Legal advice and career

Registration of working time: Understand the rules

From 1 July 2024, you are required to register your working hours. But does everyone have to record their hours? What counts as working time? And how will it work on a daily basis? Get answers to your questions here.

If you haven't heard of it yet, you will soon. From 1 July 2024 your workplace is required to have a working time registration system.

But what is “working time”?

There are two concepts of working time:

  • Working time is time spent solving the tasks for which you are employed and for which you must be paid. This definition is, of course, important, but it is not this type of working time that the new obligation to record time is about.
  • The new requirement for time registration is aimed at what is called "working environment working time", where the purpose is to take care of your safety and health as an employee.

As a salaried employee, you have the right to take time off, get proper rest and thereby take care of yourself, as you already have. What changes with the new regulation is that your employer must be able to document that they comply with the rules on daily and weekly rest time and maximum weekly working hours.

IDA supports the new time recording requirement because we see it as a protection against work pressure and stress.

Read article: Why IDA views the new rules positively

Read about the rules for working hours

Who must record your working hours?

The Working Time Act and thus the duty to record working time applies to the vast majority of employees who work in Denmark - regardless of whether you are privately or publicly employed.

The Act does not apply to managing directors and the self-employed.

So-called "self-organisers" (selvtilrettelæggere) are exempt from time recording. They may be senior managers or academics who have considerable freedom to determine their working hours. Your employment contract must state that you are a self-organiser.

It is the intention of the law that the exceptions are to be used to a limited extent. Companies cannot exempt entire groups of employees either, but it must be a concrete assessment of the individual's position. So a lot needs to be done before you are considered a self-organiser and exempt from the rules on time recording.

If you are in doubt or disagree with your workplace's assessment of your position, you can get advice from IDA.

Log in and write to IDA’s legal department

What counts as working time?

Working time is the time during which you are at work and solve the tasks defined in your job description. If you have the option of working from home, it is of course also working time when you solve your work tasks from home.

Breaks, overtime, time spent answering emails in the evening or when you are available to your employer, are basically also working time.

If you read non-fiction in your spare time for your own interest or get good ideas in the shower, it is usually not considered working time.

If you are in doubt, or if disagreements arise with your manager about what counts as working time, we recommend that you contact our advisers at IDA. 

Log in and contact IDA’s legal advisers

Do I also have to register my working hours if I am employed with a job salary or without maximum working hours?

Yes, the requirement for time registration also applies when you are employed on a job salary or without maximum working hours.

How accurately should I record my working hours?

As a starting point, you must register your total daily working hours. If you work at different times during the day or evening, you must therefore keep accounts yourself and add up the times.

According to the law, the time recording is not about you having to record how much time you spend on different tasks. But this does not mean that your employer cannot ask you for a more detailed time record.

You are not legally obligated to register when you clock in and out, but merely the number of hours worked. In practice, however, it may be easiest for your employer to comply with and document the rules if you register both. It is up to the individual workplace how they want to implement the requirement for time recording.

Do I have to create a system for time registration myself, or is my workplace obliged to create a solution for me?

No, you do not need to come up with a time tracking solution. Your workplace has to.

The requirement for them is that they must introduce an objective, reliable and accessible system that makes it possible to record daily working hours. Within that framework, there is methodical freedom for the individual employer in relation to how the registration of working hours is to take place.

Will I be deducted from my salary if I work less than my working hours?

The same rules as today still apply. You must work the hours for which you are employed according to your employment contract (this states how many hours you must work on a daily or weekly basis).

For example, if you are a public employee, you are employed for a 37-hour working week, which means that your weekly working hours may vary in periods, but over time you must work 37 hours on average.

You can agree with your manager that you work less in periods and then work more in a subsequent period.

However, you should be aware that if you generally work fewer hours than you are employed for and you resign from your position, your employer can deduct your salary for the hours that you have not worked according to your contract.

Am I entitled to time off or paid overtime if I work more hours than I am hired for?

You must have access to your own time registration so that you can check it. It will always be a good idea to talk to your immediate manager if, over a period of time, you work much more than you should. After all, this is precisely the protection that lies in the requirement for time registration.

In relation to time off in lieu or payment of overtime, the rules agreed in your employment contract, staff handbook or collective agreement still apply.

The new rules regarding the duty to record time must therefore not be confused with an agreement that you can now work flexible hours.

What do I do if my employer does not comply with the time registration law or does not follow up on it?

There is currently no associated sanction against employers if they do not meet the requirement for time registration.

But in the event that an employee brings a case against a workplace because they have, for example, not complied with the 48-hour rule, it can have a negative effect on the employer that they have not complied with their duty to record time.

Contact IDA's advisers if your workplace does not comply with the rules on working hours and time recording.

Log in and write to IDA’s legal advisers

What happens if I don't register my time?

As an employee, you will be obliged to register your working hours in the same way as you are already obliged to follow the guidelines, policies etc. which apply at your workplace.

This also means that if you consistently do not record time, it may have consequences for your employment. This corresponds to you not following the other policies and guidelines that are in place at the workplace.

What is my working time data used for?

There is freedom of method for the employer as to which system they want to use to record working hours, so it will also differ from workplace to workplace how they save data.

Remember that the purpose of time recording is to protect you and your health, and that is what your working time data should be used to ensure.

Time recording is therefore not a tool whose purpose is to control you. But if you are worried about surveillance in your workplace, you can read about the rules here:

Monitoring at work: Get control of your rights