Working time models with a high degree of flexibility are in great demand among a company’s employees. Such a form of trust-based working time holds out the prospect of freer time management in addition to greater personal responsibility. Although employers relinquish control in this context, employees must take certain obligations into account. There are also advantages and disadvantages to trust-based working time, as well as a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Working time on a basis of trust is briefly explained
Employees can organize and schedule their daily working time on their own initiative through trust-based working time. Companies do not dictate to their employees when a working day begins or ends. Moreover, there is no control of working time.
The focus is usually on the completion of tasks. The weekly hours agreed in the employment contract must be adhered to by the employees. If the employees’ results match the expectations of management, there is usually no strict monitoring. However, there is no legal entitlement to trust-based working time and it can be stipulated, for example, in the works agreement or individually in an employment contract.
Working time on a basis of trust in practice
In companies, for example, employees can work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the traditional manner. In addition, there is no obligation to work eight hours every working day. However, anyone who stops work after around four hours must make up the missing time on another working day against the background of the agreed weekly hours. Thinking in terms of time units must give way in such an organization and be replaced by the achievement of agreed benefits.
It is, of course, always possible that overtime will be required in order to cope with the required workload. In principle, overtime must be paid only when it has been officially ordered by the employer. However, this case occurs comparatively rarely due to the legal regulations. Overtime must be documented. Each company can delegate this task to the employees concerned.
Time recording in connection with trust-based working time
The ECJ, among others, is of the opinion that time recording in connection with trust-based working time is an extremely important issue. This is because it is the only way that the actual working time worked can be recorded and consequently monitored, despite the possible free allocation of time. Against this background, it is therefore an essential advantage for both parties. It is not the lack of trust that dominates here, but rather the assurance of compliance with legal requirements.
Time and Attendance can be carried out in the context of time recording, for example, via an app or a digital time clock. If employees of a company take care of time recording themselves, the current Working Hours Act requires employers to conduct spot checks from time to time. This law is intended to ensure that the duty of care is fulfilled and, at the same time, that an overload of employees is detected at an early stage.
A fine line for companies
Companies of all sizes have certainly discussed the introduction of trust-based working time internally at one time or another and perhaps even put it into practice. However, the idea that employees benefit exclusively from this arrangement is a widespread fallacy with unpleasant consequences.
In addition, trust-based working time gains its raison d’être on the assumption that employees organize and finally implement their projects and all associated tasks on their own responsibility. If difficulties arise here, trust-based working time is quickly called into question. For this reason, it is advisable to introduce time recording, including the necessary technical equipment, and in this way to obtain a certain added value in the form of controls.