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ECJ: Time recording mandatory for companies

Especially in start-ups or smaller media companies that I supervise, the matter of accurate time recording is not taken so seriously. The clock hardly exists anywhere. Of course, the situation does not look any better for all the activities which may all be in breach of the Minimum Wage Act(see this article).

This could now be brought to an end by a recent ruling by the ECJ. A judgment that has the potential to turn the world of work around.

In Case C-55/18, the EU’s highest court ruled that companies in the EU must record the working hours of their employees and that member states must legislate to do so. The Court thus, as so often, follows the opinion of the Advocate General, in this case Giovanni Pitruzzella.

Employers will be obliged to systematically record the working hours of their employees. This is the only way to check whether permissible working hours are exceeded and to prevent breaches of the EU Working Time Directive. Incidentally, a Spanish trade union had brought an action against Deutsche Bank.

In Germany, only Section 16 of the Working Time Act exists so far:

(1) The employer is obliged to make an imprint of this Act, the legal regulations issued pursuant to this Act, which apply to the establishment and the collective agreements and operating or service agreements applicable to the establishment within the meaning of Section 7 para. 1 to 3, Sections 12 and 21a para. 6 to be interpreted or suspended at an appropriate location in the holding for inspection.
2. The employer shall be obliged to record the working time of the employees, which goes beyond the working weekday of Paragraph 3, sentence 1, and to keep a list of employees who are required to extend the working time in accordance with Paragraph 7(1) of the 7. The evidence must be kept for at least two years.


This must now be left unapplied and working hours recorded from the first hour, not only in order to meet the obligations laid down in the Minimum Wage Act, but in ALL cases. All companies, including small start-ups, should prepare for the speeches, because working time must always be recorded, every e-mail, every chat, every phone call, even outside the office – theoretically at least. Violations should then not be tolerated and it should be ensured that, as a rule, only 48 hours per week are worked and 11 hours of break at a time are observed, once a week even 24 hours. This is especially relevant for media startups in the field of YouTube or social media, who often also work at night or at weekends or are active.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053