European Court Rules That Employers Must Track Worker Hours

European Court Rules That Employers Must Track Worker Hours

17 June 2019

In a new ruling that could affect agencies and other employers, The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that employers need to have systems in place to accurately record hours worked by a worker each day.

In a case between the Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and Deutsche Bank SAE, the court ruled that employers need to have records of hours worked to ensure compliance with the Working Time Directive.

The Working Time Directive was incorporated into UK law in 1998 with the Working Time Regulations (WTR). Unless an employee ‘opts out’ of these regulations, the employer needs to make sure that they work no more than 48 hours per week on average.

The regulations also say that employees and workers are legally entitled to rest breaks, paid holidays and more.

Regulation 9 of the WTR stipulates that employers need to keep ‘adequate records’ that show they are complying with weekly working time limits and night work limits. But it does not specifically state that all hours of work are to be recorded.

Health and Safety Executive guidance says that specific records are not required, stating that employers may be able to rely on other existing records like pay to meet Regulation 9 requirements.

But the CJEU ruling goes against this, raising doubts about whether the WTR complies with the EU’s requirements.

Following a referral from a Spanish court, the CJEU argued that without a proper system in place to track worker hours, the rights enjoyed by workers under the Working Time Directive were diminished.

Their ultimate verdict was that EU member states must require employers to set up an accessible system that allows the duration of time worked by an employee to be measured.

While no change has yet been made to UK law, employers should now make sure that there are clear systems in place to measure hours worked.

Miles Grady, director of Umbrella.co.uk said: “Ultimately, this court case will beef up the UK’s Working Time Regulations. While these rules could theoretically change when the UK leaves the EU, employers should start putting systems in place now to record working hours if they don’t already have them.

“To ensure compliance, all of Umbrella.co.uk's umbrella workers have timesheets that they can fill in to record hours worked. This helps make sure that our clients are protected against Working Time Regulation infractions.”

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