Trust-based Working Time

Trust-based working time represents a working time model in which employees are able to freely arrange their working time.


Trust-based working time is a special working time model in which employees can freely arrange their working time. The employer only determines the total volume of weekly or monthly working time. There is no fixed working time.

Definition of Trust-based Working Time

The decisive factor for the working time model is that time management is transferred to the employees. Trust-based working time thus enables flexible working hours, as the focus is on the processing of tasks. The goals which will be achieved can be the subject of so-called target agreements.

Trust-based working time, also known as trust-based flextime, means that employees can organize their working time largely independently and on their own responsibility. Only the number of weekly or monthly working hours is determined by the employer, but not the start and end. The rules of the Working Hours Act must also be observed here.



A significant advantage is the free allocation of work. This results in an excellent work-life balance. The employees divide up their work in the way that suits them best. In addition, they can develop freely and create the best possible working conditions for themselves.


The main disadvantage is that employees need a high level of self-organization. Many people find it difficult to organize their working hours successfully and to estimate the time they need correctly. Only through a lot of discipline is it possible to always invest the required amount of time.



There are also various advantages for managers. Employees are usually much more motivated when there is no control over working hours. This in turn increases productivity. Furthermore, capacities are freed up since the control of working hours is no longer necessary.


A disadvantage may be that a special culture of trust is required on the part of the employer. More than ever, employers need to be able to assess their employees as well as. Otherwise, there may be a bad awakening when the deadline expires and the work is not finished.

Can Trust-Based Working Time Be Rejected?

Whether an employee can reject the working time model depends on the individual case. If, for example, the employer waives any form of working time recording, the trust-based working time is not permissible.

In this case, there is a violation of Section 16 (2) of the Working Hours Act (ArbZG). According to this, the employer is obliged to document working time that exceeds eight hours. However, it is permitted to transfer the documentation obligation to the employee.

Overtime and Trust-Based Working Time

The danger with this working time model is that employees often work longer hours than specified in their employment contract. Therefore, working time accounts must be maintained here as well so that it is possible for employees to be compensated for the additional hours. This was decided by the Federal Labor Court in its ruling of September 23, 2015, Ref.: 5 AZR 767/13. Unpaid overtime is therefore generally not permitted.

Other Flexible Working Time Models

  • With flextime, the employee can arrange their own time within a certain framework. However, they must be present during the so-called core working hours.
  • In job sharing, two or more employees share a workplace together.
  • In the case of part-time work, employees also have a great deal of freedom, as they only work a few hours a day.
  • Functional working time is characterized by employees agreeing among themselves. The schedule is flexible if the overall operation runs smoothly.


We would like to point out that our website provides non-binding information, which under no circumstances constitutes legal advice. This also, and especially, applies to topics within the sphere of legal HR advise. The content of this contribution cannot and is not intended to replace individual and binding legal advice. For this reason, all information provided is without guarantee of correctness and completeness, but always researched with the utmost care.

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