Time tracking regulations (UK)

As an employer in the UK, you’re required to keep a record of the hours your staff have worked for at least two years. Failure to do so could result in a fine or legal action being taken against your business.

There is no single method for recording employees’ worked hours, but records must be kept in order, and be both accurate and legible.

Why is time tracking required?

Time tracking isn’t just useful for running payroll at the end of the month; it’s also required to protect both staff and businesses, ensuring that staff aren’t working more than the maximum legal limit per day, and that they are given sufficient time to rest between shifts.

Time tracking is also important to monitor things like employee absenteeism, and holiday staff accrue, employee overtime, and employee wellbeing since staff who regularly miss shifts or who work late may require additional help from their employer.

Ways to record employees’ working hours

There are a number of ways for employers to keep a log of the hours their staff work, including:

  • Paper timesheets. Staff (or you, their manager) record the hours they start and finish their shifts by writing them on a paper timesheet or in a logbook.
  • Time cards. Staff punch in and out of their shifts using time cards. The times stamped on these cards are then manually recorded in a spreadsheet document or similar.
  • Time and attendance software. Modern clocking-in software lets staff clock in and out using an app on their phone. In, out, and break times are automatically added to employees’ digital timesheets, which are stored securely online. There are no cards or special equipment required, helping to reduce costs and prevent buddy punching.

Whatever method you choose to record your employees’ working hours, be sure to keep records of the hours your staff have worked for at least 24 months in order to comply with UK employment law.

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