It's time for time registration - bill on registration of working hours etc. has been passed

The Danish Parliament has adopted the bill on the long-awaited rules on registration of working hours. In the current Danish legislation, there has not been a general requirement to register employees' daily working hours, but based on the European Court of Justice's ruling in case C-55/18, CCOO, the Danish Parliament has found it necessary to introduce such a requirement. The law will enter into force on July 1, 2024.

Who should register working hours?

The change in the law introduces a requirement for all employees to register their working hours as a rule. This means that the law also applies to managers and all companies, regardless of company form and the size of the workforce.

Can employees be exempt from the rules?

A number of employees can be exempted from the rules. These are so-called self-schedulers.

If the self-scheduler can be exempted from the requirement for weekly working hours, i.e. is exempt from the occupational health and safety rules on daily and weekly rest, the self-scheduler will also be exempt from the time registration requirement.

An employee is a self-scheduler if:

  1. the employee cannot measure or determine working hours in advance due to specific features of the work.
  2. the employee can determine their own working hours in the case of employees who can make independent decisions or who have
    managerial functions.

Whether an employee can be exempted from the rules on maximum working hours and the requirement to register working hours is a concrete assessment.

If an employee can be considered a self-planner and can be exempted from the rules on daily and weekly rest, it must be stated in the employee's employment contract or supplement that the rules do not apply. The absence of such a provision will result in the employee being considered covered by the rules.

The provision that the employee's employment contract or supplement must state that the employee is exempt from the rules on weekly working hours and
time registration, gives rise to considerations for employers in relation to whether the status of self-scheduler is a significant change in the terms of employment of the employees in question.

The working time registration system

The law requires employers to implement a working time recording system so that each employee can measure their daily working hours. There are no requirements on how this system should be designed, but the system must be "objective, reliable and accessible" and employees must be able to access their own information.

Employers have a high degree of freedom of method and the registration system can be an IT system that can be accessed via a computer/laptop, but it can also be an app that can be accessed via a smartphone. Employers can also consider other models, but employers must be mindful to comply with data protection regulations.

Employee data must generally be stored for 5 years after the end of the period that forms the basis for the calculation of the individual employee's average weekly working hours, i.e. up to 5 years and 4 months.

What are working hours?

Working time is defined in accordance with EU law. Working time is defined according to the Working Time Directive Implementation Act, section 2(3) as "the period during which the employee is at work and at the employer's disposal in the performance of his employment or duties", if the collective agreement does not regulate this. Working time will therefore be the time during which an employee is at work, available and performing his or her duties. It will be an overall assessment whether an activity is working time.

Recording working hours gives rise to considerations for employers, including whether on-call shifts constitute working hours, when and how often to record time compared to the working time system the employer chooses, who should supervise the recording of working hours, etc.

Recommendations/get started quickly?

The law comes into force on July 1, 2024, and it will probably take a few months to install the software, implement the time tracking system and get employees on board. Employers should therefore start implementation etc. as early as possible before July 1, 2024 to be compliant.

In this context, employers should e.g:

  • Consider how time tracking should be done, e.g. via IT system or app.
  • Have a dialog with employees and perhaps also their representatives about how this should work in practice.
  • Look at whether there are employees/managers who should be exempt from the requirement to register working hours, and whether addendums to employment contracts should be prepared.
  • Check whether the wording of employment agreements and policies meet legal requirements.
  • Consider whether GDPR is in control in this context as well.