EU Regulations on Time Tracking

Angie Chia-Baxter
May 6, 2020

Photo by Joseph Redfield from Pexels

Overview:

As of May 14, 2019, all EU member states must follow the new requirement that employers establish a system to track employees’ daily working hours. This regulation affects all companies, not just agencies that bill their time.

Background:

This decision was a result of a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank by the Spanish Trade Union, Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO). Under the pre-existing case-law, the only obligation of employers was to record overtime hours and not overall hours worked per day.

The ruling is that all employees of organizations in EU member states must now track their time:

“In order to ensure the effectiveness of the rights provided for 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 Rules:

It is important to respect the right that your employees have under the Charter which is more specifically defined under the Working Time Directives (WTD):

  • Purpose of the directive was to protect peoples’ health and safety
  • EU workers have the right to:
    • At least 4 weeks paid holidays/year
    • Rest of at least 11 hours in any 24 hours
    • Restriction from excessive night work
    • A day off after a week’s work
    • No workweek longer than 48 hours

As an employer, you should already be following the EU directive above. It is important as an employer to consider the health of not only your employees but even yourself. With the new regulation in place, it is crucial to ensure that your employees not only understand their rights but fully understand the importance of tracking their time as an exercise of those rights. Time tracking allows them to understand how they spend their time and where they could increase their productivity.

By complying with the time tracking regulation and considering the WTD, organizations will have a more reliable way to determine the exact number of hours worked each day/week. Tracking will enable organizations to determine if employees are working their maximum hours including overtime. This allows organizations to ensure there is proof for both parties if there is a suspected breach of the employee’s rights.

The good and the ugly:

Benefits of time tracking:

  • Increase productivity — time tracking helps increase productivity because you are forced to pay closer attention to where you spend your time.
  • Increased transparency/accountability — management can get a clearer picture of how their employees are using their time and employees become more accountable for the time they spend completing tasks.
  • Identify profitability rate on individual projects — without per-project time tracking, you can only know if your business as a whole is profitable in any given quarter or year, but it’s impossible to know if a particular project is profitable.
  • Calculate employee utilization — what is the percentage of time an employee spends on billable vs. non-billable work.
  • Save time — knowing that you’re tracking your time means that you’ll be more focused on what you’re doing. You can ultimately learn how to use your time efficiently.
  • Make more money — by tracking time you can find out sooner if a project is going over budget and why, so you can communicate to the client.

Consequences of time tracking:

  • Employee dissatisfaction - employees might feel as though they are not trusted, and are therefore being monitored
  • Fear of being watched - some employees may feel that they have no freedom if their time is being tracked
  • Inaccurate information - employees might not track the time properly or accurately

How to roll out time tracking in your company’s culture

The main thing your organization should consider is how your employees feel about the software and systems being implemented. As an employer, you want to ensure that your employees are comfortable with this new process and that they fully understand the rationale behind it. In order to make time tracking a part of the culture in your organization, allow your employees to voice their concerns. Explain how the new process and tool will not only benefit your organization but your employees as well.

The reality is that your team is probably going to work out-of-hours. We have devices in our pockets and on our wrists that vibrate and make noise every time a client sends an email or a team member sends a message on Slack. It’s challenging as an employer to correctly identify an employee’s after-hours time if their workday wasn’t already tracked.

Clockk is the answer

If you didn’t already know, Clockk’s automatic time tracking catches the time that you’re working, not just in the office, but when you’re sending emails from home, or burning the midnight oil to finish a project. Clockk tracks all your time, in just three simple steps: Review, Correct, Submit.

Clockk is the ideal time tracking tool for organizations operating and with employees in EU member states. By tracking an employee’s time automatically, whether at the office or at home, each employee’s reporting burden is reduced, along with your liability risk.