely 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.

The new provisions of the judgement are justified as follows

The new provisions of the Federal Labour Court's (BAG) ruling are explained in detail. Firstly, the BAG emphasises the need for employers to introduce a system for recording working time that takes appropriate account of the safety and health protection of employees. It is not enough to simply choose a cost-effective system; rather, it must be suitable and reliable. Employers may delegate time recording to employees, but they must ensure that the system is actually used, which requires random checks.

In addition, the statutory data protection regulations must be observed when introducing a time recording system. There is still no obligation to record working hours for senior executives, but it must be checked on a case-by-case basis whether a manager is actually considered a senior executive.

Conclusion

European employers must record their employees' working hours in full - as the European Court of Justice ruled back in 2019. In Germany, there was previously only an obligation to accurately record overtime. This regulation was changed with the rulings of the ECJ and the Federal Labour Court (BAG) in September 2022. Employees must now document their working hours precisely with immediate effect, which will have far-reaching consequences for everyday working life.

The new rules oblige employers to provide a suitable system for recording working time and to ensure that it is used. This can be done through self-recording by employees, including trust-based working time. Implementation is immediate and there is no transition period. Employers have room for manoeuvre when choosing the method of time recording, be it by time clock, computer system or manual recording. These changes directly transpose the existing EU requirements into German labour law, even without national legislation.

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.

FAQ

When does the working time judgement begin?

Under current EU law, Germany has also been obliged to document working hours accurately since the ECJ ruling in 2019. Although the federal government has not yet passed a corresponding law, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht - BAG) moved ahead in September 2022 and ruled that the new rules apply immediately. This is explicitly emphasised in the ruling: there is no transition period. Working hours must be recorded precisely with immediate effect.

How must working time be recorded?

The BAG does not stipulate how working time must be recorded, only that it must be documented. Employers are free to decide whether they record working time using a time clock, computer system or manually. The court leaves room for manoeuvre here.

Who is authorised to view the time recording?

The working time recording data may be viewed by the following parties: the works council, the individual employees and the employer. Access by third parties is only permitted if the person concerned has expressly given their consent.

Tanja Hartmann CEP

Tanja Hartmann

Content Marketing Manager at ZEP

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