Working hours bank is a voluntary arrangement in which working hours, accrued leave or monetary benefits swapped to compensatory leave can be saved or borrowed as agreed.

Local contracting for the introduction of working hours bank and its terms

The idea of a working hours bank is to promote productivity and competitiveness of companies and their personnel, and to take individual working hours needs into account. The introduction of working hours bank and its terms may be agreed on locally, in a company- or workplace-specific manner. From the employees’ side, the contract is signed by a shop steward or other elected representative.

The following elements should be regulated in the working hours bank contract: who are the employees included in the arrangement, what can be deposited in the bank, when accrued leave may be taken and how it is to be notified, the maximum hours to be deposited and taken out as compensatory leave, and possibly the maximum accrual and levelling off. Also the joining in and resigning from the bank must be clarified, as well as the terms to terminate the working hours bank contract.

Working hours banks and the respective legislation have been discussed in a trilogue format between the government and trade union and industry confederations since the beginning of the millennium. Their introduction has been slow even though the experiences of companies having introduced time banks have been largely positive, from the point of view of both employers and employees.

“We encourage companies to introduce working hours bank arrangements. Usually both the employee and the employer benefit from clear, jointly agreed rules.”