Brighter business / What you should know about employee tracking laws

What you should know about employee tracking laws

17th March 2020

Nowadays more and more businesses are becoming mobile, with many businesses predicting growth.

With high competition, it means that every business is attempting to find new methods of achieving greater productivity and efficiency.

So, it doesn’t come as a shock that businesses are now using GPS tracking software to collect a range of data including, time, date and location of employees. This data can then be analysed to provide more accurate performance reports, allowing for better decision making, customer updates and an improved service.

Is this something you want to consider for your small business? There are four things you need to know about employee tracking:

1. Ensure the data is only used for business purposes

This is the fundamental rule when attempting to track your employees. Data can be a powerful thing to collect. When done correctly, it’s used to enhance productivity and fuel business growth. But ultimately, data must be restricted and used purely for business purposes.

The laws by which businesses must adhere to that cover employee tracking are the Human Rights Act and GDPR.

Human Rights Act

The Human Rights Act covers the privacy of an individual and in this case an employee, specifically Article 8 of the legislation. To summarise, the article specifies how it’s an offence to misuse any personal data that has been captured through technology, including vehicle tracking.

The purpose of the act is to safeguard the individual, allowing them to have the right to privacy and confidentiality of personal information. For an official guide to the Human Rights Act, click here.

General Data Protection Regulations

Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), any information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual and held as a record is classed as personal data. Any company that holds personal data has to abide by the GDPR guidelines.

This states that personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully, all of the collected data should be adequate, relevant, accurate and only kept as long as necessary and moreover obtained only for lawful purposes. Thus, when tracking your employees for work purposes all of these requirements must be followed.

2. Create a policy explaining how and why you’re collecting this data

According to the regulations set out by GDPR, when collecting data about the whereabouts of your workers you should ensure that they are fully aware of why the data has been collected and that it is exclusively used for business purposes.

All data must be stored securely and a policy should be implemented to only keep the data as long as necessary. When it is no longer needed, there should be a process in place for the safe disposal of data.

Employers must also give employees access to any data you store for them when requested.

3. Make sure you’re only tracking when your employees are working

As mentioned in the Human Rights Act, individuals have the right to privacy and confidentiality of personal information. That is why many businesses are using mobile GPS tracking apps, so workers are only tracked when they log into the application and not outside of their working lives, complying with legislation.

Some businesses have tracking installed in vehicles, although some of these vehicles can be used for personal use. Outside working hours, none of the tracking information should be recorded or stored as this would be an infringement of privacy.

4. Get your employees on board by understanding the benefits

With all the legislation around vehicle tracking mentioned above, when done in a correct and lawful manner it provides your business and your employees with multiple benefits.

The reduction of customer complaints is a huge benefit for employees. Many businesses are adopting job management systems and GPS tracking software as proof that their workers have arrived on time and completed their jobs. Any false and/or unjustified claims can be squashed as you can prove worker whereabouts and time of visit, meaning employees can’t be held liable.

There are high risks associated with mobile working, especially when they are working alone. A digital system provides accurate coordinates of where they are, so if workers ever need help, someone will know exactly where to reach them.

Employee tracking removes mounds of paperwork and trips to and from the office. By knowing exactly what time your workers are on site you know when they started the job without the need for them to travel to the office before starting the job.

About the author

Graham Whistance is the Managing Director of MyMobileWorkers and has been transforming the way mobile businesses work for over 15 years by switching from paperwork to an easy to use digital system.