A recent case at the Court of European Justice of the European Union (CJEU) suggests national law should impose an obligation for employers. That obligation? Keep records of the actual time their employees work under the Working Time Directive (WTD).
The case saw the Spanish trade union bring actions against the Deutsche Bank at the National High Court of Spain. They sought a declaration that the bank was under obligation to instate a system to record the daily working hours of its workers. Previously, the bank used an absences calendar that was tracking when employees were on annual or sick leave. This, rather than recording the actual hours that had been worked.
Without a record of these hours, there are no guarantee employers would be in compliance with the obligations set out by the WTD. That means employees could be prevented from enforcing their rights due to a lack of evidence of their work.
More about the case
The WTD sets minimum conditions which member states must meet to improve health and safety in the workplace. Such requirements will include periods of daily rest under Article 3, weekly rest under Article 5 and maximum weekly working time under Article 6.
Advocate General Pitruzzella proposes the court should make a finding that employers keep a record of hours worked each day by workers. In particular, Pitruzella suggests employers use any dictation method that proves to be the most effective.
Here’s where this is all leading to. The court will now need to provide its interpretation of the Advocate General’s opinion. If in agreement, it may raise questions over the compliance of the current record keeping of time worked. The Advocate General’s opinion is not binding. Historically though, the CJEU tends to agree with it. That means employers should ensure they have a time recording method in place to avoid potential claims in the future.
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