A recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is once again causing a stir and excitement. There is the talk of bureaucracy monsters and regression in the age of trust work. It is about the obligation to record the working hours of employees. What will the decision really change in the company?

It is the topic of the past days. Trade unions, employers’ representatives and politicians all responded promptly to the ECJ’s recent ruling on recording working time (C-55/18). While the unions are confirmed in their position, the policy still relatively reserved to speak, some employers’ associations already predicted the step back into the Stone Age with a simultaneous increase in bureaucracy for companies.

What is really true about the worries of the employers?
Already today, there are obligations for various industries and situations to record employees’ working hours. The recording of the beginning and end of work and the duration of working time. In addition, for certain industries, which are mentioned in the regulation notes ‘law to combat illegal work and illegal employment’ also prescribed the recording of the aforementioned times. In particular, this applies to the area of this blog, e.g. the passenger and goods transport industry as well as the forwarding and related logistics industry. Furthermore, the Working Hours Act provides for drivers who are subject to the EU Regulation on Driving and Rest periods (EC) 561/2006:

(7) The employer is required to record the working time of the employees.

In view of these already existing legal norms, the indignation is at least not fully comprehensible, at least for the aforementioned economic sectors. Because the obligation to record the working time is therefore not new.

Since all drivers who are subject to EU Regulation on driving and rest periods (EC) 561/2006 and are therefore subject to the Tachograph Regulation and make detailed records of working hours with the help of the tachograph no problem. These can, of course, be used in the sense of the obligation of the employer to record the working hours. However, this requires that the drivers operate the tachograph switch for Work/Rest/PoA correctly and the same is, of course, truthful manual entries.

For all other employees whose working hours must be recorded in accordance with the stipulations of Directive 2002/15 / EC, of course, corresponding regulations must be implemented in the company. However, as has already been said, this has been the case since the introduction of the abovementioned legal norms. As a rule, most companies today have their own interest in time recording systems, which in most cases also have to register all breaks. These systems often serve not only to monitor employee working hours but also as a basis for payroll.

After all, it can be assumed that nothing will change in the area of goods and passenger transport. Incidentally, this would require the amendment of a legal norm at the national level, such as the Working Hours Act.

Both the explanations are given in support of the judgment and the arguments of the Advocate General clearly show that: Regulations, in particular, protective measures for workers, are more or less meaningless, if there is no system, to be able to control the implementation of these provisions. It, therefore, seems objectively only logical that the recording of the working hours of employees is already necessary so that they can be checked by the labour protection authorities. The focus of the judgment was on the rights of workers to protect their health and improve their working conditions. In the same context, it is pointed out in the judgment that violations of these workers’ rights are hardly detectable by the persons concerned without compulsory registration of working hours.