Employment Law

From the Courts! Employers and Working Time

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For now, the UK remains a member of the EU and is therefore bound by decisions which are passed down through the European court system.
In a recent case involving a Spanish trade union (the CCOO) and Deutsche Bank*, the question of whether an employer is obliged to record the actual daily working time of its employees was considered. In this case the employer had an inadequate system for recording working and there was insufficient record of what employees had worked on particular days. The trade union argued that the employer’s practice was contrary to the Working Time Directive which places employer under a specific obligation to ensure that there is a log of hours worked.
After consideration, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that employers were indeed under an obligation to keep records of the hours which their employees work. The Court was of the view that if there was no requirement to keep records then it would be impossible to determined in an “objective and reliable” manner the number of hours worked. The Court went on to say that without a record keeping system this would actually mean that employers were unable to ensure compliance with limitations on weekly working time and daily and weekly rest periods.
The UK implements the Working Time Directive into national law through the Working Time Regulations 1998. Following a review of the Regulations, which currently bind UK employers, it was clear that they do not actually properly reflect this requirement. The Government will now need to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 and once this amendment has been made all UK employers will be expected to comply with all record keeping requirements.
Most employers will already have a system in place for recording hours, irrespective of this judgement but going forward it seems like there will be little choice to be had in the matter. Given that proper record keeping feeds into best practice anyway, Howarths would recommend that employers implement measures to ensure that this is done with immediate effect. Howarths are able to support with matters concerning record keeping, daily rest compliance and annual leave and work in partnership with My HR Toolkit who have developed an incredibly user-friendly HR management software package for the SME market.
If you would like a member of the team to set you up for a no obligations demonstration of the software then please contact either, a member of the Employment Law team or, Justine Crabtree who will be more than happy to assist.
*Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) v Deutsche Bank SAE

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