The Official State Gazette (BOE) published the new regulation of Obligatory working time records last March. This new law, which has come into effect on Sunday 12 May, requires all employers in Spain to record and have an effective control of the number of hours worked by each employee. This record according to the BOE, must be “reliable”, that is, the stored data must correspond to the actual hours the employee has worked. This control mechanism must record the exact start and finishing time of each worker, without prejudice of time flexibility and must be negotiated through collective bargaining, or failing that, the decision of the employer after consultation with a legal representation of the workers. The employer must keep the records mentioned in this provision for four years and will remain available to the workers, their legal representatives and the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate. As of 12 May, a Labour inspector enter premises at any given time, and take copes of working time records carried out by each employee. However, the Ministry of Labour has calmed the growing concern of the business world and reported that the Labour inspector will allow sufficient leeway to employers to adjust and have a time control, as long as it can prove that the company is managing the implementation of the mechanism for the organisation of working hours for employees. However, not having the means to perform such control may be sanctioned by the Labour Inspector with fines that can vary between 626 and 6,250 euros per company, not per worker, who violates this regulation. In the event of recurrence, this amount may increase. This new regulation is designed for employees and will not affect the self-employed. However, those self-employed that have employees must have working time records for their employees. In this sense, the self-employed individual acts as an entrepreneur and assumes the responsibilities of this category. It will be necessary to see in the coming weeks how the legislation and organisation are developed in working groups with flexible hours, those working remotely, sales teams that are continuously travelling during office hours, etc. Meanwhile, it is evident that, in addition to the technical cost involved in implementing this new requirement, the measure represents an important expense for companies in the face of the number of overtime claims that workers may submit and the liquidations of these hours, for those that must be quoted, also before the Social Security Agency, fact that would add another additional cost for sanctions not prescribed in the last four years. Author: Maria Teresa Bové, partner at Bové Montero y Asociados, HLB Spain
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