Table of contents
  1. Introduction to the EU Time Tracking Law
  2. Key Points of the New Time Registration Law
  3. The EU’s Working Time Directive (2003)
  4. Challenges with the EU’s Working Time Directive
  5. The EU Timekeeping Requirement (2019)
  6. Implementation of the EU Time Tracking Requirement in Member States
  7. Spain’s Time Tracking Law: A Case Study
  8. Implications of the EU Timekeeping Law for Employers
  9. Benefits of Time Tracking for Employees
  10. Benefits of Time Tracking for Employers
  11. Choosing the Right Time Tracking System

The EU time tracking law, set to be enforced from 1 July 2024, will require all businesses to implement a time tracking system or software for employees to accurately record their working hours.

This new requirement stems from a 2019 ruling by the EU Court of Justice in the Deutsche Bank case, which mandated companies to precisely track employee work hours.

To ensure compliance with the upcoming EU time tracking law 2024, make sure you familiarise yourself with the European Union Working Time Directive and its implications.

This includes updating GDPR processes and implementing a reliable time-tracking software solution well before the July 1 deadline.

Take proactive steps to adhere to the new working time regulations and avoid potential fines and penalties associated with non-compliance.

Key Takeaways

  • The EU time tracking law will be enforced from 1 July 2024, requiring all businesses to implement a time tracking system.
  • The law mandates accurate recording of all working hours, including breaks and overtime.
  • You must maintain employee work-hour records for a specific period (local regulations apply) and ensure employee access to their data.
  • Employers must implement security measures to protect employees’ personal data.
  • Non-compliance with the law may result in fines and penalties for businesses.

Introduction to the EU Time Tracking Law

The EU’s Working Time Directive plays a crucial role in regulating working hours across EU member states, safeguarding the health and well-being of employees.

As an employer in the EU, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with the minimum standards set by the EU employment law regarding work hours.

The primary objective of the European employment law is to protect employees’ health and safety, as excessive working hours are known to contribute significantly to stress, depression, and various illnesses.

In accordance with the EU time tracking law, employers are now obligated to implement mandatory time tracking systems to accurately record employees’ working hours.

The EU time tracking law encompasses several key aspects that employers must be aware of:

  • The European Working Time Directive (EWTD) was originally passed in 1993 and updated in 2003, setting the foundation for the current EU time-tracking law.
  • The EWTD mandates minimum daily and weekly rest periods, establishes guidelines for breaks, night work, annual leave, and sets a maximum limit on the number of weekly working hours.
  • According to the EWTD, the average working time for each seven-day period, including overtime, should not exceed 48 hours.
  • Employees are entitled to at least 11 hours of uninterrupted rest daily and 24 hours of uninterrupted rest every seven-day period.
  • The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that all EU businesses must set up an objective, reliable, and accessible time-recording system to ensure compliance with the EU time-tracking law.

Note that the specific implementation of the EU time tracking law may vary across member states. For instance:

CountryKey Points
GermanyMaximum of 8 hours per day, with overtime requiring documentation. Limit of 10 hours in a single shift. Fines up to 15,000 euros for non-compliance
SpainHourly records must be kept for 4 years. Fines up to 6,250 euros for non-compliance
NetherlandsMaximum of 60 hours per week. Fines up to 10,000 euros per employee for non-compliance
SwedenMaximum of 40 hours in a regular workweek. Records of overtime and on-call time must be kept
IrelandTime records must be retained for a minimum of 3 years. Fines up to 2,500 euros for inaccurate record-keeping

Key Points of the New Time Registration Law

The EU’s new time registration law, set to take effect on July 1, 2024, introduces several crucial changes that employers must be aware of to ensure compliance.

Comprehensive Coverage of Work Hours

One of the primary aspects of the time registration law is its requirement for businesses to implement a comprehensive system that accurately records all work hours, including regular shifts, overtime, and breaks.

This measure ensures that employees are fairly compensated for their time and helps prevent exploitative practices.

Documentation of Work Hours

Companies are obligated to maintain detailed records of their employees’ work hours for a specified period, typically five years.

These records must be easily accessible to employees throughout their employment, allowing them to verify the accuracy of their documented hours and address any discrepancies promptly.

Employee Access to Personal Time Data

To promote transparency and trust between employers and employees, the time registration law stipulates that workers should have unrestricted access to their personal time data.

This provision aims to empower employees to take an active role in monitoring their work hours and ensures that they are being fairly compensated for their efforts.

Safeguarding Personal Information

Given the sensitive nature of time registration data, the law requires businesses to implement stringent security measures to protect employees’ personal information.

This includes adhering to data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and ensuring that only authorised personnel have access to the time tracking system.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Businesses that fail to comply with the time registration law may face severe consequences, including substantial fines and other penalties, depending on which country your company operates in.

The EU’s Working Time Directive (2003)

The EU’s Working Time Directive, introduced in 2003, is a crucial piece of legislation aimed at safeguarding employees’ health and well-being across EU member states.

This directive establishes a set of minimum standards for working hours, rest breaks, and annual leave, ensuring that workers are not subjected to excessive or unhealthy working conditions.

One of the key provisions of the EU working time directive is the 48-hour limit on the average working week. This means that, over a reference period of four months, an employee’s average weekly working time should not exceed 48 hours, including overtime.

In addition to the weekly working time limit, the directive also stipulates minimum rest periods. Employees are entitled to at least 11 consecutive hours of daily rest and a minimum of 24 hours of uninterrupted rest per seven-day period.

Maximum Weekly Working HoursEmployees cannot work more than 48 hours per week on average over a 4-month reference period, including overtime
Daily Rest PeriodEmployees must have at least 11 consecutive hours of daily rest
Weekly Rest PeriodEmployees are entitled to a minimum of 24 hours of uninterrupted weekly rest
BreaksEmployees must be provided with a break after 6 hours of work
Annual LeaveEmployees have the right to at least 4 weeks of paid leave per year

The directive also addresses the issue of night work, recognising the potential health risks associated with working during night hours. Night workers should not work more than an average of 8 hours in any 24-hour period, and those with health issues related to their work have the right to transfer to day work when suitable.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure appropriate safety and health protection for night workers and shift workers, taking into account the nature of their work. You must also consider adapting work patterns to alleviate monotonous tasks and meet safety and health requirements, particularly concerning breaks during working time.

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Annual leave is another essential aspect of the EU working time directive, with every worker entitled to at least four weeks of paid leave per year. This provision ensures that employees have the opportunity to take time off work for rest, relaxation, and personal pursuits.

By setting these minimum standards, the EU’s Working Time Directive plays a vital role in protecting the health, safety, and well-being of workers across the European Union.

Make sure you adhere to these regulations to create a more balanced and sustainable working environment for your employees.

Challenges with the EU’s Working Time Directive

While the Working Time Directive aimed to protect employees’ health and safety by regulating working hours and rest periods, it left significant wriggle room for employers.

The lack of a mandatory requirement for businesses to track employee work time created loopholes that could be exploited, potentially undermining the directive’s effectiveness.

The directive also didn’t mandate a standardised system for recording working hours, which made it near impossible to accurately assess whether employers were adhering to the stipulated limits.

Without a reliable method to monitor employee work time, the directive’s enforcement remained inconsistent across EU member states.

EU Working Time Directive (2003) StatisticsData
Average weekly working hours in the EU (1990)39 hours
Average weekly working hours in the EU (2006)37.8 hours
Part-time workers’ share in the EU’s workforce (1992)14%
Part-time workers’ share in the EU’s workforce (2009)18.8%
Employees in the EU working more than 48 hours a week10%
Employees in the EU working multiple jobsNearly 7%

The directive’s ambiguity also led to varying interpretations and implementations across EU member states, which made it even more challenging to enforce a uniform standard of employee protection throughout the European Union.

The rise of flexible and remote working arrangements, posed additional challenges to the effective implementation of the Working Time Directive.

Without clear guidelines on how to track and monitor the working hours of employees working outside traditional office settings, employers found it increasingly difficult to ensure compliance with the regulations.

The EU Timekeeping Requirement (2019)

In a landmark ruling in May 2019, the European Court of Justice introduced a new timekeeping requirement, mandating that all employers across the EU must accurately track their employees’ working hours.

This decision came as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Spanish trade union, Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), against the Spanish subsidiary of Deutsche Bank.

The ECJ’s ruling stipulates that employers must keep track of all work time, including regular hours and overtime, to ensure compliance with the EU’s Working Time Directive and protect employees’ health and well-being.

The European Court of Justice Ruling

The ECJ’s ruling in the CCOO vs. Deutsche Bank case has far-reaching implications for employers throughout the European Union.

The court ruled that member states must require employers to establish an objective, reliable, and accessible system for measuring their employees’ daily working hours.

This ruling aims to prevent employers from exploiting their workforce by ensuring that employees are fairly compensated for their time and are not subjected to excessive working hours that could jeopardise their health and safety.

🧠 Did You Know?

Connecteam’s time clock records employee work hours down to the second and can automatically flag when employees reach set maxim work hours, helping you stay compliant with EU labor law.

Find out more about Connecteam’s time clock now.

Establishing an Objective, Reliable, and Accessible System

As mentioned above, to comply with the EU timekeeping requirement, employers must implement a time-tracking system that is objective, reliable, and accessible.

Your company has the flexibility to design a system that best suits their organisation’s needs, but it must meet the following criteria:

  • Accurate recording of all employee work hours, including regular hours and overtime
  • Secure storage of time records for a minimum of five years
  • Accessibility of time records to employees and relevant authorities
  • Protection of employees’ personal data in accordance with GDPR regulations

A well-designed system can offer benefits such as improved productivity, better resource allocation, and enhanced employee well-being by monitoring workloads and promoting a healthier work-life balance.

Key Aspects of the EU Timekeeping RequirementDescription
Accurate RecordingEmployers must record the start and end times of each employee’s workday, including breaks and overtime.
Data StorageTime records must be securely stored for a minimum of five years.
AccessibilityEmployees and relevant authorities must have access to time records.
Data ProtectionEmployers must ensure that employees’ personal data is protected in accordance with GDPR regulations.

As the ECJ has left it up to individual member states to determine the specifics of incorporating the time recording requirement into their labour laws, make sure you stay informed about the implementation process in your respective country.

Implementation of the EU Time Tracking Requirement in Member States

Following the ECJ’s 2019 ruling, EU member states have been working to ensure compliance with the updated Working Time Directive.

The implementation has varied across member states, with some already having timekeeping requirements in place prior to the ruling, while others are introducing amendments to their labor laws to adhere to the new regulations.

Member States with Existing Timekeeping Requirements

Several EU member states had already incorporated explicit timekeeping requirements into their labour laws before the ECJ ruling. These countries include:

  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Poland
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Latvia
  • Portugal

For these member states, the transition to the updated EU time tracking requirement has been relatively smooth, as they already had systems in place to monitor and record employee working hours.

Member States Introducing Amendments to Comply with the Ruling

In contrast, some member states whose labour laws did not specify employee time tracking requirements prior to the ECJ ruling have been gradually introducing amendments to ensure compliance.

These countries are working to update their labor laws and implement the necessary timekeeping requirements to meet the EU’s standards.

One notable example is Greece, which adopted a new employment law in June 2021 that mandates the implementation of an electronic system for employee timekeeping via digital work cards.

Other EU countries are still in the process of determining the best approach to implement the ruling on timekeeping.

However, some member states, such as France and Italy, have not yet shown clear signs of formally implementing the ruling in their national labour laws.

These countries may face challenges in adapting their existing regulations to meet the EU’s requirements, and employers should stay informed about any potential changes or updates in these jurisdictions.

Spain’s Time Tracking Law: A Case Study

Spain was the first EU member state to implement the new timekeeping requirement into their Royal Decree Law in response to the CCOO vs. Deutsche Bank ruling.

The Spanish time-tracking law stipulates that all companies must track their employees’ work hours, whether they are salaried or hourly workers.

This includes recording the start and end time of every working day for each employee, including breaks, even for remote workers.

The law also has strict requirements around maintaining and sharing these employee work hours records:

  • Companies must keep their employees’ time records for a minimum of four years
  • Time records must be public and available to employees, unions, and the government
  • The unions must be informed monthly of employee overtime hours

It’s important to note that recording working hours is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. Businesses that fail to comply with Spain’s time-tracking law will face serious financial penalties.

Employee TypeWorking Time LimitsRest Period Requirements
All Employees48 hours per week maximum (including overtime), averaged over 4 months11 consecutive hours of daily rest, 24 hours of uninterrupted rest per 7-day period
Employees Working 6+ Hours/DayEntitled to a rest break (duration set by member states)Break required after 6 consecutive hours of work
Night Shift Workers8 hours maximum in any 24-hour periodEntitled to free health assessments

In addition to the working time and rest period requirements, Spanish law also mandates a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave for all employees.

Implications of the EU Timekeeping Law for Employers

As an employer in the European Union, it is crucial to understand the implications of the EU timekeeping law and take the necessary steps to ensure compliance.

The law requires employers to establish a reliable and accessible system for tracking employees’ daily working hours, including overtime and rest periods. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal action and significant penalties.

Implementing a Compliant Time Tracking System

To meet the requirements of the EU timekeeping law, employers must implement an objective and reliable time-tracking system that accurately records employees’ working hours.

This system should be accessible to both employees and relevant authorities, allowing for easy monitoring and verification of compliance.

When selecting a time-tracking system, consider factors such as ease of use, accuracy, and compatibility with your existing workflows and tools.

Ensuring Accurate Recording of Overtime Hours

One of the primary objectives of the EU timekeeping law is to ensure that employees are fairly compensated for any overtime hours worked.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to accurately record and compensate employees for overtime in accordance with the law.

Your time tracking system should be capable of distinguishing between regular hours and overtime, making it easier to calculate and process overtime payments.

Maximum Weekly Working Hours48 hours per week (including overtime)
Reference Period for Averaging Weekly Hours4 months
Minimum Daily Rest Period11 consecutive hours
Minimum Weekly Rest Period24 consecutive hours
Break RequirementAfter 6 hours of work
Paid Annual Leave EntitlementAt least 4 weeks per year
Night Work LimitAverage of 8 hours per 24-hour period

Providing Obligatory Rest Periods

In addition to tracking working hours, employers must also ensure that employees receive the obligatory rest periods mandated by the EU Working Time Directive.

This includes a minimum of 11 consecutive hours of daily rest, 24 hours of uninterrupted weekly rest, and a break after 6 hours of work. Your time tracking system should be able to monitor and alert you to any potential breaches of these rest period requirements.

🧠 Did You Know?

The burden of proof for compliance with the EU timekeeping law lies with the employer. In the event of a dispute or legal action, employers must be able to provide accurate records demonstrating their adherence to the law.

Benefits of Time Tracking for Employees

As the EU’s mandatory time tracking law comes into effect on 1 July 2024, it’s essential to understand the numerous benefits this legislation offers to employees.

By implementing a reliable and accurate time-tracking system, workers can enjoy fair compensation, improved work-life balance, and enhanced legal protection.

Fair Compensation for Overtime

One of the most significant advantages of time tracking for employees is the assurance of fair compensation for overtime work.

With a proper time tracking system in place, workers can easily document their extra hours, ensuring they receive the appropriate remuneration for their efforts. This not only promotes financial fairness but also encourages transparency and trust between employees and employers.

Improved Work-Life Balance

Time tracking also plays a crucial role in promoting a healthier work-life balance for employees. By accurately recording their working hours, including breaks and time off, workers can ensure they are not exceeding the maximum 48-hour workweek stipulated by the EU Working Time Directive.

This helps prevent burnout, reduces stress, and allows employees to enjoy their personal lives outside of work.

Legal ProtectionTime tracking provides employees with legal protection against abusive employers who may attempt to exploit their workforce. With accurate records of working hours, employees can easily demonstrate compliance with EU labor laws and seek recourse if their rights are violated.
Minimum Rest PeriodsThe EU Working Time Directive mandates a minimum of 11 consecutive hours of daily rest and 24 hours of weekly rest for employees. Time tracking ensures that these rest periods are properly observed, preventing employers from scheduling consecutive work shifts without adequate breaks.
Paid Annual LeaveEmployees in the EU are entitled to at least 28 days of paid annual leave. By accurately tracking working hours and leave taken, time tracking systems help ensure that workers receive their full entitlement to paid time off.

Benefits of Time Tracking for Employers

While the EU’s mandatory time-tracking law aims to protect employees’ rights and well-being, implementing a reliable time-tracking system also offers numerous benefits for employers.

By embracing this change and adopting a comprehensive time-tracking solution, your organisation can reap the rewards of enhanced accuracy, transparency, and efficiency.

Accurate Payroll and Salaries

One of the most significant advantages of time tracking for employers is the ability to streamline payroll processes.

With organised and digitised records of employee work hours, including overtime and breaks, calculating salaries becomes more precise and efficient.

This accuracy not only ensures fair compensation for your staff but also helps maintain compliance with labour laws and regulations.

Increased Transparency and Trust

Implementing a transparent time-tracking system fosters a culture of trust and accountability within your organisation.

When employees know that their work hours are being accurately recorded and fairly compensated, it builds confidence in the employer-employee relationship.

This transparency also extends to clients and stakeholders, as you can provide them with detailed reports and timesheets that demonstrate the effort and resources invested in their projects.

Enhanced Employee Health and Productivity

Time tracking isn’t just about monitoring hours worked; it’s also a powerful tool for promoting employee well-being and optimising productivity.

By ensuring that your staff adhere to the EU’s Working Time Directive, which stipulates a maximum of 48 hours per week and mandatory rest periods, you prioritise their health and work-life balance.

Well-rested and motivated employees are more likely to perform at their best, leading to increased efficiency and higher-quality output.

Moreover, time tracking data can help identify patterns of overwork or burnout, allowing you to intervene and make necessary adjustments to workloads and schedules.

Better Insights into Costs and Inefficiencies

Detailed time tracking records provide valuable insights into your organisation’s operations, enabling you to make data-driven decisions and optimise resource allocation.

By analysing the time spent on various tasks, projects, and clients, you can identify areas of inefficiency, bottlenecks, and potential cost savings.

This information empowers you to streamline processes, eliminate time sinks, and allocate resources more effectively.

Additionally, accurate historical data from time tracking allows you to generate more precise quotes and set realistic deadlines for future projects, enhancing client satisfaction and your company’s reputation.

Choosing the Right Time Tracking System

As the July 1 deadline for the EU time tracking law fast approaches, you need to start preparing now.

A reliable and user-friendly time tracker can make all the difference in ensuring your company meets the legal requirements while optimising employee productivity.

One such tool that stands out is Connecteam, a free digital time clock that helps you stay on top of the European time tracking regulations.


Connecteam allows you to effortlessly keep track of all work-related hours, including regular shifts, breaks, overtime, and time off. Its intuitive interface enables employees to report their hours online across multiple devices, making it convenient for both in-office and remote workers.

As an employer, you can easily export or print these timesheets for signing, maintaining accurate records as required by law.

One of the key advantages of using Connecteam is the detailed reports it generates. These insights can help you make informed decisions about resource allocation, identify areas for improvement, and ensure your employees are working within the legal limits.

For example, you can quickly spot if an employee is approaching the 48-hour weekly limit set by the EU or if they are not receiving the mandatory 11 consecutive hours of daily rest.


However, it’s important to note that simply having a time-tracking system in place does not automatically guarantee compliance with the EU time-tracking law.

It’s your responsibility to ensure that you are using the software correctly and adhering to all legal requirements. This includes:

  • Properly categorising work hours, breaks, and overtime
  • Regularly reviewing timesheets for accuracy
  • Addressing any instances of non-compliance promptly
  • Maintaining records for the required time period
  • Ensuring employees receive their entitled rest periods and breaks

By combining the power of a robust time-tracking system like Connecteam with diligent record-keeping and compliance monitoring, you can navigate the EU time-tracking law with confidence.

Don’t wait until the last minute to address the July 1 deadline.

Get started for free with Connecteam today and ensure a smooth transition and maintain compliance with the EU time-tracking law when it takes effect.

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