Employment Law – Recording Workplace Breaks
Employment law requires employers to maintain certain records to demonstrate compliance with applicable Regulations and other statutes. Employers are familiar with the requirement to maintain records such as employer registration with Revenue, details and PPS Number for each employee, Terms of Employment, Payroll details, commencement dates, hours of work etc. The law also requires employers to keep documentation necessary to demonstrate compliance with employment rights legislation. A Workplace Relations Commission Inspector may request access to these records while conducting an inspection. Records of payslips, holiday pay, paid leave, terms of employment will generally be readily available, but what if, as an employer, you were asked to show evidence that employees actually take the breaks to which they are entitled? This is a request which has been made of a number of companies during WRC inspections. The relevant legislation for this particular requirement is the Organisation of Working Time (Records) (Prescribed Form and Exemption) Regulations 2001 (SI No. 473 of 2001) which require employers to keep:
- a record of the numbers of hours (excluding meals and rest breaks) worked by employees on a daily and weekly basis
- a record of leave granted to each employee by way of annual leave or in respect of a public holiday and payment made in respect of that leave
- a weekly record of the notification of the starting and finishing times of employees
- a copy of the statement of terms and conditions as required by the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994.
Where an employer does not have a clocking in facility, the records should be kept on a form OWT 1, which is set out in the schedule to the regulations. If the employer and employee agree, the employee may complete the OWT 1 form. A copy must be available for inspection by an inspector. In practice inspectors may be flexible about the exact form of record keeping, but they are quite clear that records must be kept. Employers who have electronic record-keeping systems, such as clock-in or flextime facilities, may be exempt from the regulations
An employer who fails to keep records are not in compliance with this legislation and may be fined up to €1,900.
See the Pegasus section on Employment Law (IE) for more information, and a comprehensive explanation of applicable workplace legislation.