by   |    |  Estimated reading time: 4 minutes  |  in Business Technology, Digital Transformation, Strategy, Transform Your Business   |  tagged , , ,

In part one of this blog, I explored the recent ECJ ruling re-enforcing the recording of hours worked and breaks taken by EU workers. This second part explores how technology plays its part in preventing a return to clocking and takes one step toward automated time recording.

How can companies prepare for this ruling?

This ruling will affect companies differently depending on their setup regarding the mix of direct, indirect, blue and white-collar workers, and also employed and contracted workers. For each of these types of worker, a good system of time recording should be in place.

What attributes does a ‘good’ time recording system possess?

There are Four attributes to a good time recording system and understanding how these four work in your company is the key to making this directive work for you:

  1. Record time worked – Traditionally this was performed by punch cards but is now digitized for recording and reporting using clocking terminals.
  2. Record time not worked but during work hours – Break times, holidays, illnesses, and training all need to be recorded.
  3. External payment of time worked – The contract of employment determines which hours get paid and at what rate, unless a flat salary contract is in place.
  4. Internal costed allocation of time to recovered and unrecovered activities – The cost of time can be booked to a cost center and allocated directly at a blended rate, or it can be booked directly to a commercial activity at a commercially agreed rate.

What are the complications and how can they be overcome?

Focussing on attributes one and two, in a traditional factory scenario clocking is straight forward and available in most modern ERP systems. But complications arise in a lot of modern working scenarios where mobility and flexibility require a fresh approach. Consider the following scenarios:

Working remotely and booking a time to different projects

First, consider how to digitally record the hours worked with or without network access. This is where using a mobile device acts as the record and store mechanism until network access is restored when it can be sent to the recording system. We can take that a step further and consider how using natural language processing can expedite the activity of recording time, automating via voice instead of a keystroke.

Driving to a remote location to carry out a repair

The mobile device can record not only the time that is taken to drive there, if it was activated manually or with voice command, but also using GPS the route taken and possibly even vehicle telemetry data for further analysis and safety.

Taking a work call late at night

Keystroke or voice automation can book time, but in the future we may consider using AI in our mobile device to run an algorithm combining the phone number, duration, and keywords to ascertain whether this is a work call or not, and if it is deemed a high probability of being a work call it could record the time automatically.

Booking non-work time

Self-service processes linked to the time recording system via a mobile device is an easy way available today to book a break, or request a vacation, simply open the App and click or speak and the event is booked (subject to system designed approval routings of course).

Prevention of incorrect time-booking to activities

Prevention of errant time bookings requires a system to make available only open assigned activities based on the worker’s competencies and security. This removes incorrect options and enhances speed and quality.

OK, I’m interested, where do I start?

IFS can help identify the worker mix and assess the four attributes to streamline your processes and provide the required systems to record, report and control relevant data.

IFS HCM as an integrated part of IFS applications works intuitively across a multitude of devices to make time recording unobtrusive and digitized for use as part of a time recording and accounting solution.

I welcome comments on this or any other topic concerning Finance, HCM, CSR & Business Strategy. Connect, discuss, and explore using any of the following means:

 Twitter: @stevetreagust

 IFS website:




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Image credit: Alex Wong

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