It is necessary for an employer to keep records of actual hours worked to fulfil its obligations under the Working Time Directive (WTD), according to Advocate General Pitruzzella in a judgment on the case of Federacion de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) v Deutsche Bank SAE.

The CCOO trade union brought a group action before the National High Court in Spain against Deutsche Bank, seeking a ruling that 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 went unrecorded.

Pitruzzella stated that in order to comply with duties under the WTD, national law must require employers keep records of actual time worked by workers. He said: "The absence of a mechanism for recording working time will significantly reduce the effectiveness of the rights which [the WTD] confers on workers, who will essentially be dependent on their employer's discretion.

"Even though the directive does not expressly provide for it, 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 Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

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Carsten Staehr
CEO at Cintra HR & Payroll Services

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