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Europe has spoken: employers must record the number of hours spent working each day

12 June 2019

The European Court of Justice held last week in the case of CCOO v Deutsche Bank SAE (C-55/18) that it is necessary for employers to record the duration of time worked by workers each day in order to protect the fundamental right of workers to a limitation of maximum working hours and to daily and weekly rest periods.

The case was referred to the ECJ by the Spanish courts who were considering a class action brought by a union against Deutsche Bank. The union sought a judgment declaring that Deutsche Bank be under an obligation to set up a system recording the time worked each day by its members of staff to verify that working times stipulated were being adhered to.

The Spanish court specifically asked the ECJ whether the Working Time Directive required member states to require employers to set up a system enabling the duration of time worked each day by each worker to be measured.

The ECJ’s judgment stated that:

"the introduction of an objective, reliable and accessible system enabling the duration of time worked each day by each worker to be measured falls within the general obligation [in the Directive] to provide the organisation any means necessary for the protection of the safety and health of workers."

The UK’s Working Time Regulations (at Regulation 9) currently provide that employers are required to keep "adequate records" of working time to ensure that limits on working time and night work limits are adhered to. The Regulations do not currently provide that employers must record all hours worked by individuals. This judgment therefore means that the Regulations may not be compatible with the Working Time Directive, and the UK Government may need to amend the Regulations in order to require employers to record the specific working time of individuals. In the meantime, employers would be wise to put into place arrangements to record working time on a daily basis, as workers could seek to enforce this before any amendment to the WTR is made.

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