Government of Spain adopts extraordinary measures in the field of labour to alleviate the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.
Among the measures approved last Tuesday within the Spanish Royal Decree-Law 8/2020 are those concerning support for workers, the relaxation of procedures for the suspension of contracts and unemployment protection
Preferential nature of distance working
In accordance with the Government’s provisions, organizational systems will be established to enable the activity to be maintained by alternative mechanisms, particularly by means of distance working, with the company having to take the appropriate measures if this is technically and reasonably possible and if the necessary adaptation effort is proportionate. These alternative measures, particularly distance working, shall take priority over temporary cessation or reduction of activity.
Right to adapt the timetable and reduce the working hours
Those who can prove that they have a duty of care towards their spouse or partner, as well as towards relatives by consanguinity up to the second degree, will have the right to have their working hours adapted and/or reduced when there are exceptional circumstances related to the actions necessary to prevent the community transmission of the Covid-19.
The right to adapt the working hours may refer to the distribution of working time (change of shift, modification of schedule) or any other aspect of working conditions (change of work centre, change of functions), whose alteration or adjustment allows the worker to provide the attention and care that is the object of the above-mentioned right.
Exceptional measures in relation to procedures for the suspension of contracts and reduction of working hours due to force majeure
Suspensions of contracts and reductions of working hours that have their direct cause in losses of activity as a consequence of Covid-19, will be considered as coming from a situation of force majeure, applying the following particularities, with respect to the procedure contained in the regulations governing these cases:
- The procedure shall be initiated by a request from the company, which shall be accompanied by a report on the link between the loss of activity as a result of Covid-19 and, where appropriate, the corresponding supporting documentation. The company must communicate its request to the workers and transfer the previous report and supporting documentation, if any, to the workers’ legal representation.
- The existence of force majeure must be verified by the labour authority.
- The decision of the labour authority shall be issued within five days of the request, following a report, where appropriate, from the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate.
- The report of the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate, whose request will be optional for the labour authority, will be issued within a non-renewable period of five days.
Extraordinary contribution measures in relation to the procedures for the suspension of contracts and reduction of working hours due to force majeure related to Covid-19
In the cases of suspension of contracts and reduction of working hours authorized on the basis of temporary force majeure linked to Covid-19, the General Treasury of Social Security, at the request of the companies, will apply significant bonuses. In the case of companies with fewer than 50 workers, 100 % of the company’s contribution will be waived for the duration of the period of suspension of contracts or reduction of working hours authorised on this basis. In companies with 50 or more employees, the exemption from the obligation to pay contributions will be 75 % of the employer’s contribution.
This exemption will not have any effect on the employee, and this period will continue to be considered as effectively contributing for all purposes.
Extraordinary measures for unemployment protection
In cases where the company decides to suspend contracts or temporarily reduce the working hours based on the extraordinary circumstances regulated in the Royal Decree-Law, the Public State Employment Service will recognise the right to contributory unemployment benefit, even if the person does not have the minimum period of contributory employment necessary to do so. Furthermore, the time in which this benefit is received will not count for the purposes of consuming the maximum periods established for unemployment benefits.