Worked hours recording – court ruling for EU member states may impact UK domestic law

Do UK employers adequately monitor and record employee working? Is there a culture of additional free to the employer and from the employees own free time working in the UK that needs addressing? Or is this judgement another EU nanny state interference in work related matters which should be left to each individual nation.

Under EU law working time directive, each EU member state has its own domestic law to implement the EU 48 hour maximum working time directive. Often employees in the UK will be requested by the employer on commencement to opt-out enabling the individual to work more additional hours above the WTD. Employees are not obliged to opt-out and can cancel their opt-out at anytime.

Many UK businesses have adopted a stay until the job is done culture with no additional hours or overtime payment. Employees are undertaking work tasks in their own time or whilst travelling such as reading work documents, training, emails, document writing, responding to enquiries and customers.

Following a recent judgement relating to a case brought in Spain about unrecorded overtime hours, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have stated that ‘In order to ensure the effectiveness of the rights provided for in the Working Time Directive and the Charter, the Member States 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’.

The UK governments BEIS will need to consider this judgement and whether changes are required to be made to UK domestic law in relation to the compulsory recording of work time.

Some major UK employers have been found to have breached National Minimum Pay requirements in relation to unmeasured work time even removing concessions applicable to salary (annual hours based) bemployees. so although the salary position compared with contract hours may show that pay exceeds minimums required by law, when unmeasured time is taking into account and working days within a pay reference period individually taken into count, employers are found to have underpaid the legally required minimums for the actual time worked by some of their employees.

A major shakeup of UK working practice may be on its way.

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