Keeping records of working time and breaks
Your employer must keep detailed records of the hours you work each day and week. They must also keep a record of any leave, rest periods and breaks you take.
However, some employers are exempt from recording rest periods – see ‘Exemptions’ below.
Employers can record your working time electronically (for example, using a clock-in system), or using an OWT1 form (doc) (or similar).
An inspector from the Workplace Relations Commission can get full access to these records.
How long are records of working time kept?
Employers must keep a record of their employees’ working time for 3 years. This legal obligation is not affected by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Employers who do not keep these records are guilty of an offence and can fined up to €1,900.
You as an employee are not responsible and cannot be penalised for your employer’s lack of record-keeping.
Records to be kept by your employer
Your employer should keep the following records:
- Your name, address, PPS number, and a brief statement of your duties as an employee
- A copy of your contract of employment
- Your total days and hours worked each week
- Any days and hours of leave you take each week (including annual leave and public holidays), and the pay you got for that leave
- Any additional pay for a public holiday
- A copy of a ‘written record of a notification of working time’ (such as your weekly rota)
Your employer must keep these records in a way that can be easily understood by an inspector from the Workplace Relations Commission.
Can I complete my own records?
If you (the employee) and your employer agree, you can:
- Complete your own OWT1 form (doc) (or a similar form) each week
- Give the completed form to your employer for them to sign
Your employer must then keep the completed form so that it is available for inspection by the Workplace Relations Commission.
If you cannot take your break or rest period
If you are unable to take a break or rest period in your job, you must tell your employer, in writing, within one week. You must include the reason why you did not take the break.
Your employer must:
- Look at the reasons why you were unable to take your break
- Examine any health and safety issues that have (or might have) arisen relating to you and your job
- Allow you to take the rest break that you were due as soon as possible
If you do not take your break when this is offered, you are at fault and your employer is not obliged to offer you another break.
Read more about your entitlements to rest periods and breaks.
Exemptions from keeping records of rest periods
Your employer does not have to record your breaks and rest periods if they use electronic record-keeping (such as clock-in facilities) or manual record-keeping (such as the OWT1 form).
However, they must meet one of the following criteria:
- They tell you in writing about your entitlement to breaks and rest periods
- They tell you the terms of your collective agreement or employment regulation order
- They have a written procedure on how you must let your employer know if you are unable to take a rest period or break. You must include the reason why you could not take the rest break.
Your employer must keep:
- Written evidence they have told you of your entitlement to rest breaks
- Written evidence they have told you that, if any rest breaks are not taken, you must let them know in writing
- Records of all notifications sent by you in relation to your working time.
You can read about the laws on keeping records of working time in:
- The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, and
- The Organisation of Working Time (Records) (Prescribed Form and Exemptions) Regulations 2001.
You can also contact the Workplace Relations Commission's Information and Customer Service.