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Employee Time Tracking: Requirements for Global Businesses

Regulations for employee time tracking vary from country to country. If employers have a distributed workforce across international borders, it is necessary to understand the different time tracking requirements. This guide breaks down employer time tracking responsibilities as well as the various requirements for multiple countries around the world.

What Is Employee Time Tracking?

Employee time tracking is how businesses record the working hours of their employees to ensure accurate payroll, measure efficiency in the workplace, and increase accountability and productivity. It is often required by country or state laws to ensure employees receive adequate pay and working conditions.

There are various ways to log and track employee hours, such as using a manual time clock system or having employees record their time electronically through tracking software. It is typically up to each company to determine its desired method.

Time Tracking Requirements Around the World

Time tracking requirements differ depending on the employment and labor laws in each country. Employers that plan to hire talent located in another country, must comply with the local time tracking regulations. Below is a summary of employee time tracking laws around the world.

Illustrative map with the US, Canada, UK, Sweden, European Union and India highlighted with their employe time tracking lawsEuropean Union Time Tracking Laws


All EU member states require employers to establish a system that allows them to record the daily working time of their employees. This mandatory tracking system enforces the legal limits on working hours, rest time, and overtime. There is no set requirement for how employee time needs to be tracked, so each member state and employer can choose their own system.

What Is the European Working Time Directive Act?

The European Working Time Directive Act regulates employee working time and guarantees labor standards for employees within the EU. Under the directive, EU member states must guarantee workers the following:

  • The average workweek does not exceed 48 hours
  • The workday is no more than eight hours
  • A rest break if working for more than six consecutive hours
  • A minimum of 11 consecutive hours of rest every 24 hours
  • At least 24 uninterrupted hours of rest each week
  • At least four weeks of paid annual leave each year

United States Time Tracking Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards for employment in the U.S. The FLSA also determines the distinction between exempt and non-exempt employees and requires all U.S. employers to keep time and payroll records of their workforce.

Employers are free to track employee time any way they choose as long as it is complete and accurate. Specific time tracking regulations may differ by state, but the following federal requirements apply to all:

  • Employers must keep an accurate record of each employee, including identifying information, hours worked each day and each week, hourly pay rate, regular earnings, and overtime
  • Employees are paid at least the minimum wage
  • Employees receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 each workweek
  • The employer must keep time tracking records for at least two years

DCAA Time Tracking Compliance

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) provides audit and financial advisory services to the Department of Defense and conducts audits and financial advisory services to determine whether federal contracts are allocated correctly. Companies with government contracts must follow DCAA recommendations and guidance to keep accurate records and time tracking. The DCAA requires that every employee records every hour worked by day and by project, as well as vacation time, sick days, and other leave.

India Time Tracking Laws

India’s labor and employment laws require employers to maintain records of all employees’ attendance and wages. Under India’s Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, which was enacted in 2020 to streamline labor compliance in an establishment, employers must adhere to the following working hour requirements for their employees:

  • The workday is no more than eight hours
  • The average workweek does not exceed 6 days
  • One day of rest each week
  • One day of earned leave for every 20 days of work
  • Wages paid at twice the rate for overtime work

Canada Time Tracking Laws

The Canada Labor Code provides regulations for employment conditions, including hours worked, vacations, leave, wages, overtime, and time tracking. Employers are required to keep accurate records of their employees’ working time.

Employers must keep payroll and employment records on file for 36 months, and include the employee’s identifying information, employment period, rate of wages, and hours of work. Employers must provide the following time conditions for their employees:

  • The standard workday is eight hours
  • The average workweek is 40 hours
  • In most cases, there is a maximum of 48 working hours allowed each week
  • At least 30 minutes of rest for five consecutive hours of work
  • Minimum of eight consecutive hours of rest between shifts
  • One day of rest each week
  • Two weeks of vacation for every completed year of employment, three weeks vacation after five consecutive years, four weeks after 10 years

United Kingdom Time Tracking Laws

In the U.K., working hours are governed by the Working Time Regulations 1998.

In order for businesses to show that they comply with all working time regulations, timesheets are a mandatory requirement. Employers must keep records for each employee for a minimum of two years. Under the law, employers must provide their employees the following:

  • The average workday is eight hours
  • The average workweek does not exceed 48 hours
  • At least 20 minutes of rest for every six hours of consecutive work
  • Minimum of 11 consecutive hours of rest between shifts
  • At least 24 uninterrupted hours of rest each week
  • 28 days of paid annual leave

Sweden Time Tracking Law

Sweden’s Working Hours Act regulates how much employees can work each day, week, and year. The Act follows the EU Working Time Directive Act, which allows each member state to determine working hours in the collective agreement as long as they follow the minimum requirements for an employee’s working time:

  • The average workweek does not exceed 40 hours
  • A rest break if working for more than five consecutive hours
  • Minimum of 11 consecutive hours of rest every 24 hours
  • At least 36 uninterrupted hours of rest each week
  • 25 days of vacation, according to the Annual Leave Act

International Employee Time Tracking and Compliance

While it can be challenging to navigate the nuances of global time tracking, a global partner can advise you on the most current time tracking laws. Working closely with an international partner helps you stay compliant wherever your distributed workforce is located around the world.

Velocity Global’s Global Work Platform seamlessly connects employers and talent worldwide using a full suite of workforce solutions. Our cloud-based, talent management solutions offer one source of data for managing your business productively and compliantly — including quick onboarding, accurate and on-time payroll, secure document storage, and employee time tracking.

Reach out today to find out how Velocity Global helps you manage and employ your international workforce.


Legal Disclaimer: The information available in this guide does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained in this guide – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the information in this guide are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this guide is provided "as is" and no representations are made that the content is error-free.

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