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Keeping Records of Working Time

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Is it necessary for an employer to keep records of actual hours worked to fulfil its obligations under the Working Time Directive?

Yes, suggests Advocate General Pitruzzella in the CJEU in Federacion de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) v Deutsche Bank SAE.

The CCOO is a trade union which brought a group action before the National High Court in Spain against Deutsche Bank, seeking a judgment declaring the bank was under an obligation to record the actual daily working time of its employees. Deutsche Bank used an Absences Calendar which only permitted the recording of absences for full working days (annual leave, sick leave etc.). Actual hours worked on a particular day were not recorded.

In his opinion, Advocate General Pitruzzella stated that in order to comply with duties under the Working Time Directive, national law must require employers keep records of actual time worked by workers. He commented:

"...[T]he absence of a mechanism for recording working time will significantly reduce the effectiveness of the rights which [the Working Time Directive] confers on workers, who will essentially be dependent on their employer's discretion...

I would add that, even though [the] Directive...does not expressly provide for such an obligation...such an obligation is instrumental in, and essential to the attainment of the objectives which the directive pursues and to the enjoyment of the rights which it confers on individuals."

Although the Advocate General's opinion is not binding, it is usually followed by the CJEU.

Thanks to Matthew Jackson of 10 KBW for preparing this case summary.