EU labor law tips you need to know!

An intro to EU law in general – how EU regulations work

EUEvery member state of the European Union (a total of 28 countries) can form its own regulations, but they must be in accordance with EU’s directives, regulations, and labor law. As long as you comply with them, you don’t have to worry. But you should also know current working laws in your country to avoid penalties and legal repercussions.

Labor law in the European Union

Every country has different labor laws. Regulations on the organization of working time are part of such laws. They are also one of the most important laws because they help to establish standard practices for employers and employees in terms of working time and rest. All that to ensure fair working conditions for everyone.

To add more detail here’s a direct quote from the EU legislator regarding rest periods and mandatory breaks:

“As an employer, you must ensure that your staff does not work more than 48 hours per week on average (including overtime), over a reference period of up to 4 months. Your employees must be given at least 11 consecutive hours of daily rest and at least 24 hours of uninterrupted weekly rest every 7 days, over a reference period of 2 weeks.”

So, what are the conclusions?

Breaks and longer rest periods are formal requirements and as an employer, you need to oblige them. An individual country’s laws and regulations may apply (as well as collective agreements) as long as they’re compliant with EU regulations.

Best labor law tips for running your business in Europe!

Time tracking for employers

hourglassAn easy way for employers to make sure that their employees use their breaks accordingly is to use time tracking at work. Although some people might react with a bit of concern to this method (mostly by mistaking time tracking for employee surveillance), the practice of time tracking has been popular in the US for many years, even decades (remember punch-in cards?)

Regulations on time tracking

So far, timekeeping in the European Union was not obligatory. It’s been used voluntarily by organizations (and individuals) who wanted to increase employees’ productivity and become more accountable and profitable. However, on May 14, 2019, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the state members must require employers to set up a system enabling the duration of daily working time to be measured. The decision goes as follows:

“[…] in order to ensure the effectiveness of the rights provided for in the Working Time Directive and the Charter, the Member States must require employers to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system enabling the duration of time worked each day by each worker to be measured. It is for the Member States to define the specific arrangements for implementing such a system, in particular, the form that it must take, having regard, as necessary, to the particular characteristics of each sector of activity concerned, or the specific characteristics of certain undertakings concerning, inter alia, their size.”

Time tracking for employers – how to improve project execution?

Well, to cover the basics, here are a few ways – more old-school, and some filled with a bit of technology 😉

Learn more: Everything You Need to Know About Timekeeping Apps for Employees


It may be a physical sheet of paper, an Excel file, or another system that requires manually entering time. This method, however, has more cons than pros. Employees often forget the exact time of starting/ending work and taking breaks. As a result, they enter incorrect numbers. It’s easy for a mistake which may lead to financial losses of the company.

It’s also tedious work which occupies lots of attention and consumes time. 

Take a look at a daily timesheet view in TimeCamp – filling it is much easier than the usual excel timesheets! 

TimeCamp Timesheet


Punch CardPunch cards are used in many organizations. But not in the older version, where paper cards have to be punched by a machine or a person. Currently, this system works in a digital form. Employees have ID cards and “punch” them electronically to the computer system mounted at the entrance to the company’s offices. Each time employees enter and leave the office, the system records the time. Managers can see the exact hours of work.

This system, however, has one pitfall. If employees take a break and stay in the office, the system cannot record it. There is also no way to precisely monitor the work of employees unless the organization has specified working hours and overtime. For example, all employees have to work from 9 to 5. Consequently, the time spent in the office after these hours is considered overtime.

It’s the most straightforward method best for companies who need a simple timekeeping method, which does not provide managers with detailed information.

Time tracking apps

Time tracking software comes in many forms. Some have basic traits, others offer a multitude of customizable features. So which one should you choose and how to use it for timekeeping in your European branch? It’s simple, you should go for a tool that will allow you to easily measure working hours and store the records in an easy and accessible way.

Moreover, you should also choose a piece of software that can be integrated with your other productivity tools used not only by you but most importantly – your team. Some of the examples of such tools would be project management software (like Asana, Trello, JIRA) or CRM systems like Zoho and Salesforce. When choosing a comprehensive time tracking app, be sure to assess what are your exact needs in terms of features and usability. Usually, the majority of these applications allow you to access the following features:

  • Automatic timekeeping
  • Desktop, web, and mobile apps available for all platforms
  • Detailed timesheets and reports
  • Real-time time tracking
  • Integrations with the most popular tools (invoicing, accounting, project management, task management, programming, and many more)
  • Leave and attendance management
  • Billable and non-billable time
  • GDPR compliance

Luckily, if you’re feeling picky and in a hurry, you can sign up for a free 14-day TimeCamp trial. The good news is that all of the above features and functionalities are available, so be sure to give our app a try!

Labor law tips summary and some guidance

So, we hope that these labor law tips will help you to get a grip on how to apply EU regulations and such. While it might seem discouraging at first, once you have a basic understanding of what’s the relation between EU regulations and it’s member country laws.

Take care and good luck!

EU labor law tips you need to know!

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