Spain introduces obligation to keep track of working time, in a measure to curb unpaid overtime

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As of this week every company in Spain has the obligation to keep track of when its workers sign in and out of work.

The aim is to clamp down on unpaid overtime, which could account for as many as 2.6 million work hours a week according to the latest workforce survey. The peak was reached in late 2015, with that figure at 3.5 million hours.

The initiative “must help correct the situation of precariousness, low salaries and poverty that affects many workers who suffer abuse in their working day,” says the decree, introduced by the Socialist Party (PSOE) administration of Pedro Sánchez before the general election of April 28.

But the measure has triggered many questions regarding its enforcement, including who has an obligation to adopt it. According to the decree, every single company, regardless of size, must keep records of when workers begin and end their working day. Authorities have said that inspectors will “use common sense” and consider the company’s size and revenues when handing out sanctions for businesses that fail to comply. These penalties will range from €626 to €6,250.