Hesitation is no longer valid

In the company, an employee can now go to the boss and insist that their working hours be recorded with immediate effect. That’s what the Federal Labor Court ruled. And in Berlin, Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) can go to the coalition partners and demand that a new law be needed that spells out this recording of working hours . In both cases, the outcome is uncertain. Last week’s ruling by the federal judges left more open than many headlines suggest. The employer must set up a timekeeping system, yes. But what should this look like? What is to be recorded? And what happens if someone cheats?

Now it’s taking its revenge that both the previous and the current coalition have pushed the issue to themselves. A good three years ago, the European Court of Justice ruled that the member states must oblige employers to record working hours. Very little has happened since then. Now, after the verdict, the employees are unsettled, the companies irritated, and the federal government appears to be procrastinating. That could have gone differently. Instead of shaping the political situation in good time, it is now necessary to hastily rework it. Hesitation is no longer valid.

One thing is already clear: the judges have presented the traffic light coalition with new sources of conflict. The labor market and social policy has not been the flower garden of coalitional harmony. There has been an open argument about the amount of citizen income, about sanctions, and also about tenant protection. It is one of the areas in which the FDP differs a lot from the ideas of the SPD and the Greens.

The court gave the SPD an unexpected victory

The judgment of the labor court gives the Social Democrats the opportunity to enforce their long-standing demand to record working hours as completely as possible. And that, although it is not even in the coalition agreement . There, the partners were only able to agree on a test order. It was the exit door out of this battlefield with the FDP. Now the SPD seems to be gaining a victory without having to make political concessions elsewhere. No one can ignore the verdict.

Still, it won’t be easy. The FDP would like to prove itself in this coalition as the guardian of economic reason – or what it considers to be so. The liberals are already stubbornly defending this role with the debt brake and their notorious no to tax increases. The SPD and Greens can also expect tough resistance when it comes to recording working hours. The pressure is great. Scientists have determined that around 900 million unpaid overtime hours are worked in Germany – every year. So it’s about an amount in the double-digit billions that companies would have to pay additionally.

This situation entails the danger of once again taking refuge in the unknown, as was the case in the coalition agreement. With the minimum wage you can see where this is going. The minimum wage already has an obligation to record working hours, but it is impractical. You can write everything down afterwards, every company has one week to present the working hours. Every control quickly becomes a farce. This must not be repeated on a large scale.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You might like