The Advocate General of the European Union Court of Justice has suggested that employers should keep records of actual hours worked by full time employees in order to comply with the Working Time Directive. In a Spanish case, CCOO v Deutsche Bank, the CCOO trade union brought a claim saying the Bank should record the actual daily working time of all its employees. The Bank records absences for sickness or holiday but does not record actual hours worked on any given day.
The Advocate General accepts that the Working Time Directive does not specifically require daily working hours to be recorded. However, he says that such records are essential in order to ensure employers comply with the law. He argues that without such records, employees would find it difficult to enforce their rights because they will not be able to access any evidence about their working hours.
The Advocate General’s opinion in this case is not binding on the Court of Justice, but their decisions are usually followed. This opinion suggests that the UK’s requirement that employer’s keep ‘adequate records’ about working time limits may not be enough. Employers should not panic yet. Obligations under the Working Time Regulations 1998 will only be affected if the Court of Justice agrees with the Advocate General in their judgment.