Learn how the Work Time Recording Law in Germany impacts hybrid workers and their employers. Accurate time tracking promotes transparency and compliance.
Definition and its impact on employees and employers, particularly in the context of hybrid work.
In September 2022, a new obligation for time recording was introduced in Germany, significantly affecting the way hybrid work is conducted. As a quick reminder, hybrid work refers to a combination of remote and office work, with the new obligation for work time recording forcing companies to precisely record the working hours of employees engaged in hybrid work. In the following, we will explain what the work time recording obligation means and its impact on employees and employers.
In 2019, the European Court of Justice had already decided that every EU member state must legally establish a mandatory time recording obligation. In September 2022, the Federal Labor Court ruled that all German employers are now obliged to accurately record the working hours of their employees. The work time recording can be done electronically or analogously. Regardless of how employees individually perform this task, they must ensure that the times are accurately and completely documented in a system, making them verifiable. To avoid paperwork and disorganization, a digital solution is recommended, meaning time recording via app, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or mobile time recording terminal.
The recording of working hours involves a complete documentation of employees' working hours. It is advisable to record not only the times of presence but also the times of absence. Following the European Court of Justice's ruling, any system can be used that can precisely store and document the times.
In general, accurately recording overtime does not automatically mean that it must be paid. It remains up to the employee to decide whether overtime should be paid or compensated in the form of flextime.
Currently, there is no legal regulation on what happens if employees oppose the European Court of Justice's ruling. However, warnings and fines of up to 500,000 euros can be expected.
The misuse of personal data, such as working hours, should, of course, be prevented. Access to data processing systems must be limited, and unauthorized individuals should not be able to use the systems. It should also be checked how precisely and for what purpose the recorded working hours data may be processed. The purpose of the recorded data on working hours is clear: determining working hours. Consequently, this data may only be processed for this purpose, and employees' rights are thus protected.
To date, there are no legal regulations on the specific requirements that a digital time recording system must meet. The European Court of Justice has, however, determined the criteria that the digital time recording system must meet.
The digital time recording must be objectively comprehensible, meaning that working hours must be recorded accurately and remain accessible later. Overtime must be visibly separated from regular working hours.
The criterion of reliability means nothing more or less than that the digital time recording system must always be available to prevent gaps in recording. In a digital system, this means that the servers used must be continuously available, and system failures can be almost ruled out.
The digital time recording system must be easily and always accessible to all employees. Software should be chosen that everyone can easily handle or offer appropriate training to make handling as simple as possible.
Employers who use digital time tracking can easily and securely record their employees' working hours. With the help of software, start and end times, as well as break times, can be accurately documented.
Remote employees also need to report their working hours and receive appropriate compensation for their actual work performed.
Employers should support their employees through training to accurately record their working hours. This allows employees to understand the benefits of properly reporting their hours and to carry out the recording correctly.
Employers should regularly check the recorded data for accuracy. This helps to prevent disputes between employers and employees and ensures that employees are adequately compensated for their work.
The Time Recording Act aims to provide clarity on the working hours of hybrid workers and ensure that they are appropriately compensated according to their working hours.
The Time Recording Act has several advantages for employers. One of the main benefits is that employers are forced to comply with labor law regulations. Accurate recording of working hours ensures the correct payment of employees for their hours worked. This, in turn, protects employers from potential legal consequences and fines resulting from non-compliance with labor laws.
Furthermore, the time recording judgment leads to better work morale and employee engagement. Recording working hours demonstrates the appreciation of employees' work and employers' commitment to complying with rules and regulations. This leads to greater employee satisfaction and a generally more positive work environment.
The obligation to record working hours also promotes transparency in the workplace. Employers can now easily and accurately track their employees' working hours and ensure proper payment. This prevents misunderstandings and fosters a fair and transparent work environment.
The relationship between employers and employees must also be revisited, as the obligation to record working hours drastically reduces disputes. In case of a legal dispute, time records can be used as evidence to support the employer's position. Consequently, disputes can be quickly and efficiently resolved, avoiding further escalation.
The obligation to record working hours can also improve workplace productivity. Employers can identify patterns and trends in their employees' work habits and use this information to make informed decisions about scheduling and workload. This can lead to increased productivity and efficiency.
Lastly, the time recording obligation simplifies the administrative workload for employers. The use of time tracking software can automate the process of recording working hours, reducing the need for manual timekeeping and the risk of errors. This saves employers time and resources.
The Time Recording Act also has advantages for employees, including those working from home.
One of the main benefits of the time recording obligation for employees is better work-life balance, as professional and personal life can be better reconciled. Accurate recording of working hours via a time tracking app allows employees to better manage their time, knowing exactly how many hours they have worked and how much time is left for personal activities. This leads to a more balanced life.
The obligation to record working hours can also increase employee job satisfaction. This is because it guarantees fair compensation for the work performed. This results in a more positive and productive work environment with higher job satisfaction.
Moreover, accurate recording of working hours prevents employee overworking. Working hours are closely monitored, ensuring that employees do not work too much and jeopardize their health and well-being.
Another advantage for employees is the reduction of stress and fatigue. By accurately recording working hours, stress and frustration of not knowing how much time was worked and what one is being paid for can be avoided, creating a more relaxed work environment.
The obligation to record working hours can also positively impact employees' health, as health problems associated with overworking, such as burnout, stress, and fatigue, are avoided.