European Court of Justice requires employers to record working time
In a judgment of 14 May 2019, the European Court of Justice stated that member states must require employers to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system to record the daily working time of each employee.
In a judgment of 14 May 2019, the European Court of Justice stated that member states must require employers to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system to record the daily working time of each employee. The Court argues that this is necessary to protect workers’ rights regarding the maximum weekly working time and the minimum daily/weekly rest.
In Belgium, there is currently no general obligation to record the working time of each employee. The employer is only obliged to state in the work regulations how the work is measured and monitored for the purpose of determining pay (if applicable).
Only in a number of specific cases do Belgian regulations provide for the introduction of a time recording system (e.g. for the application of flexible working schedules, deviation from the part-time working schedules and the flexi-jobs in the hospitality sector). A number of sectoral agreements also underline the importance of a correct application of the working time legislation and state that, taking into account company-specific situations, the introduction of a time registration system should be considered. Finally, under certain conditions, there is the compulsory registration of attendance (no registration of working hours) for works on immovable property, the delivery of ready-mixed concrete and activities belonging to the meat sector.
It remains to be seen what the consequences of the judgment will be for Belgian working time legislation. One might wonder whether the introduction of such systems is still in keeping with the current spirit of flexible working, which is currently more dominated by the questions regarding better alignment of workload and working hours, the introduction of working from home and a better work-life balance.
The general introduction of the registration obligation for all employees is therefore unlikely. Presumably, the introduction will take into account the characteristics of the sector or company-specific situations, e.g. sectors with a high level of overtime hours, companies wishing to apply the partial exemption from payment of wage withholding tax for overtime hours, night work or shift work.
Publication date: 23 May 2019