Employees must record their working hours, the Federal Labor Court ruled in September. But so far there has been a lot of uncertainty as to how the verdict is to be implemented – since the written justification from the judges is still pending. This was published over the weekend.

The report from Erfurt was a real sensation for many employers: the Federal Labor Court (BAG) ruled in September that companies are obliged to record the working hours of their employees. When the judges announced their verdict, it was already clear that the verdict would have an impact on the everyday lives of many millions of workers in Germany.

So far, however, it has been disputed what exactly needs to change in practice for employers and employees because the written reasons for the judgment are still pending. The question of how employees should record their working hours was not finally clarified. Likewise, there was still no clear answer as to whether employers only have to provide their employees with a time recording system – or whether the working hours actually have to be recorded.

But since this Saturday there is more clarity. The BAG published its written justification for the judgment at the weekend. On 22 pages, the judges explain what now applies to employees and employers.

The verdict says:

However, there are different interpretations when it comes to the question of whether time recording also applies to managers. Kronisch understands the reasoning to mean that senior executives are, as before, excluded from the recording of working hours. Employment lawyer Kathrin Schulze Zumkley also sees it that way.

Philipp Byers from the Watson Farley law firm, on the other hand, told the “ Süddeutsche Zeitung ” that time recording currently applies to all employees of a company.

One thing is certain: the biggest task now lies with the traffic light government or the legislature. “It is still his duty to adapt the Working Hours Act,” says labor law expert Gerhard Kronisch. The Federal Labor Court had pushed ahead in the debate about changing the German Working Hours Act.

The federal government is already working on transposing the requirements of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from its time-clock judgment of 2019 into German law. According to this, EU countries are obliged to introduce objective, reliable and accessible working time recording. According to the intention of the ECJ, this should help to curb excessive working hours and comply with rest periods.

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