New laws on working hours and sectoral collective agreements provide companies and administrations with many possibilities for working time flexibilisation with or without time accounts. Their advantages are especially effective during times of crisis; the reduction of time credit, for example, permits the avoiding or the delaying of otherwise inevitable redundancies.

Aims of the system checks

Systematic and extensive inventory of the current working time and time account regulations regarding the company as a whole or certain divisions.

Our questions in the system check

    • Which competencies of the working time flexibilisation are intended for companywide use or certain divisions (e.g. part-time, job sharing, flextime with or without core hours, annual working times with or without regulated allocation over the year, varying weekly hours of work, work on call, etc.)?
    • How often do the target persons respectively the target groups actually deploy these concepts or their variants (e.g. diffusion and permeation rate of part-time and its various variants)?
    • In which way and how fast does the company respond to perceived changes in the work load and/or desired working times of single employees? 
    • Which changes arise in comparison with previous system checks?
    • In what way are the results of the system checks different in comparison to other companies?

      Reasons for a system check

        • uncontrolled growth of working time regulations in the different departments of the company and isolated applications without mutual agreements
        • loss of overview and control over the locally practised working time regulations by the central personnel department respectively the time-recording clerk
        • drifting apart of the formal and factual working time regulations in the different departments
        • critique on established regulations and call for reorganisation on the part of the management and/or the employees
        • feedback from the personnel marketing department on altered working time requests from qualified candidates
        • desire for determination of position in sectoral and corporate comparisons (How do we perform in benchmarking?)

          The methodology of ISPA consult

            • document analysis (collective agreements, company agreements, internal guides), time-relevant personnel statistics and comparative studies
            • written or oral executive and employee surveys
            • creation of a result report in print and online format

            Reference projects:

            system checks in various companies and system checks in Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg (work-centered employee survey)

              Aims of the working time consulting

              Evidence-based planning and implementation of optimal working time flexibilisation in the company as a whole or in particular departments considering applicable labour law and the co-determination right of the works council.

              Focuses of the working time consulting

                • method-based evaluation of already existing concepts and instruments of the internal working time flexibilisation depending on strengths and weaknesses as well as cost and benefit following the system check
                • process consulting in order to improve existing and develop new, so far non-practised concepts and instruments of the working time flexibilisation for previous and new target group
                • feasibility and profitability studies for intended reorganisations of the working time flexibilisation
                • content consulting: recommendations for action in order to internally adapt single components or the overall system of the working time flexibilisation according to the demands and requests of the client company

                  Which resistances and obstacles have to be overcome while planning working time flexibilisation?

                    • Missing or incomplete and uncertain planning criteria (work load, desires regarding the working time, effects of alternative working time regulations)

                    • Limited search for alternative working time regulations (concentration on familiar and customary standards)

                    • Labour law restrictions (laws on working hours, collective agreements, company agreements)

                    • Method deficiencies in evaluating determined alternatives (e.g. due to lacking acceptance of formalised assessment procedures)

                    • Conflict of interests between management and employees or, as the case may be, between different divisions of the company in reorganising the working times

                      Basic functions of time accounts

                        • Individual time accounts are required to collect short, medium and long term differences of the contractually agreed or costumary working time.
                        • Time account inflows are generated when the clock time is greater than the target time (e.g. 45 hours per week instead of 40 hours per week; difference of 5 hours turns into "time credit" on the time account).
                        • Time account outflows are generated when the clock time is less than the target time (e.g. 37 hours per week instead of 40 hours per week; difference of 3 hours turns into "debit" on the time account).
                        • The balance can be positive (= time credit), even or negative (= time debit).
                        • In times of depressed employment situations companies tend to reduce the employees' time credit before taking other measures of adjustment from reduced hours up to socially acceptable redundancies.
                        • Time accounts as internal retirement provision through the accumulation of time credit over a long period of time became less important.

                          Focuses of the ISPA time account consulting

                            Time account design (with in- and outflow arrangements)

                            • implementation of time accounts
                            • management of time accounts (e.g. "traffic light" accounts)
                            • insolvency insurance measures


                            Institute of Labor and Social Studies, Warsaw + Deutsch-Polnische Juristenvereinigung e.V., Berlin: Vorarbeiten zur Reform des polnischen Arbeitsrechts, insbesondere Arbeitszeitrecht (since 2007)

                            Commerzbank AG: Project "Zeitwertkonto COMFLEX PLUS" (since 2005)

                            Allianz Lebensversicherungs-AG: Project "Flexible Arbeitszeitmodelle, Gestaltung, Finanzierung und Insolvenzsicherung 1999" and related topics, e.g. working time accounts and internal retirement provision 2000