My employer does not keep records of my working hours. Is this allowed?

Employers must always keep records for workers who are paid by the hour for payroll and tax purposes. The Working Time Regulations (WTR) 1998 also impose some specific record-keeping duties on your employer. Under the WTR, employers must keep adequate records to show that certain specific limits are being complied with. These are:

  • The weekly working time limit – although records such as payroll records can be used for this purpose;
  • The length of nightwork, including nightwork involving 'special hazards or heavy physical or mental strain' (where a strict eight-hour time limit is in place for each 24-hour period);
  • The requirement to provide health assessments for nightworkers, including, for each individual:
    • their name;
    • when they were assessed; and
    • the result of the assessment; and
  • The names of all workers (kept up to date) who have agreed to work more than 48 hours a week (the '48 hour opt-out').

These records must be kept for two years.

Employers are not obliged to keep a running total of how much time individuals work on average each week. How they monitor their workers' hours depends on particular contracts and work patterns. Employers need only make occasional checks on workers who do standard hours and who are unlikely to reach the average 48-hour limit. However, they should monitor the hours of workers who appear to be close to the working time limit to make sure they do not work too many hours. Regulation 4(2) of the WTRs requires employers to take 'all reasonable steps' – because of their basic health and safety duty – to ensure that the 48-hour limit is complied with.

You are not obliged to tell your employer about hours worked under a second job unless your contract requires you to do this.

Employers are not obliged under the WTR to keep records for rest breaks, days off and annual leave.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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