How do I say my working hours

Employment Law : Does the boss determine the working hours?

Our reader asks: I work full-time as a management assistant and would like to postpone my working hours. My boss wants me to be in the office between 8 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. Since my daughter's day care center closes at 4 p.m. and I have to rely on the support of a babysitter every day, I would, like some colleagues in the administration, start at 7 a.m. and finish work at 3.30 p.m. My employment contract doesn't state when I have to work. Can I ask my boss to change my working hours accordingly?

Marta Böning, labor lawyer at the German Trade Union Confederation, answers: There is no simple answer to your question. Even if the daily working hours are not specified in your contract, it may well be that your company has binding rules on how much leeway employees have in structuring their working hours. Your boss would also be bound by that.

It is conceivable, for example, that company working hours are regulated as so-called flextime. This means that employees have to be present “from-to” during the core hours, but can determine the start and end of their daily working hours themselves within the so-called sliding zone - provided they adhere to their weekly working hours. If the morning flextime zone were set between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., for example, your boss could not simply ask that you start your work at 8 a.m.

The same applies if it is expressly regulated in your company that each employee can determine their own individual working hours within the company's working hours. You can find out whether you have such a regulation from your works council, which is involved in determining the rules.

The boss has to weigh up: what is more important?

However, if there is no regulation of the company working hours and the position of the working hours is not fixed in the contract, the boss may determine it. In doing so, he must take into account your family obligations, especially childcare issues, while weighing up the company's interests. The result can vary depending on the individual case. So the question arises for you, how indispensable your assistance really is until 4.30 p.m. and how much you depend on postponing your working hours.

Currently in the department

So you do not have the right to determine the daily position of your working hours according to your needs. You can only demand a fixed position for working hours if you reduce your working hours at the same time - here too, however, the employer can say no for operational reasons. The legal situation is unsatisfactory for employees who do family care work.

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