Technology makes the difference in meeting the regulatory challenge of time constraints

Five years have passed since it became mandatory for all companies to sign up (it was completed on March 12), and a significant percentage of them have yet to implement it. It is estimated that 30% of our companies The country continues to fail to record workers’ working hours as required by law. A fact already revealed in 2022 by the report „Spain’s Time Record” by the Kenzo company (specializing in the digitization of the human resources sector). A similar percentage is rated by companies and industry experts that ABC consults and is committed to developing and delivering innovative solutions for time management.

New technologies will be essential to meet this regulatory challenge, because the government wants to give a twist to the regulation of signing in companies: it wants it to be digital (ie without paper records) and accessible remotely. Labor Survey. The administrator has proposed to the social partners in the framework of negotiations to reduce the working day from 40 hours to 37.5 hours per week.

You should look at the data provided by the Labor Survey to check whether time restrictions are pending for many companies. From 2019, after the duty of the clock came into force, until last year, the measures taken by the organization to monitor the so-called 'working time’ increased by 32%, which is always « „watched time register” because other problems arise from there, such as overtime, breaks, holidays.. .Indicate from labor survey. Well, over this five-year period, infringements for failure to comply with issues arising from 'working hours’ have almost tripled and, as a result, so have sanctions.


Last year, out of 35,501 interventions carried out by this organization on this issue, 14,292 violations were detected and sanctions totaled 15.5 million euros. The highlight of 2023 is that „45% more breaches have been detected than in 2022,” says Daniel Lopez, director of the HCM Iberia & Mid Market Spain Business Unit at Cegid, a multinational company that provides business management software in the cloud.

Because there is a lack of financial resources, or information or advice, or because it is too difficult to register for some activities Super flexible schedules Or where you work towards goals or projects, the reality is that time constraints don’t completely permeate organizations. All of them are obliged to do so: from a startup with two employees to a multinational company with thousands, as long as they operate in Spain. It affects all professional sectors, including 'mobile’ workers (commuters), such as salespeople, real estate agents, temporary workers or those on part-time contracts, or those who work remotely or in „other situations where work delivery is not carried out”. Out.” , wholly or partially, at the workplace of the company,” says a guide to recording working hours published by the Ministry of Labour.

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This document has been prepared to address several queries raised by companies and provides a series of criteria but for informational purposes only. For example, it considers paper and telematic support valid for time control. And it states that it must be „reliable, irrevocable and not be tampered with later by the employer or the worker”.

The obligation to register with companies and keep these records for four years is included in Royal Decree-Law 8/2019, but it does not say which method should be used to do so. therefore, There are companies that still use paper media (A Lifetime Autograph Book). Others have implemented advanced digital applications (mobile apps or web portals) through which a worker can request a shift change, vacation or leave and justify absences for medical visits. There are also companies that require you to enter a card login or numeric code. Sometimes it is a combination of several technologies.


Already on the decline is biometric time control, i.e. login by fingerprint, iris, retina, face or voice, both the European Union and the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) have established high demands when using these. systems, although they are not banned. „Reducing the use of personal data rules. If you can achieve what a standard says with systems that do not use personal data, then you use those systems. Biometric control is not really prohibited, but it is more complicated to use because it is necessary to establish a series of controls to protect this data,” says Baker McKenzie. Margarita Fernandez, partner of the Department of Labor, explains.

Always digital

Labor wants to review the regulation on time restrictions by appealing the ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in 2019. It said it should be „signed by an objective, reliable and accessible system”. Calculation of daily working day performed by each worker. So last February, Labor Secretary Joaquín Pérez Rey said, „We must tend to digitize the time record and ensure that its entries are not manipulable, they cannot be changed by the employer or anything else. We also ensure that the register can be accessed remotely by the Labor Inspection. Today it should be available to the organization, the worker and their union representatives.

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That means no more paper registrations for logging in. „It’s a form of record that’s easy to manipulate and hard to protect,” Perez Rey justified, adding that he didn’t advance what the digital record would look like or explain how it might work with labor inspection.


This reform will also solve another problem: „The sanctioning apparatus related to working hours must be strengthened so that it prevents effective and adequate behavior that endangers full compliance with working hours regulations,” Pérez Rey declared.

Penalty for not having a signing system now or errors in its operational range within a limit Between 751 and 7,500 euros. But as the lawyer Margarita Fernández points out, this kind of non-compliance has a high impact: „There are already judgments – she details – that only admit the time recording system as evidence, and if the company does not have it, they agree. With the employee.” Can request overtime. „The company is in a weak position and without vital evidence to prove that a worker did not work overtime.”

Labor inspection activities on time recording increased by 32%.

It must be recognized that sometimes it is not easy to have an efficient time control system that makes it easy for employees to record their entry and exit. „There are many challenges within time management due to different departments and organizational requirements. Clocking in an industry with fixed hours is not the same as in a real estate agency where employees travel out of the office multiple times, or in a transportation company where drivers start their day without going to the center, or in hospitality. Working shifts and employees reach for the clock when they clock in, but forget it at one in the morning when they finish their day. Workers are obligated to be on the clock, and this is a challenge for companies that have to implement this system,” explains Jose Delgado, CEO of Qanori, a startup that makes technology tools for SMEs.

This is more complicated, for example in the retail sector. „Shopkeepers don’t have to have a computer or a mobile phone. And they can’t be forced to download an app on their personal cell phone. It’s voluntary. Sometimes they log in and out by sending an email or through a site they access from their mobile phone, (but it’s not a download) ” says Margarita Fernandez.

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SMEs are particularly notable when they lack signature systems. „They still resist the implementation of time control or do it on paper, where it is difficult to keep information for four years and where the data can be modified and manipulated (you can cross or write later), it is not always available. Per employee . Sometimes they do not have advanced systems because of the costs involved, but per employee per month There are solutions on the market that cost between one and two euros. Instead of buying a license, they can contract a SAAF software service that provides a simple time control product, where they can justify absences, request changes in hours, or exchange these services with a colleague They can pay for these services for several years with an average fine of 6,000 euros for non-existence,” explains Marcelo dos Reyes, CEO of Spec Group, which specializes in designing comprehensive solutions for time management and control. .


Daniel Lopez also agrees that small businesses are „a bit behind.” „But it should be taken into account that technology and social monitoring highlight that in 2021 more than 600,000 small businesses will not have a computer to work. Today the new digital kit for companies with 50 to 250 workers is an opportunity to digitize the workday record. The main thing is that different types of „Companies must have technical solutions. There are assistants and even alert systems that notify the employee or manager of incidents or mistakes when they are off the clock,” says Daniel Lopez.

In the last quarter of 2023, 40% of the overtime worked by Spanish workers was unpaid

Digitizing the signature system offers benefits to the organization. „Our system saves the HR department 85% of administrative costs over manually managing absence or presence,” says Lopez. „Digital systems allow us to analyze: measure absenteeism and take action accordingly, identify long-term sick leave, know hours dedicated to a project or client, identify workers late on a certain day of the week and see why…” says Delgado.

Organizations have a full technological arsenal to meet the regulatory challenge that time constraints reflect.

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