Littler Global Guide - Spain - Q2 2020

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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New Social Measures to Activate Employment After COVID-19 Crisis

New Order or Decree

Author: Sonia Cortés García, Partner – Abdón Pedrajas

On June 26, 2020, President Sanchez signed a new Royal Decree-Law 24/2020, as a social measure to enable a gradual recovery in business and economic activity, by activating employment, self-employment, and the industrial sector. The decree in relevant part: (i) extends furlough until September 30; (ii) freezes overtime and new hires if employees are still affected by a furlough; (iii) extends the extraordinary unemployment benefit scheme until September 30 (with some exceptions); (iv) exempts companies that implemented a force majeure furlough (or are going to request a furlough) from Social Security contributions for July, August and September; (v) restricts employers from paying out dividends within the current fiscal year, unless the social security contributions are paid first; (vi) forbids terminations within 6 months; (vii) holds in abeyance temporary contracts affected by a furlough until September 30; and (viii) forbids terminations based on business grounds or force majeure due to COVID-19 until September 30 (with some exceptions).

Health and Safety Obligations Post COVID-19 Crisis

New Order or Decree

Author: Sonia Cortés García, Partner – Abdón Pedrajas

On June 9, 2020, President Sanchez signed a Royal Decree-Law 21/2020 titled: “Urgent prevention, containment and coordination measures to deal with the health crisis caused by COVID-19,” which carries economic penalties for non-compliance. Amongst the health and safety obligations, this decree includes: (i) measures to avoid risks of COVID-19 spread; (ii) steps to address health emergencies; (iii) preventive measures for the workplace; (iv) health and safety measures in retail business, hotels, restaurants, etc.; (v) health and safety measures for transportation services; (vi) measures concerning medicines, medical devices, and products necessary for health protection; (vii) measures for early COVID-19 detection, control of sources of infection, and epidemiological surveillance; and (viii) measures to ensure the capacities of the public welfare system. Violation of the RDL will deemed to economic fines.

Proposed Law on Teleworking and Work from Home

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Author: Sonia Cortés García, Partner – Abdón Pedrajas

A proposed law, which was opened to public comment during the month of June, proposes changes to enable telework and work from home (WFH) as measures to protect employment and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If approved, these measures would be voluntary, requiring the parties to agree. In part, the law aims to guarantee equality and non-discrimination; as well as provide priority criteria for employees enjoying a paid leave (e.g., maternity, paternity, etc.), victims of gender violence or terrorism, and students. Teleworking and WFH would be prohibited for minors or employees with training contracts. The arrangements must meet various requirements, including “right to reversion” rules; measures to guarantee training and promotion and protection of employee rights, expense reimbursement, recordkeeping of working hours, health and safety measures, prevention of harassment and cyberbullying, notice of monitoring systems, amongst other obligations and preventative measures. Given the pandemic, the implementation of teleworking arrangements has become a major focus.

Guidance on Temperature Testing and Consideration of Data on COVID-19 Antibodies

Important Action by Regulatory Agency

Author: Sonia Cortés García, Partner – Abdón Pedrajas

The Spanish Data Protection Agency has published two reports on whether it is lawful for companies to test the temperature of employees to detect COVID-19 symptoms, or require job applicants to disclose whether they have COVID-19 antibodies or allow them to disclose it on their CV. The Agency’s position is that, to comply with their health and safety obligations, businesses can conduct temperature testing, as long as they comply with the principles of Art. 5 of the GDPR on the processing of personal data. However, information on COVID-19 antibodies is sensitive data related to a person’s health and considering it during the hiring process violates the data protection regulations for various reasons. First, given the power imbalance between the parties, the job applicant cannot give free consent. Second, the data is not necessary for the formation of the contract. Additionally, as the company would not yet be an employer, the data would not contribute to the protection of workers. If candidates include such information on their CV, companies are not allowed to take it into account, especially because such considerations cannot be made concerning other infectious diseases.

Increase of Investigations Focused on Fraudulent Use of Furlough Due to COVID-19


Author: Sonia Cortés García, Partner – Abdón Pedrajas

The Ministry of Employment and Social Economy announced a campaign to detect fraud of the use of furlough during the COVID-19 crisis, with a focus on the protection and responsible use of public resources. This campaign, led by the Labor Inspectorate and Social Security, will increase in-person inspections to identify non-compliance or irregular practices, with special attention to any resumption of activities without prior communication to the Public Service State Employment Service (SEPE). SEPE is involved in facilitating the return to work for employees receiving unemployment benefits.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.