Are you a small employer?
Confused about the working time records you need to keep?
I don’t blame you.
You’ve plenty of other stuff to do. But creating and keeping these records is important.
After reading this you will be clear about what you need to do.
And I will give you a form which will keep you right.
Let’s get started.
The Legal Obligation
The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 obliges employers to keep records for 3 years; these records should record the following:
- the starting time,
- finishing time,
- hours worked each day,
- hours worked each week
- leave taken.
If you don’t have an electronic clocking in system you need to complete a form, OWT1, on a daily and weekly basis.
Here’s the OWT1 form which is contained in the relevant regulations, the Organisation of Working Time (Records) (Prescribed Form and Exemptions) Regulations 2001. These regulations derive from the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 and they provide some important exemptions in respect of the record keeping.
There are exemptions:
- for workers who determine their own working time and
- for work performed voluntarily by the employee.
In addition to the working time records referred to above you, as employer, are obliged to keep a record of the statement you have given each employee in accordance with the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994-2001.
You have given all your employees these statements, haven’t you? If you haven’t, you are leaving yourself open to a claim from each employee.
Completing the OWT1 Form
Where you and the employee agree, an employee can fill out this form and have you counter-sign it. You then keep it for inspection from inspectors from NERA or the Department of Jobs and Enterprise.
You will be exempt from keeping records of rest breaks if
- you have an electronic record keeping system or
- you record the working hours on form OWT1 and the following conditions are complied with:
- you inform the employee in writing of their entitlement to rest breaks as set out in sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Organisation of Working Time act, 1997
- you inform the employee of procedures to allow the employee notify you when he is unable to take a break that he is entitled to, and the reason why he has been unable to take the break.
Once your employee tells you he has not been able to take his break you must allow him to take the break he was due. If your employee does not take this opportunity then he is at fault, not you.
You must also keep proof of having told the employees of the breaks they are entitled to, the procedure for when he is unable to take it, and records of the occasions when the employee tells you he was unable to take the break.
Failure to keep the required records can lead to a Court conviction and fine of up to €1,900.
Read more about rest breaks here.
What to Do Now
Keeping these records is not rocket science, but just require a little bit of discipline.
Download the OWT1 form here if you don’t have electronic recording, and you will not have to worry when the inspector calls.
Your records may also prove very useful in defending other claims against you and will certainly indicate that you are a responsible employer.