A claim has been brought in the European Court of Justice concerning recording hours worked by workers.

 

What happened

A trade union brought a claim to the Spanish National High Court for a judgment that Deutsche Bank was under an obligation to record the actual daily working time of its employees. The Bank only recorded absences for full working days, for example, if people were on holiday or off sick. The Bank didn’t record the actual hours worked.

The Working Time Directive provides for daily and weekly rest breaks and the limit on weekly working time. It also places an obligation on employers to keep adequate records. By only recording an absence of a full day, it was not possible to check if the Bank was complying with their legal rest break and working time obligations.

The case was referred to the ECJ, where the Advocate General has issued an opinion stating that to comply with the Working Time Directive, national law must require employers to keep a record of the actual time worked by workers.

 

Why does it matter?

Although the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding, it is usually followed by the ECJ.

The effect of the opinion is that employers will be found to be in breach of the law unless they can prove they have complied. If an employer has the required records, they will be able to show they are innocent.

If you never have an employee who brings a claim, it won’t be a problem. Nor is it likely to be a problem for those in the haulage industry who are likely to have these records or if you pay by the hour as you’ll need to have a record of hours worked to calculate pay. However, if you pay by the month or salary, then you may be in trouble if someone brings a claim.

 

Advice

The best advice is to keep a clear record of hours worked, or better still, make it a contractual obligation for employees to maintain such a record, on your own systems.