6 June 2017

Recording working time: You should observe these legal requirements

As in many other areas of professional and business life, there are also legal regulations and specifications for the recording of working hours in Germany that companies should absolutely observe. We have summarised the most important ones below:

1. Working Hours Act (ArbZG)

In principle, the Working Hours Act sets a maximum limit of eight hours per working day (Monday to Saturday) for employees in Germany. The law does not provide for recording obligations. However, according to § 16 ArbZG, certain obligations to record working time are stipulated, for example, if overtime is worked. Thus, according to section 16 sentence 2 ArbZG, the employer is obliged [...] to record the working time of employees exceeding the working day working time of section 3 sentence 1 [...]. The employer is free to choose how to do this, handwritten or electronically.

2nd Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG)

Already since 1.1.2015, according to § 17 Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG) The law stipulates that employers are obliged to record and document the working hours of marginally employed workers (mini-jobs). At least for each week of employment, the beginning, end and duration of working time minus breaks must be recorded. It is therefore not sufficient to only specify the working time in the employment contract. The obligation to keep records is two years. Only mini-jobs in private households are excluded from the obligation to keep records. Further exemptions and simplifications are contained in the Minimum Wage Recording Ordinance (MiLoAufzV) set.

3. data protection

"Stasi methods at the discounter" - With this "lurid" headline, Spiegel magazine pilloried Lidl in 2008 when it became public that employees of the company were being monitored with mini cameras and their behaviour was being seamlessly documented. The example may be a negative one, but it shows the general problem that recording working hours can quickly "degenerate" into employee surveillance that violates employees' data protection and personal rights. For this reason, data protection experts advise to take the following points into account when recording working hours in order to be on the safe side in terms of data protection law:

  • Obtain the consent of the works council (if any).The latter has a right of co-determination and can intervene if the interests of the employees and data protection at the workplace are endangered by the time recording.
  • Choice of time recording systemCare should be taken to ensure that the system is straightforward, easy to understand, secure and appropriate to the company's industry.
  • Consult data protection officer (if available)The latter should be familiar with the current regulations on data protection in the workplace - and thus also with the regulations on the recording of working time that apply to the company.
  • Conclusion of a company agreement: This agreement shall then be considered the legal basis for the recording of working time.

Time recording is essential in the project business

In most project-oriented industries (software development, management consulting, services), recording employee working hours is a core element of doing business, especially if the employees' work is carried out on site at the customer. Without time recording, there is no proof of the progress of the project, but also no possibility to invoice the work done. Nevertheless, companies in these sectors should also regularly inform themselves about which legal framework conditions they have to observe. This applies in particular to the Minimum Wage Act, but also to the area of data protection, e.g. the question of which time recording system is used.

With ZEP - Time recording for projects the company provantis IT-Solutions offers a system that has been tried and tested in practice for years, which fulfils all legal requirements and, as described above, is uncomplicated, easy to understand, secure and appropriate for project-oriented industries. To fulfil the documentation obligations according to the Minimum Wage Act, provantis offers with ZEP Clock a customised and legally compliant solution for this area.