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Keeping track of employee hours
A recent case in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) highlights the importance of keeping a proper record of the hours worked by employees. The ECJ held that, in order to comply with the provisions of the Working Time Directive on maximum weekly working time and daily and weekly rest, Member States must require employers to set up an “objective, reliable and accessible system enabling the duration of time worked each day by each worker to be measured”.
Regulation 9 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 already requires employers to keep “adequate records” to show compliance with the 48-hour limit on the average week and the protections for night workers, but the suggestion that employers need to keep specific records to prove compliance with other Working Time Regulations obligations (such as the right to rest breaks) is new.
Other legislation imposes similar obligations. Minimum wage legislation has required employers, for some years now, to keep a proper record of the hours worked by employees. There is a presumption that the minimum wage has not been paid unless the employer can prove the contrary and there are also criminal offences associated with failure to maintain records.
For all of these reasons, employers should ensure they have a system in place to accurately record the hours worked (and breaks taken) by their employees. The cost of not doing so (especially where minimum wage issues are in play) can be very high.