Spain: Modifications to the Workers’ Statute

14 March 2019 - Monika Bertram

Monika Bertram Abogada +34 91 319 96 86

On 15 February 2019 the official calling of general elections was announced. The interim government, by way of a decree-law, adopted a series of socio-employment measures that must be kept in mind when managing professional activities within companies.

With the entry into force of Royal Decree-Law 6/2019, of 1 March, on urgent measures to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities among women and men in employment and of Royal Decree-Law 8/2019, of 8 March, on urgent measures for public protection and to fight against job insecurity, the Workers’ Statute (“E.T.”) has been updated in the last two weeks.

For this reason, it is advisable to keep in mind the principal changes:

1.     Salary discrimination (Art. 9 E.T.): if a contract is declared null and void due to salary discrimination based on gender, the worker shall be entitled to the corresponding retribution.

2.    Probationary period (Art. 14 E.T.): if a termination during the probationary period is at the request of the company, said decision shall be null and void if made on account of pregnancy, from the date of the start of the pregnancy until the suspension period, or maternity, unless the business owner succeeds in proving that reasons exist that are not related to the pregnancy or maternity.

Provided that the parties reach an agreement, situations of temporary incapacity, birth, adoption, care with a view to adoption, foster care, risk during pregnancy, risk during breastfeeding and gender violence, that affect the worker during the probationary period, shall interrupt the calculation of the probationary period.

3.    Equality in remuneration due to gender (Art. 28 E.T.): new wording is presented, and the obligation established to pay the same retribution for the rendering of work of equal value (understood in the sense of the nature of the duties and/or tasks entrusted to the worker), without any gender discrimination existing.

4.   Workday (Art. 38 E.T.): the possibility is included to request adaptations concerning the duration and distribution of the workday, to exercise their right to family and work conciliation. If they have children, workers are entitled to make such request up to the time their children are 12 years old.

Furthermore, as of May 2019, companies must register the workday of their workers. Said registration must include the start and finish of the workday, without prejudice to flexibility in scheduling.

5.    Leave of absence for child care (Art. 46 E.T.): in the case of families with three or more children, the reservation of their work post shall be extended up to a maximum of 15 months when it is a general category family with three or more children, and up to a maximum of 18 months if it falls under a special category.

When both parents are exercising this right with the same time and regime, the reservation of their work posts shall be extended up to a maximum of 18 months.

6.    Duration of fathers’ paternity leave (transitional clause 13): in cases of birth, the other parent shall have a total suspension period of eight weeks, of which the two first weeks shall be taken in a continuous manner immediately following childbirth.

As of 1 January 2020, in cases of birth, the other parent shall have a total suspension period of twelve weeks, of which the first four shall be taken in a continuous manner immediately following childbirth.

As of 1 January 2021, each parent shall have an equal period of suspension of their employment contract (16 weeks) including six weeks of obligatory leave for each of them.

7.    Null and void dismissal (Arts. 53 and 55 E.T.): Dismissals following re-entry to the workforce after termination of a suspension period shall be declared null and void, provided that twelve (12) months have not passed since the date of birth, adoption or care with a view to adoption.

8.    Employment infractions: any infraction in the registration of the workday and equality plans and measures may be considered a serious infraction, punishable with fines of up to EUR 6,250.00.

9.    New Workers’ Statute: it is foreseen that before 30 June 2019, the Government will appoint a group of experts for the purposes of carrying out the work and research necessary for the preparation and approval of a new Workers’ Statute.

More information: Monika Bertram