European Court Highlights Timely Issue

Young woman using kettle for make tea or black coffee on kitchen at room interior background.Women's hands pour water from a teapot into a cup. Blurred, flares effect.

In a recent case brought by a Spanish trade union, Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that employers should have a system for measuring daily working hours for its employees.

Under the EU Working Time Directive (WTD) Member states are required to ensure staff do not exceed the 48 hour weekly working limit if an opt out is not in place, and to ensure daily and weekly rest breaks are being observed.

It was the court’s view that, without a reliable system in place to record the working hours, it was difficult, if not impossible, to ensure the workers’ rights are being complied with. With the rise of so-called agile working, modern working practices have led to less clearly defined, and often trust-based, working hours for many employees.

To be compliant with WTD, employers need to implement a system to record daily working hours for all employees. Employers not already doing so need to consider how they can collect the data required in a practical and cost effective manner.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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