Why is there working time protection? (5-Min Info Contribution)


Working time has been protected since the 19th century. At that time, the Prussian state laid the foundation for limiting the working hours of children and young people in factories. Gradually, the effects of extended working hours were confirmed: health restrictions, declining benefits and increased accident rates. With increased workloads, the protection of working time is more relevant than ever in the world of work 4.0.

It depends on people how much and how long they work at a stretch. In principle, the type of work is also decisive for such an assessment. A carer has a higher workload than a person who does his or her work at a desk. Nevertheless, long working hours can be the cause of numerous physical and mental health problems for employees.

Health Factors

Especially the cardiovascular system is endangered by working too long. High blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia and heart attacks are the result. The gastrointestinal tract can also be affected. In addition to somatic illnesses, psycho-somatic damage can also occur, such as mental exhaustion, sleep disorders, inner restlessness due to stress, anxiety and burnout. Long night shifts of more than 12 hours increase these risks (Amlinger-Chatterjee, 2016).

Efficiency in Company declines

For companies, these health factors are of great importance: efficient and productive work is more likely to be guaranteed with healthy employees. Due to overtiredness or constant stress situations, performance, attention and decision-making. In the case of high-risk professions such as nurses, firefighters, police officers, safety officers, etc., this can even endanger human lives. The risk for accidents increases already from the 7th working hour, after the 9th hour even enormously. From 12 working hours onwards, the risk is twice as high as in a normal working day (BAuA: Praxis Flexible Arbeitszeitmodelle, 2019).

Healthy employees are more productive

Productivity in the company also declines. Longer working hours should only be coordinated to a limited extent and individually. A better division and more flexible organization of working time with the corresponding recovery time is required. Various working time models that are health-conscious and in line with the requirements of the company are helpful here. Flexible models are essential to keep production running, to meet deadlines and to ensure that your customer service runs smoothly. With healthy employees, you can ensure the competitiveness of your company in the long term.


The modern organisation of working time is regulated by the Working Hours Act (ArbZG), also for the framework of agreements between collective bargaining parties. The provisions set the framework for flexible working hours, so that the health of your employees strengthens your company. We will be happy to advise you in order to find a suitable working time model for your company and your work processes.

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