The European Court of Justice broadens the spectrum of the time clock

Soon, all member states of the European Union will have to put in place a recording system for the working hours of their employees. 

A real earthquake in the European world of work

Last May, the European Court of Justice delivered its judgement: from now on, the employers of the member states of the European Union must be able to measure the time performed by their employees. The judgement was delivered following an appeal lodged by a Spanish trade union against Deutsche Bank. The goal? To ensure the protection of workers, by limiting the abuse of unpaid overtime.
Each EU country will, therefore, have to define the implementation of this new law and generalise the establishment of a time-recording system. In Belgium, where a labour law has been in place since 1971, the use of a time clock is not yet an obligation. Changes are to be seen within Belgian companies, both from an equipment perspective as well as its operation.

 

A judgement that is favourable to workers, but also employers

Despite the feedback received about time management, mostly compared to the policing of employees via time clocks, the real advantages are numerous, both for the workers as well as the employers. Time management also shows up in much more numerous and varied forms than the good old punch clock.

Time recording; a prevention and wellness tool

From now on, time management, in whichever shape or form, has become much more than a simple monitoring tool, which allows ensuring that the worker has effectively performed his or her hours. Indeed, today, it plays a preventive role. Its goal today is to defend the well-being of the employees, by verifying that they do not perform too many overtime hours. It can, generate alerts in the case of abuse and thus avoid burn-outs. Even better, it enables the precise calculation of overtime hours and the payment of them. All work deserves pay, doesn't it?

Better experiences for employees

Since time recording isn't limited to the time clock, it's also the opportunity to improve the employee's experience, by bringing them increased flexibility and transparency thanks to the notorious employee portals. In effect, they provide access to information from whichever location and at whatever time. 
• There is flexibility because these platforms participate in the generalisation of teleworking by enabling the recording of its benefits even when working from home. For employers who are still reticent towards teleworking, it creates a sense of confidence: they have a view over what their employees are doing, and they are therefore more inclined to allow this way of working.
• There is transparency because it allows employees to access information once held only by the HR department, such as their days off, their overtime, etc. It also adds transparency at the payroll level, where it limits the risk of error since salaries are calculated based on recorded hours.

The improvement of HR processes

For employees who wish to take a few days off, there is no need to complete a form to give to his or her manager, who in turn will have to raise it with the HR department. Thanks to a badge reader or a portal assistant, they can record their own request for leave and quickly receive the response via the same platform. Indeed, the manager is immediately notified of the request and can directly consult it and validate it.
For the HR team, it's a great amount of time savings! The hours recorded in an objective manner and communicated automatically generate far fewer errors in the payslip  and requires less time to validate the salary, to correct it and explain the anomalies to the employees concerned.
As a result, many of their processes are automated, so that they can focus on new tasks related to, for example, the company culture (employer brand, internal communication, etc.) or the monitoring of employees and their development. 

A productivity gain

Productivity takes on a whole new meaning. Far from meaning a 9-6pm working day, it is more related to the well-being of workers. It is no surprise to anyone that happy employees will be more productive. The time clock is involved in improving the employee's experience, in the sense that it allows a person to optimise their efficiency.
However, it is not the only intervention in terms of productivity within the enterprise. Indeed, it also facilitates time management in the case of intensive periods of work. During great productivity phases, it allows you to precisely calculate the overtime so that you can then recover it when it's quieter.

No more mobility problems

Nowadays, mobility is a real problem and traffic jams are everywhere! The advantage of a management tool is that it can be applied to many different internal rules. For example, employees can start their workday at home and go to the office during off-peak hours. In this way, flexibility induced by a time clock is not limited to teleworking but also affects many other aspects.

To conclude

It is true that, at first, the judgement of the European Court of Justice may seem binding. The workers feel that they are going to be policed, whereas employers need to put in place new time management solutions and  pay the costs. However, on closer inspection, we can see how beneficial this situation is for everyone. One just needs to think differently about time management and see it as a tool to improve the internal functioning of the company.

 

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