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It's high (working) time - draft legislation to revise the Working Hours Act

from | 18 Apr 2023

Quite suddenly and abruptly, a draft bill by the German Federal Ministry of Labor for a new version of the Working Hours Act was announced in the press today, which is intended to translate the long overdue requirements of European and also German case law on the subject of recording working hours into a statutory regulation.

The core elements of the proposal are that daily electronic time recording by employers should be mandatory. The start, end and duration of daily working time must be recorded electronically, as must break times.

Nevertheless, the new regulation is not intended to abolish trust-based working time. In this respect, the delegation of working time recording and its basic control to employees should remain possible.

In addition to a certain amount of regulatory leeway for collective bargaining agreements, a transitional arrangement for the introduction of an electronic system is also planned, depending on the size of the company. In general, employers will not be required to record working hours electronically for up to one year after the law comes into force, but will still be able to do so by handwriting, for example.

PBC legal takeaways: The draft and the regulations it envisages set the starting point for an intensive and controversial discussion that is now beginning. This is at least a helpful impulse, something is getting moving. That is gratifying. However, it is already apparent that, from the point of view of companies, the legislative process should still provide some impetus in order to reflect modern working environments in the best possible and most pragmatic way. More modern and flexible regulations on rest periods and maximum working hours, for example, are urgently needed and will hopefully be given greater consideration.

Author of this article and


Florian Christ

Florian Christ

Attorney at Law | Labor Law Specialist

Luisa Victoria Jeck

Luisa Victoria Jeck

Attorney at Law