1. Law on remote working enters into force
Law 10/2021 on remote working came into force on 11 July; this involves the parliamentary processing of Royal Decree-Law 28/2020.
2. Regulation on the procedures to impose penalties and settle social security contributions amended
Royal Decree 688/2021 of 3 August amends the General Regulation on procedures for imposing penalties for social security infringements and for settling social security contributions approved by Royal Decree 928/1998. Entering into force on 1 January 2022, it essentially introduces early-payment discounts and automated administrative processes and updates the infringement-penalties the Employment and Social Security Inspectorate imposes.
3. Employers may prohibit employees from wearing any visible form of expression of political or religious beliefs in the workplace
The Court of Justice of the European Union has held that an employer’s decision to prohibit its employees from wearing any visible form of expression of political or religious beliefs in the workplace is not contrary to Directive 2000/78, provided the measure applies across the board and is justified by the employer’s needs.
4. National courts decide whether the limitations to prevent misuse of “fixed-term” contracts in the construction sector are suitable
The Court of Justice of the European Union has established limitations on entering into successive “fixed-term contracts” in the construction sector and assessed their effects in relation to a “transfer of undertakings” for the purposes of Directive 2001/23. It concluded, firstly, that it is for the national courts to interpret the limitations imposed in order to prevent their misuse and, secondly, that the workforce can be considered an economic entity for the purposes of the transfer.
5. Employer’s decision to terminate a foreign worker’s contract who had no work and residence permit is unfair
Losing a work and reside permit in Spain cannot be considered an implicit condition subsequent of the employment contract. These situations must be equated to a dismissal as the termination is not based on the will of the parties, but on an objective legal ground.
6. Employer’s ban on tipping is a substantial modification of working conditions
The Supreme Court has ruled that a unilateral ban on tipping is a substantial modification of working conditions and that the employer should have communicated the ban through the procedure established in article 41 of the Statute of Workers since (i) tips are considered a more beneficial condition even though they are non-salary voluntary payments, and (ii) banning them entails economic and moral harm for those who receive them.
7. Changing an employee’s workplace is not a substantial modification of working conditions when it does not require them to change their residence
The Supreme Court has ruled on appeal on whether a change of an employee’s workplace is a substantial modification of working conditions. It found that when the employee does not need to change residence as a result of the relocation, the decision falls within the employer’s decision-making powers and thus is not a substantial modification of working conditions.
8. Compensation of remote-working expenses during COVID-19 for workers in the contact centre sector is governed by collective bargaining agreements or the individual remote-working agreement
This case concerned the compensation workers are paid for expenses incurred by having to work from home as a result of the pandemic. The National Court ruled that compensation since the beginning of the pandemic is not due as neither Royal Decree 8/2020 nor the Third Transitional Provision of Royal Decree-Law 28/2020 recognise a right to such compensation. Compensation for remote-working expenses is governed exclusively by the applicable collective bargaining agreement or each worker’s individual remote-working agreement.