Recording working hours: What the labor law says

In the modern working world, the line between the private sphere and the job is becoming increasingly blurred. Therefore, the protection of employees – in all areas – is a high priority.

An important factor here is the recording of working hours. Time and attendance must therefore be recorded fairly and correctly at every workplace. But which regulations are actually found in German labor law? The following article provides clarification.

The labor law regulations on the recording of working hours

In Germany, the Working Time Act regulates how working time recording must be carried out. This law was enacted in 1994 to provide uniform guidelines for employers and to provide employees with reliable protection. The Working Hours Act, or ArbZG for short, applies throughout the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Working Hours Act regulates, for example, which maximum working hours apply and which rest breaks must be observed. However, exceptions apply to some professions and industries, such as the public church service, ship crews, and chief physicians.

The recording of working hours is also addressed in the Working Hours Act. Section 16 thus states that there is an obligation for employers to record working hours that exceed the working day working hours. In addition, a record must be kept for employees who have given their consent to extend their working hours accordingly. These records must be kept for a period of two years.

In practice, this means that there is basically an obligation to correctly record the working hours of a company’s employees. However, the aim is by no means to monitor employees in minute detail. Rather, it ensures that the maximum permissible weekly or daily working hours of 40 or eight hours respectively are not exceeded.

Thus, the recording of working hours is an important control instrument that provides evidence that the specified maximum and minimum working hours defined in the employment contract are being observed.

The most important facts about working time recording

The Working Hours Act contains the general regulations regarding the recording of working hours. On the other hand, the Federal Data Protection Act regulates how the relevant data must be handled.

In principle, there are various options available for recording individual working hours. Nowadays, digital data recording is of particular importance. However, the appropriate model for recording working time always depends on the respective workplace and the working time model.

Data protection and the recording of working hours

The topic of data protection is extremely prevalent in almost all areas of life today – and the recording of working hours is no exception. The Working Time Act merely stipulates that there is an obligation to record working time, but the exact form it takes is left open in the wording of the law.

In general, of course, the data protection regulation must also be consistently adhered to in the recording of working hours. This poses a particularly great challenge when innovative and thus digital options for recording working time are used.

After all, modern working time recording systems generally not only fulfill the purpose of recording the beginning and end of working time, but also provide additional information and thus fulfill other internal functions within the company. For this reason, when recording the working hours of their employees, companies are dependent on being able to ensure that the handling of the recorded data always complies with the requirements of the Federal Data Protection Act.