A Guide to ECJ Ruling

Tracking employees  – the key to meeting workforce regulations

ECJ rules EU employers must track working time

The ECJ Ruling – what it means for the UK workplace

The recent ECJ ruling[i] states that all workers have a right to limit their working hours and to take adequate rest. The ruling also recommends that the only way to ensure that these rights are met is for employers to accurately record hours worked, including overtime.

This EU Working Time Directive (WTD) is more stringent than the UK Working Time Regulations (WTR). In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces the requirements of the WTR[ii]

Nevertheless, Regulation 9 of the WTR requires a UK employer to keep “records which are adequate” to show whether weekly working time limits and the time limits on night working are being complied with.

An employer’s responsibility – duty of care

While this is a recent ruling, it has always been the case that employers have a duty of care to employees. Indeed, a lack of time recording can open up employers to claims if an employee has come to harm, either with an accident or ill health, as a result of working excessive hours.

Many companies find that accurate recording of hours can also improve staff wellbeing and morale, by ensuring that they are compensated for time worked by monitoring absences and holidays and time off in lieu (TOIL).

Accurate recording of working hours also brings business benefits

Workforce management technology has become a key tool to help organisations record and manage staff working time. Time and Attendance (T&A) systems used to be a way of managing hours for traditional workforces – for factories, retail outlets and the public sector. Today a T&A system can provide real time visibility of the entire workforce attendance and location anytime, anywhere.

With integrated HR systems, an accurate recording of hours can help to:

  • provide accurate HR data – provide essential data for HR, whether payroll, sickness or holiday leave taken
  • support legislation compliance –  such as health and safety risks for lone-workers or machinery operation
  • ensure fairness and transparency – enable staff working hours to be managed equitably, improving morale
  • improve efficiency and productivity – by creating shift patterns that marry up staff skills, expertise and choice with the needs of the business
  • provide insights into employee working habits – and the true productivity of the organisation.

New cloud-based T&A solutions available today can offer additional flexibility. They enable companies to provide staff with a remote login facility – and to add or take off staff as numbers go up or down, according to demand. Cloud technology also ensures no costly IT overheads, hardware or software upgrade maintenance and they provide the benefit of extra security with hosted data.

Meeting working legislation – ways to manage staff hours

Workforce Management solutions help organisations to manage three key areas of workforce attendance:

  • Time and Attendance
  • Access Control
  • Rostering

These systems can also now become integral to HR and workforce planning to support key business decisions. They can provide the foundations to help companies better manage labour costs, productivity and ensure employee wellbeing – and provide a healthy return on investment.

Time & Attendance

Every organisation is different and may need to monitor working hours to support flexible working hours and Time off in Lieu (TOIL). Or they may have annualised hours contracts, to meet seasonal peaks and troughs, which require close tracking to ensure they meet working legislation.

A Time and Attendance system enables a company to record staff attendance, often in real-time by collecting data in a number of ways. They range from the traditional clock on the wall that uses cards, tokens or biometrics, to apps that employees can download to their mobile devices, online apps, even dialling in by telephone.

The data provides an accurate record of staff working hours, including absences, lateness and overtime. A T&A system provides a transparent and equitable way to record hours and ensures that staff are accurately paid in a timely manner. By providing a fairer way to manage habitually late arrivals or those who take longer lunch breaks, it can also help with employee morale.

As well as providing managers with data on attendance to comply with legislation and wellbeing, from an operational perspective it ensures managers are alerted if staff do not turn up, so that cover can be arranged. Integrating the attendance data with payroll software ensures automatic and accurate overtime calculations. This not only reduces administration, but also builds trust and confidence in staff that they are being fairly compensated.

Key benefits of an HFX T&A system

  • enforces compliance to employment regulations
  • ensures accurate attendance data and automated timesheets to populate payroll
  • provides real time data collection and instant views of staff whereabouts
  • reduces absence, time theft and overtime
  • helps manage multi-site operation, even worldwide
  • improves efficiency and reduces labour costs
  • enables efficient management reporting
  • reduces administration and increases productivity.

A cloud solution delivers flexibility and is cost-efficient

A fully hosted cloud T&A system is fast to implement, with no waiting for a lengthy software implementation project. It is easy for staff to use and there are no costly server upgrades and ongoing maintenance costs required.  Integration with existing third party HR and Payroll systems means that data can be easily shared, avoiding re-keying, saving time and potential errors,

Access Control

Many organisations can also benefit from a single system to manage attendance and access to their building and secure areas. Today’s Access Control systems do more than just control access to a company’s premises. They provide a wealth of information about a building or area occupancy data, for example, which parts of a building or site that are being used, and when. This is useful to:

  • secure areas and staff, for example, hazardous areas or offices where sensitive information is kept (important for GDPR data security)
  • help monitor and ensure lone worker safety and maintain accurate records
  • manage building heating and lighting use efficiently.

A new addition to physical proximity cards and coded access for clocking in is biometric access control, which provides a more secure means of authentication. PIN numbers can be shared and fobs or cards lost or stolen, whereas a biometric device with a fingerprint is truly secure. The access data provides real time details of which members of staff are in and where.

Again, a cloud solution, such as HFX Imperago, provides additional security benefits. Information is stored in the cloud as well as locally, so even if the network fails, doors will still operate. Security is maintained and should the worse happen, data can still be accessed.

Rostering

Workforce management systems can help to ensure that schedules address working time compliance issues, as well meet staff requirements based on demand for services. Rostering ensures that staff attendance is planned and within working legislation – and that work is completed on time and to budget.

3D Rostering for a multi-dimensional view of the workforce

Almost every workforce management solution provides rostering, but this can be limited to basic shift planning. While traditional T&A systems focused purely on recording time to pay, now with Access Control they form next generation systems that enable organisations to gain a multi-dimension view of staff activity.

This includes not just when they worked, but where they carried out their work, what activities were completed and for which client or customer. This multi-dimensional view enables organisations to identify where the costs are going and optimise their plans and workforce accordingly.

Summary

HFX Imperago 3D rostering takes it a step further by enabling staff to plan not just staff time, but also location, activity, client (and any other important attribute). Costing and budgeting can also be associated with each roster or shift, providing managers with the hard facts when deciding to approval extra overtime, for example. With T&A and Access Control systems seamlessly working together, organisations can Plan-Record-Optimise in a continuous feedback loop until real efficiencies are truly gained.Summary

Workforce Management solutions offer flexible ways to support the operational deployment and management of staff hours, ensuring compliance with working legislation. Today, T&A, Access Control and Roster systems have become integral to HR and workforce planning to support key business decisions. They can provide the foundations to help companies better manage labour costs, productivity and ensure employee wellbeing. They can also provide a healthy return on investment.

For over forty years HFX workforce management solutions have been used by many private and public sector organisations to manage working hours transparently and equitably, on site or remotely, improving productivity and employee wellbeing. Many organisations are already realising the benefits of managing their workforce with T&A and effective, proactive rostering, supported by the right technology to make it happen. It’s all about time.

About HFX

Founded over 45 years ago and with over 1,500 customers, HFX has a proven history of developing innovative time management solutions. The latest generation of Saas Cloud solutions are highly customisable and can be configured to meet exact requirements, support unlimited numbers of work patterns and provide seamless integration with all major HR and payroll systems.

HFX works with organisations of all sizes and sectors including manufacturing, public sector, services industry, leisure, construction, retail, contract cleaning, recruitment, logistics and hospitality.

For more information about the HFX Group, please visit www.hfx.co.uk


[i] The Court of Justice of the European Union [Directive 89/391] https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/j_6/en/

[ii] http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/workingtimedirective.htm

Flintshire County Council chooses hfx

flintshire

Council invests in cloud based hours management system to support 350 remote and front line staff in waste management and recycling teams.

Flintshire County Council is the unitary local authority for the present-day Welsh administrative county of Flintshire, one of the administrative subdivisions of Wales. The Council is responsible for services such as education, waste management and strategic planning in the area. Like all councils operating in today’s economic climate, the council’s focus is on delivering its services to the community as efficiently as possible. It as recently invested in hfx’s Imperago solution to manage staff working hours for its 350 front line waste management and recycling staff. Since implementing the solution the council is able to better manage working hours for its remote teams, and with the efficiency gains the system is on track to deliver substantial savings and improved staff availability in the first year.

Cloud solution provides flexibility for remote workers

A long standing user of hfx’s working hours recording and management solution across the authority, the Council knew that hfx could deliver the working solution that it was looking for to record working hours for its employees working remotely. As a modern and flexible Council they needed to find a time recording solution that better fitted with the requirements of the front line waste and recycling teams.

They wanted a solution that was powerful enough to deliver the control needed to drive efficiency with remote working teams, but which also had as little an impact as possible on users who have minimal access to systems and little technology experience.

The Council decided that a cloud based solution would provide the flexibility that it required to record hours for staff working across different locations. hfx’s solution has a clear, modern interface that is straightforward to use, with no training required. The Council was also able to further adapt the system to have an alternative PIN security feature, should Identity cards be lost or forgotten. This has facilitated built in reliability in the time recording system to accommodate workers who may lose their cards while out.

In addition to providing control and flexibility, the hfx solution also empowers staff to access their information securely from anywhere with an internet connection.

Efficiency gains translate into improved end user services 

The Council uses hfx’s system to record hours for the staff working across seven locations, covering all the areas of Flintshire. Each site has the new HexOne dedicated touchscreen clocking terminal developed and built by hfx in the UK. Staff members are also able to access the portal remotely from home or smartphone to access and amend personal details, add notes or book leave. Efficiency savings are a key driver for all local authorities and the ability to better manage and control remote teams is already delivering great improvements over the old manual process.

The system is on track to deliver substantial savings by reducing lost hours and improving staff availability in its first year. A key reason for selecting hfx was also the company’s proven experience in working with local authorities and knowledge of the sector. Flintshire Council chose to implement the solution with a phased approach to iron out teething problems as they occurred and found the support provided by the hfx team invaluable throughout the process. The phased implementation also helped users to buy in to the change and has given a strong foundation to move forward with future plans.

Reports ensure optimal working patterns and staff well-being 

As well as providing improved management on a daily basis of recording staff hours, the new solution has provided additional benefits with the built in reporting functionality. The reports help managers to monitor working hours ensuring that they meet European Working Directives while still delivering the key front line services. In addition, the reports from the hfx system help to manage staff sickness and absence, highlighting possible issues and ensuring fair and accurate working patterns, while meeting financial and operational demands. The solution can also help the Council to design automated rotas for optimal workforce planning.

In summary, hfx’s Imperago is helping Flintshire Council to shape its service and highlight issues and trends through powerful and accurate information. Reports can now be quickly generated and distributed to highlight issues and ensure the Council maintains high standards of service delivery to the community

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The Value of Simplify

“The height of sophistication is simplicity”
Clare Boothe Luce

simple

Whilst HFX has many values, our core value is SIMPLIFY. We believe this core value drives change and provides tangible benefits to all our customers. We apply this approach to all that we do and place our customers at the heart of the process.

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
 Steve Jobs

By applying this value to software development, our team have created a powerful workforce management solution that reduces customer configuration time by over 80%. The result is that OUR customers pay significantly less for implementation, and due to faster implementation times, realise savings much quicker than with other providers.

The benefits don’t end there; because we design our solutions for customers and not for ourselves, we empower customers to take complete ownership of the system including the ability to manage the rules themselves. This not only reduces costs but enables customers to adapt the solution as they change and grow.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
Hans Hofmann

Our approach to simplification also applies to our user interface. Where most software companies provide a single interface for managers and employees, we focus on providing the right user interface for each cohort (Role Based UI Design). Whilst managers are often IT literate and require a powerful user interface to carry out their daily tasks, there is a clear advantage in providing a simplified interface for everyone else.

By providing a user interface that is intuitive and simple, our customers significantly reduce training costs whilst ensuring that there is high user adoption and fewer user errors. Our Employee Self Service UI Design is based on the principles and ease of use that Cash Machines provide; No-one ever needed training on how to use a cash machine and this is also true of ours.

The benefits of simplification go further still. By simplifying the user interface, support calls reduce dramatically. For HFX, this means we have more time to devote to our customers who contact us for more complex queries; this is why we regularly receive 100% AWESOME customer ratings on our Customer Services.

“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”
 Martin H. Fischer

Our approach to integration with other software solutions including HR, Payroll and ERP takes a similar approach. HFX provides RapiD interface configuration that does all the heavy lifting, translation and transformation enabling third party integration to be achieved effortlessly. By handling the complex processes within the application, we simplify the integration to third parties and even enable our customers to leverage the API so that they can integrate directly.

“Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.”
 Edward R. Tufte

We have also applied our core value to other aspects of our business including the approach to Marketing. Our new website (www.hfx.co.uk) embodies our core value and mission. We designed the website with our audience in mind rather than being slaves to google search ranking algorithms.

We removed all the clutter and present the key information we think our potential customers want to know. There are no cookies, no pop-up ads, no annoying call-outs and no information overload. We want our customers to view the information they want quickly whilst having a fun and positive experience at the same time.

Barnfather

Barnfather Wire, the UK’s largest independent wire production company, produces a broad range of specialist drawn wire products to the highest possible standards. From its state-of-the art plant in the West Midlands, Barnfather Wire can provide product from stock and manufacture bespoke to customers’ individual requirements.  One of the company’s most notable achievements was to supply the wire used to create the stems of the 888,264 poppies for the stunning ‘Blood Swept Lands and ‘Seas of Red’ Armistice displays at the Tower of London in 2014.

Ever-expanding company requires agile technology

Since starting out in 2007, Barnfather Wire’s friendly, professional service, quick turnaround and honest approach have created a flourishing business that today has a loyal client following from blue chip companies supplying some of the world’s biggest brands to small and medium British manufacturers.  Success is down to just 46 individuals who combine extensive hands-on industry experience with innovative technology across all parts of the business as Dean Horton, Works Director at Barnfather Wire explains:

“We have already achieved incredible things with a relatively small number of talented people but we are a growing business that requires sophisticated technology to support us and take us to the next level. Earlier this year, we took the decision to focus on improving the efficiency and accuracy of some of our most critical workforce management processes and set about searching the marketplace for an innovative, fully automated solution.”

Wages are top priority
Barnfather Wire has recently invested in AUTOTIME’s cloud-based Biometric Time & Attendance system Vanquish to replace the company’s existing clocking in-and-out system that was extremely difficult to use and failed to deliver accurate readings of employee attendances and absences.  This had a hugely negative impact especially when it came to calculating the staff’s weekly wages.  Dean continued:

“Before Vanquish, every Monday morning would be spent working with a colleague from the accounts department to finalise everyone’s pay packet.  The old clocking system was highly ineffectual because it regularly over-clocked and you couldn’t even read the cards very well.  Now, thanks to the simplicity of the Vanquish solution, the whole payroll process is so much quicker, down from half a day to just half an hour.  Even better, I can do it by myself and have it all done and dusted before 9.30am in the morning.”

Real-time information all in one place
Barnfather Wire selected AUTOTIME primarily for the ease of use of the Vanquish system.  Staff use it to clock in and out by simply placing their hand over the Vanquish biometric hand reader terminals when they start and finish work.  Then, Dean and his two colleagues from the accounts team use the single, integrated solution to capture and store all information relating to employees, their shift patterns and pay details.

Dean added, “Having information all in one place is one of the major benefits of deploying the Vanquish solution.  It’s fast and gives us vital, real-time information on shifts and pay along with critical absence data such as holidays and sickness. We can even add our own comments and attach important records such as disciplinary notes to build a living virtual library and valuable audit trail. At the click of a button, we have a clear view of our end-to-end time and attendance activities.”

Scheduling up for efficiency
For example, when it comes to scheduling Barnfather Wire’s employees, Dean can log into the cloud-based system from anywhere to allocate shifts quickly and efficiently, track the number of hours each staff member has actually worked and reconcile them against the original planned schedules.  If an employee does not turn up on the day, is sick or on holiday, he is able to move people around and deploy them to areas that need extra support, versatility which Dean believes is invaluable to keeping the company agile and dynamic at all times.

Spotting trends for improved decision-making and faster results
The ability to record and monitor accurately the number of hours worked along with absences like sickness or holidays makes it easy to identify trends that aid improved decision-making.  For example, the Vanquish system will automatically alert Dean to recurring incidents out of the ordinary such as if an employee regularly calls in sick on Mondays or Fridays or leaves early. Being forearmed with this type of information means Barnfather Wire can proactively assess the situation, take remedial action, if necessary, or provide the additional support that staff need before employee morale or efficiency levels suffer.

“Introducing automation into our organisation has yielded impressive results.  Just four months after going live with the new Vanquish system, we feel in complete control of our time and attendance activities, have made tangible time savings and improved payroll accuracy beyond our expectations.  The AUTOTIME team have been fantastic.  They even configured the solution with our four main shift patterns to ensure we were up and running in no time. There’s still a lot to learn but the success of the implementation so far is a real motivating factor.  Who knows what more we can achieve in another six months?”

About Barnfather Wire

Barnfather Wire is the UK’s largest independent wire production company.  From its West Midlands plant, it manufactures a broad range of drawn wire products to the highest possible standards. It provides products from stock or bespoke to customers’ individual requirements.

One of Barnfather Wire’s most notable achievements was to supply the wire used to create the stems of the 888,264 poppies for the ‘Blood Swept Lands’ and ‘Seas of Red’ Armistice displays at the Tower of London in 2014.

For more information, visit www.barnfatherwire.co.uk or Contact us

 

 

 

Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire welcomes over a million visitors every year and is home to a variety of exciting attractions with roller coasters, a 15-acre zoo and Thomas Land.  Considered by many to be the ‘ultimate family day out’, Drayton Manor has received numerous awards that recognise the company’s inclusivity such as ‘Best Attraction for Children’ and ‘Access for All’ along with Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor in four consecutive years.  There is also an on-site hotel.  The four-star 150 bedroom Drayton Manor Hotel features executive rooms, presidential suites and 15 Thomas & Friends™ rooms, as well as two bars, two restaurants plus The Grill Inn, adjacent to the hotel.

Complex requirements need a reliable and robust solution

The scale and diversity of Drayton Manor requires a large number of staff to provide an excellent visitor experience and operate other complementary on-site services such as conferences and events and a popular education programme.  The theme park’s 750 staff – regularly reaching 800 during the peak summer season – are employed in a broad range of roles from front-line guest services at ticket points, at catering and retail outlets and in the hotel to maintaining buildings, grounds and keeping the rides safe and attending to behind the scenes administration and marketing.  Managing them all and ensuring they are paid correctly, on time, and in line with National Pay and European Work Time Directives is a critical success factor.

Clare Beasley, Director of People at Drayton Manor takes up the story, “Running a theme park of this magnitude is a complex business and requires sophisticated technology to simplify the whole process of knowing how many people you have on-site at any one time and then reconciling this information to payroll quickly, accurately and efficiently.”

Fast, comprehensive real-time information from a solution that is easy to use

Drayton Manor first turned to AUTOTIME, a division of HFX over eight years ago in 2010 and has recently re-invested in the company’s real-time Biometric Time & Attendance system Vanquish.  Clare continues: “As Drayton Manor grew and more staff were employed, we considered different ways of managing our employees but nothing matched the automated approach to scheduling that Vanquish offers.  The software is so easy to use both for our team leaders and for our people on the ground.  It’s fast, gives us vital, real-time information on holidays, time off in lieu and other absences, allows us to create and download valuable reports in an instant and we also benefit from AUTOTIME’s constant innovation in the product. In a nutshell, all this so why would we want to change?”

Controlling costs and gaining efficiencies with Rostering

Today, Clare and her team use Vanquish for Time & Attendance and are beginning to roll-out the system for rostering purposes, a move Clare believes will help Drayton Manor to “control costs better and gain efficiencies” by minimising the risk of overpayments.  All staff use Vanquish to clock in and out whether they work in the park, the zoo, in the hotel or in back office functions.  They simply place their hand over one of the 14 Vanquish biometric hand reader terminals when they start and finish work and whenever they leave the premises for breaks or other business reasons.

Around 40 managers rely on Vanquish to view their own teams’ activities and keep track of their weekly hours to make sure staff are not falling below the National minimum wage threshold and comply with European Work Time Directives. For example, they can check absences such as any accrued Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) and make sure it is booked in for the relevant member of staff.  Clare’s team has recently started to expand the Vanquish solution further by exporting data from the hand reader terminals directly into Drayton Manor’s corporate Sage Snowdrop payroll system to accurately track the hours that staff work.

Saving time, increasing accuracy and better Compliance

Clare sums up the benefits: “Deploying Vanquish has released a series of valuable operational and business benefits.  Vanquish gives us good visibility of how many people we have on-site at any one time and shows who hasn’t turned up for work against the planned roster. This helps us spot any gaps that need filling and is invaluable for payroll purposes.  Automation reduces error and saves huge amounts of time.   What is more, the solution offers a robust audit trail, a complete history going back eight years.  This supports our compliance with important industry legislation and demonstrates our commitment to driving best-practice throughout the organisation.”

Automation increases productivity

The automation gained by from the intuitive solution has boosted productivity through tangible time and cost savings while the availability of dynamic, real-time data has improved the accuracy of timesheets to reduce absence, time theft and unnecessary overtime.

Clare concludes, “AUTOTIME offers top-notch technology and support to match.  From initial implementation to day-to-day guidance, we can ask any questions and know we will get answers straight away.  Moreover, the team is 100% focused on innovation and has even tweaked the system quickly and efficiently to suit our needs perfectly.   Quite simply, AUTOTIME is continually looking to push the boundaries of customer service and we really appreciate that.”

To find out more Contact us