Do You Record Working Hours?

Do You Record Working Hours?


  • Date: Monday 20th May 2019
  • PDF: Download

In a recent landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) put the onus on employers to more accurately record working time.

Under the Working Time Directive, employers are already obliged to monitor working hours above 48 per week, although this only applies to those who have not opted out of the agreement.

The Spanish case the ECJ ruled on concerned a complaint raised by a major Trade Union, claiming that their workers were being exploited through missing or shortened breaks and enforced overtime. The investigation into the case concluded that up to 54% of overtime was not recorded.

Because employers did not record the overtime, employees had no grounds to argue that excessive working hours had an impact on their work-life balance.

It is worth noting that, even if an employee has opted out of the Working Time Directive, employers have a responsibility to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

From that perspective, we often answer the question of legal limits for working time with ‘it depends’. You need to not only consider legal constraints but also look at the nature of the work the individual is undertaking, if they have or will be doing additional hours for an extended period and if they have any underlying medical conditions that could be adversely affected.

Following the ruling in this case, we also recommend recording all overtime undertaken by employees; be this paid or unpaid. That way, all involved are on the same page if and when it comes to disputes relating to the expectations of the employer. 

Source: Manuela Grossmann


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