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European Court of Justice: All Employers must measure working time in detail
1. September 2021
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that member states must require employers to set up a system for measuring actual daily working time for individual workers in order to enable verification of compliance with working time limits. All info about the ruling on the Daily working time measurement, you can find out here.
Daily working time measurement: The case
A Spanish workers’ union brought a group action against Deutsche Bank asking the national court to make a declaration that the bank was under an obligation to set up a system for recording the time worked each day by its members of staff. The national court referred questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), telling them that 53.7% of overtime hours in Spain weren’t recorded and argued that the country’s law didn’t ensure effective compliance with EU rules on working time or workers’ health and safety.
The ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ)
The ECJ said that countries in the 28-nation EU (now 27 countries) “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.” It found that, absent such a system, it is impossible to determine “objectively and reliably” the number of hours and the quantity of overtime worked and “excessively difficult, if not impossible in practice” for employees to ensure their rights are upheld.
How will employers deal with it?
EU countries will have to work out their own specific arrangements to implement the ruling, the court said, taking into account as necessary “the particular characteristics of each sector” and other factors such as companies’ size. The EU Working Time Directive stipulates that the average working time for a seven-day period must not exceed 48 hours including overtime and that a worker is entitled to a minimum 11 consecutive hours of rest in every 24-hour period, among other things.
Private Sector affected?
Germany is waiting for the government and the Health and Safety Executive guidance on this. For the moment, we do not consider private sector employers have to follow this judgement. Public sector employers may be challenged if they do not introduce time recording systems but understandably could await government guidance.
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