A recent case heard at the Court of European Justice of the European Union (CJEU) suggests that national law should impose an obligation for employers to keep records of the actual time worked by their employees 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 seeking a declaration that the bank was under obligation to instate a system to record the daily working hours of its workers. Up to this point, the bank was using an absences calendar to record when employees were on annual or sick leave, rather than recording the actual hours that had been worked.
Without a record of these hours, there is no guarantee that employers are complying with the obligations set out by the WTD, meaning that employees could be prevented from enforcing their rights due to a lack of evidence of their work.
The WTD sets minimum conditions which member states must meet to improve health and safety in the workplace. Such requirements include periods of daily rest under Article 3, weekly rest under Article 5 and maximum weekly working time under Article 6.
Advocate General Pitruzzella proposed that the court make a finding that employers keep a record of hours worked each day by workers using whatever method they dictate to be the most effective.
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. While the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding, it’s usually followed by the CJEU meaning that employers should ensure they have a time recording method in place to avoid potential claims in the future.
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