October 17, 2019

European Court of Justice: Tracking Employees' Working Hours

The EU Work hours Directive stipulates a maximum average work week of 48 hours. An uninterrupted daily rest period of at least 11 hours, weekly rest days and minimum vacation entitlements. The law is implemented in Germany through the Working Hours Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) which in addition, limits the daily working hours to a maximum of 10 hours.

Another requirement of the German act is that employers are only required to record employees’ work hours when they exceed 8 hours a day, all hours worked on Sundays and all hours worked on public holidays.

On 14 May, 2019 the European Court of Justice ruled that the Member States must require employers to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system to track and record all hours worked by every employee regardless of how many hours worked. Member States were left free to determine the specific arrangements for implementing such a system. In particular its form, taking into account the particularities of each industry, the size and needs of the businesses concerned.

Since the current German laws can not be interpreted to fit the Court’s ruling, a new legislation is required in Germany in order to comply with the Court’s ruling.

The vbw advocates that the any legislation to implement Court’s ruling be limited to the minimal requirements articulated by the Court and no additional burdens be put on employers, which are not part of the Court’s ruling.

The vbw advocates for a liberalization of the limits on working hours. In particular, for the repeal of the 10 hour cap on daily work hours and more flexibility in the requirement for the mandatory rest periods.


Julius Jacoby

Arbeitsrecht, Wirtschaftsrecht, Internationales Recht

Julius Jacoby