A company producing food ordered its employees to wear certain clothing during work for hygienic reasons. The clothes had to be put on and taken off at the company’s establishment, in a separate changing room. An employee claimed remuneration for the time needed to change into and out of the work clothing and for the walking time between the workplace and the changing room.
The German Federal Labour Court ruled in favour of the employee. In case it is mandatory for the employees to wear certain clothes during work and these clothes must be put on and taken off at the employer’s establishment, the changing time is part of the employee’s working time. This also includes the walking time between the workplace and the changing room.
To determine the amount of remuneration due, it must be determined how much time is required for the change of clothes and the walk from the changing room to the workplace. Generally, the employee must demonstrate that the time he/she claims payment for is necessary for the change of clothes. However, the court may also estimate the time based on the facts of the case. In the present case, the court estimated that 27 minutes per workday were necessary for the change of clothes and the walk between the changing room and the workplace.