Time and Activity Management (TAM) solution, monitoring of rest periods, timesheets... Some of the many terms and definitions to know for those who want to track the workload of their employees and comply with the legal obligations of an increasingly large number of European countries.
In an increasingly large number of countries, governments are passing laws that make it legally mandatory for companies to comply with certain time tracking standards. France, Switzerland, Spain, Poland etc... this is a growing trend, especially in Europe. HR Directors and legal teams have to make sure their company adapts to these new regulations when operating in these countries.
According to Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament, the employer is obliged to monitor the working time of his/her employees. The failure to provide documentary evidence of this monitoring is not without consequences. In France for example, in the event of an inspection, the labour inspectorate may fine a company up to 2,000 euros per concerned employee.
Deutsche Bank recently suffered the ramifications in a dispute with the Spanish union CCOO. On 14 May 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the union's demand for better monitoring of the daily working hours of the bank's employees. The bank was forced to set up a time management system to better supervise the overtime hours worked and compliance with rest periods.
To meet this legal obligation, the employer is responsible for providing proof of the daily and weekly working hours and rest periods of the employees, regardless of the means used: clocking terminal, spreadsheet entry, time management software.
While some employers have an obligation (depending on the countries in which they operate) to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system, the form of the time and attendance monitoring or management solution remains completely free. Here is an overview of the possible methods for monitoring working time.
Working and rest hours are detailed manually by the employee in a paper record or an Excel file. Timesheets are usually signed by the employee and his or her line manager. Although this method is simple to implement, it has several disadvantages, starting with its lack of reliability (risk of errors, falsification or loss). Paper or spreadsheet management is also not ideal for centralizing information, not to mention the fact that it makes archiving more burdensome.
A terminal is installed within the company (at the entrance, in the break room, etc.) in front of which the employee presents his or her unique identifier (badge, card, etc.) to signal the start of each work or rest period. The recorded data is then reprocessed to calculate actual absences and overtime. This method is generally used by production sites (factories, etc.) and office employees whose work schedule does not change. It is, however, not very suitable for employees with a yearly working time package in days, for those who have to travel a lot (managers, sales staff, etc.) or for those who work from home.
A time management software allows employees to submit their working hours in total autonomy. Entries are made easier with the pre-filling of traditional schedules as well as leave and absences. The manager checks and then approves the entries from the TAM software. The data is recorded and archived in the event of a potential work inspection check (depending on where your company operates) and the hours are reliably counted for payroll preparation. An alert system reminds overdue employees to fill in their timesheets and informs managers and HR departments if rest periods are not respected.
Having a working time management tool is not only a legal requirement for some countries, but it is also a real performance tool that should be made available to your company.
A time management solution enables the calculation of overtime, night work, or work performed on public holidays, which facilitates the work of the payroll administrator, who must transmit all the variable payroll elements to the provider or integrate them into payroll.
For companies needing to justify the time spent on a project (for example consultants), a time tracking management software can also be used to produce detailed statements, which are essential for the creation of invoices or detailed activity reports.
Finally, time and activity tracking allows operational needs to be addressed by focusing on the allocation of time spent per project. It allows to assess the workload of employees and to trigger strategic actions such as stopping a time-consuming project; or to take HR decisions such as recruiting additional staff in case of team overload.
Whether it's entering hours in a time tracking software, centralizing administrative data in a Core HR, solution, managing arrivals with an Onboardingool, or monitoring employee performance with an review management software, the objectives are the same: to simplify daily life, streamline processes, and make data more reliable.