A ruling of the European Court of Justice on time recording puts Germany under pressure. Politicians, lawyers and experts are still discussing how to implement it into German law. Companies are already taking action.
The European Court of Justice decided in May 2019: Companies must record the working hours of their employees. The fundamental ruling goes beyond the legal situation that has been binding in Germany to date. It also changes German labor law. Until now, employers have only been obliged to record those working hours that exceed the working day - i.e. extra hours, overtime, work on Sundays and public holidays.
Corona puts additional pressure on the issue. Many companies have registered reduced hours work for their employees. The German government has just extended the program. And for the short-time work allowance, precise documentation of working hours is a prerequisite for payment.
Clean bytes instead of greasy timesheets
Politicians, employers' associations, trade unions, lawyers' associations and other experts are still discussing how European law can be integrated into German law. Companies are often already one step ahead: they are taking advantage of this moment and digitizing their time recording. In doing so, they avoid legal defeats such as a recent case which came before the court for labor in Emden. With reference to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the court ordered a construction company to make back payments because it had not fulfilled its obligation to record working hours.
A colleague from Hamburg has just told me how he introduced an electronic time recording system at a housing cooperative. The building cooperative dhu looks after 4,000 apartments. And wants to record time for its employees in compliance with EU regulations. With the new solution, they can do this quickly and easily. The 40 employees of the building cooperative record their working hours on a computer or digital terminal. The field service uses a cell phone app. The solution also handles driver's license checks for users of company vehicles, which legally must be carried out every six months. Digital, Hanseatically correct, and at manageable costs.
Europe's clocks may tick slowly - but sometimes good things need to be done in a hurry. Let's do the time warp again.