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The Importance of Time Tracking: Ensuring Compliance in EU Member States

Time tracking. It means reliably and systematically measuring the amount of time each employee works in a day, to ensure that employees are getting the daily and weekly breaks to which they are entitled.

In some EU countries, time tracking has been around for a long time (think Austria, Luxembourg, and many Eastern European countries). In others, it’s a more recent development: prompted largely by a ruling from the European Court of Justice in May 2019...

Here’s what happened.

Back in 2003 the EU adopted what’s known as the Working Time Directive. Despite its name, this directive didn’t set out a clear requirement for time tracking employees. But, 14 years later, a Spanish trade union (CCOO) brought a lawsuit against the Spanish subsidiary of Deutsche Bank to set up a system for recording the time worked each day by its members of staff.

CCOO argued that Deutsche Bank should have a system in place for recording how much time employees spent working in accordance with Spanish laws as interpreted in the light of the Working Time Directive. This issue was referred to the European Court of Justice, which ruled that - in order to ensure the effectiveness of the rights provided for in the Working Time Directive - EU employers must set up objective, reliable and accessible time tracking systems.

Why is this important now?

In March this year, the European Commission published a report about the implementation progress of the Working Time Directive across the EU. This highlighted the fact that some member states still haven’t passed adequate employee time tracking laws.

This report is likely to prompt action amongst the member states mentioned: Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus, Malta, and Sweden. Change is also underway in Germany where, until last year, there was only a partial requirement to record working time in Germany: specifically, overtime. But in September 2022, the Federal Labour Court (BAG), ruled that employers should implement systems to record working hours.

This obligation is already in effect. A draft bill prepared by the legislator is expected to be passed before the end of June 2023.

What does all this mean for you?

If you have employees in an EU member state, make sure you have an objective, reliable and accessible time tracking system in place. And if you want advice on time tracking - or any other point of cross-border law, - contact PEO Legal, today.


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