In an attempt to ensure that all workers have a right to limit their working hours and to take adequate rest periods, Spain’s largest trade union, ‘Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO)’ recently appealed a case against Deutsche Bank to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The appeal requested that employers implement a system to accurately record the daily and weekly working time of all employees.
The European Court of Justice overturned the original decision of the Spanish Supreme Court, holding that under the Working Time Directive, employers should be required to create an accurate system that measures the time worked by workers each day. The system should show that weekly and daily rest periods are met and ensure that workers are not working more than 48 hours per week without opting out of the Working Time Regulations.
Although the decision by the ECJ is legally binding in the UK and therefore now applies to all employers, the UK’s interpretation of this aspect of the Working Time Directive has not yet been tested.
Currently in the UK, legislation requires employers to only keep ‘adequate records’. However, in light of this decision, it is advised that employers keep detailed records of employee daily working times in addition to those contained in contracts of employment. Records should include paid and unpaid working time, together with any overtime worked.
Employers should be aware that a failure to present accurate records of daily and weekly working times may influence a tribunal’s interpretation of a claim. Therefore, it is recommended that employers at least implement this practice as a precaution.
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