European court obliges time registration with time clock

European Court ruling: back to the time clock?

The European Court of Justice recently caused a stir with a ruling that could affect the time registration of companies throughout Europe. Critics fear a return to the old-fashioned time clock.

Spanish trade union
A Spanish union had taken Deutsche Bank to court to oblige the bank to record the daily working hours of its employees. According to the trade union, this was the only way to ensure effective compliance with planned working hours. The system of the Spanish branch only recorded the overtime worked. The Spanish court then asked for a ruling from the European Court of Justice.

However, according to the Court, registering overtime is not sufficient to comply with European directives on working hours. The Court therefore states in a statement that Member States will have to set up arrangements that oblige employers "to set up a system to record the daily working time of every worker."

According to the Court, without an objective, reliable and accessible system of time registration, the rights of employees are not sufficiently guaranteed. She also relied on data provided by the local court, which showed that in 53.7% of cases in Spain the overtime worked by employees is not or not fully registered.

The specific form of the system can depend on the sector and the specific characteristics of the company. The known time clock can be an example of such a registration system, but registration is also possible via an app, for example. The member states have the necessary freedom to come to a legal regulation.

What are the consequences
The ruling could have far-reaching consequences, since modern working hours are not always clearly defined and are increasingly location and time independent. European employers' organizations are therefore critical and fear the administrative red tape that they believe is associated with the return to the old-fashioned time clock.

However, the consequences for the Netherlands are likely to be very limited, since employers are already obliged to register the working hours and rest periods of employees according to the Working Hours Act. This law will probably not have to be changed.

The FNV trade union is nevertheless pleased with the ruling and stated to RTLZ: “All attention to the Working Hours Act is welcome. It is important that employers realize that the same rules apply throughout the European Union. The more attention there is, the more expressiveness the law has. "

Although the ruling for Dutch companies is therefore unlikely to produce much news, it may cause some headaches for companies in other European countries. The legislators of the different Member States are now waiting to see how the scheme will take shape in practice.

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