Working Time Directive

ECJ rules employers must track all hours employees work

A recent (14th May 2019) ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) related to the Working Time Directive sparked our interest here in Softworks as it points to the larger global trend towards mandatory tracking and reporting of employee working hours.

The case was taken by a Spanish Union against a local unit of Deutsche Bank arguing the Bank should be forced to set up a system to record time worked by staff each day. They said this would help the union make sure the Bank was complying with labor laws, including the obligation to send unions information on overtime worked by staff each month. The Bank’s counter-argument was that it didn’t record all employees’ working hours because Spanish law only required it to keep a record of overtime hours.

The ECJ said that without proper records of time worked, it is “excessively difficult, if not impossible in practice, for workers to ensure their rights are complied with.” Accordingly, the court ruled that all EU states must require employers to have an “objective, reliable and accessible system” that enables the duration of time worked each day by employees to be recorded.

Only time will tell how this ruling will be applied in each European member state but it’s part of the global trend we’re seeing towards companies needing to be able to record employee hours to show compliance with legislation such as the Fair Labor Standards Act in the USA , The Canada Labor Code, and the EU Working Time Directive. The inability to report or track hours worked pose a substantial risk to companies with employees bringing cases for unpaid overtime or hours worked outside of agreed hours.

In the US lawsuits have been filed against many high profile organisations including Urban Outfitters, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, CVS and Wells Fargo alleging employers misclassified employees as exempt from overtime or failed to pay overtime. In Canada, a class action lawsuit was brought against part of Bank of Montreal’s wealth management group alleging it did not keep a proper record of the time employees worked and did not appropriately compensate employees when they worked overtime. In the UK John Lewis had to spend £40m to compensate staff who were accidentally underpaid for working Sundays and Bank Holidays over a seven-year period.

Wherever you employ staff, ensuring legislative compliance and managing, recording and tracking working hours has never been more important. A good Time & Attendance Solution can automate this process for you and make sure your organisation is always 100% compliant. We work with all sorts of companies some using our “Honour Based Attendance Tracking”, designed specifically for organisations where the culture is not to clock, and others are simple “Web-Based In & Out clocks”.

Book a demo of our Time and Attendance Solutions today.

Read more about the ECJ ruling