Very often, persons starting work in Germany are surprised that Zeitkonto is used to settle their working time. Indeed, Polish law doesn’t provide for such a solution. For this reason, we encourage you to read our article. We explain here what Zeitkonto is.

1. What is Zeitkonto?

Zeitkonto constitutes an abbreviation of the German name Arbeitszeitkonto. This term translates into English as working time account. Such a name is justified. The working time account works in a similar way to a bank account. An individual account is created for each employee and overtime hours worked by the employee are recorded there. In the event that, in a given month, an employee worked fewer hours than the working hours standard, the hours accumulated in the working time account will be used to cover the missing hours. The hours accumulated on Zeitkonto may also be used by the employee as days off.

Working time accounts are very popular in Germany, especially among temporary employment agencies. Indeed, Zeitkonto allows to flexibly shape working time. The employer gains a tool to equalise fluctuations in the workload of employees. In the months when there is less demand for work, unworked hours are supplemented from Zeitkonto which has accumulated overtime hours worked out during the period of increased demand for work.

Moreover, Zeitkonto ensures that workers are paid a fixed amount. Thanks to that, the employee receives remuneration at a similar level, even though he/she doesn’t always work the full working time norm.

2. Types of working time accounts

We can distinguish two basic types of working time accounts:

  • short-term account,
  • long-term account.

A short-term account is created for a strictly defined period, after which it should be reset. As a rule, this period is one year. However, internal company regulations may reduce it to, for example, six months. This article refers to the short-term account.

A long-term account (Langzeitkonto) is created for a period exceeding 12 months. For this reason, very often these accounts are referred to as lifetime ones. Hours accumulated in a long-term account are usually used by employees to extend parental leave or to take early retirement.

3. Payment of hours from Zeitkonto

As indicated above, at the expiry of the fixed period of time, the short-term working time account should be reset to zero. Therefore, after the end of this period, the overtime accumulated on Zeitkonto, that hasn’t been used to cover the short hours, should be paid to the employees together with the remuneration.

Payment of hours from Zeitkonto should also occur in the event of exceeding the fixed limit of hours accumulated on the account. This limit is generally 150 hours. In this case, the employer is obliged to pay the worker remuneration for all hours accumulated on Zeitkonto. This obligation exists regardless of how many hours the employee worked in a given month.

The hours accumulated in the working time account are also paid in the event of termination of employment. The worker should be paid with his/her last salary.

4. Legal notice

The study is a work within the meaning of the Act of 4 February 1994 on Copyright and Related Rights (OJ 2006, No. 90, item 631, consolidated text, as amended). Publishing or reproducing this study or its part, quoting opinions, as well as disseminating in any other way the information contained therein without the written consent of Crede sp. z o.o. is prohibited.

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