How Will the Recent Ruling by the European Court of Justice Affect the Roadmap for Time Management Solutions?

On May 14, 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that employers must set up a suitable system for recording the entire working time for employees.

What does this mean for our customers, and how are we responding to help our customers comply with this ruling?


Before we discuss the consequences of this ruling, it is important to note that there is, as yet, no timeline for this specific legislation. This will be determined by the individual member states. Germany and Spain have already started discussions. In our 40 years of experience in human resources (HR), we know that implementation by the legislative bodies can take time, so we do not expect legal requirements for at least one year. However, we are actively planning what we can do to support this ruling and our customers in each EU member state.

What Does this Ruling State?

This ruling specifically states that European Union “member states must require employers to set up an objective, reliable, and accessible system enabling the duration of time worked each day by each worker to be measured.”

The implementation of the new ECJ ruling is the responsibility of the EU member states: “It is for the Member States to define the specific arrangements for implementing such a system, in particular the form that it must take, having regard, as necessary, to the particular characteristics of each sector of activity concerned, or the specific characteristics of certain undertakings concerning, inter alia, their size.”

The ECJ states that without such a system the provisions of the European Working Time Directive, in particular on maximum working hours and rest periods, would not be controllable. In Germany for example, Section 16 (2) of the Working Hours Act stipulates that only working hours exceeding eight hours per day are to be recorded.

A similar law already exists in Spain, where employers must establish a time record of the hours worked by their employees and store the data for a minimum of four years.

How Will SAP React?

While it is not yet clear how EU governments will react to this decision, we will continue to monitor developments closely, and we are confident that we have the necessary expertise to help our customers comply with any new regulations.

What is clear is that these types of regulations are not unique to the European Union, so we will be looking to provide the functionality to meet similar requirements worldwide.

SAP already provides comprehensive localization best practices that empower customers to comply with different rules around sick leave and other time off types in different countries, allowing customers to configure their systems to meet these requirements.

These new legal requirements will all become part of our significant investment into time and attendance functionality both within SAP SuccessFactors and across the entire SAP suite as part of the Intelligent Enterprise.

We have an exciting product roadmap that contains plans to help our customers to comply with the new time recording regulations whenever they come into force for each EU member state.

How Does This Fit into the Bigger HR Picture?

This ruling goes beyond ensuring fair compensation; it also touches on employee health and well-being. This is a wider trend, exemplified by a European automotive company switching off their e-mail exchange servers after work hours and on weekends and new laws in France to ensure employees don’t have to work after regular work hours. Health and well-being is being seen as a crucial differentiator for many employers as they seek to avoid employee burnout and instead increase employee retention.

What’s Next?

It is clear that we need to increase our investment into SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Time Management and to build out the time sheet capabilities for time tracking to help our customers comply with this new EU ruling. We want to provide tools to employers and employees that make it easy for them to capture time worked and help ensure people can be transparent about when they work. This is not simply to comply with important new legislation but also to help our customers improve employee well-being and engagement that directly affects company performance and the bottom line.

We will continue to communicate our plans and product roadmap as we learn more. To keep up-to-date with our plans and roadmap, please subscribe the SAP Product Roadmaps.

For any questions, please reach out to

Paul Meredith is director of Solution Management for SAP SuccessFactors.