Employment - Legislative and case law developments

19 January 2024

1. New legislation implements the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and introduces key amendments to the Law Regulating the Labour Courts

Royal Decree-Law 6/2023 of 19 December amends the Law Regulating the Labour Courts and updates the reform implemented through Law 13/2009 of 3 November, which amends procedural legislation to introduce the new office of the court, developing the procedural mechanisms such as the “witness procedure” (called procedimiento testigo) and extending a final judgment’s effects when specific requirements are met.

2. Law implementing the Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers not approved by Congress

On 10 January 2024, the Spanish Congress of Deputies repealed Royal Decree-Law 7/2023 of 19 December, which amends the Spanish Workers’ Statute, the General Social Security Law, the Law on the basic statute for public employees, the Law on labour offences and penalties, and the Royal Decree on unemployment protection. The main amendments relate to unemployment and welfare benefits, breastfeeding leave, and the priority of regional collective bargaining agreements, among others. 

3. Provisional pension rate changes and transitional rules on contributions until the 2024 General State Budget Law

Royal Decree-Law 8/2023 of 27 December will provisionally regulate pension rate changes while the General State Budget Law for 2024 is being approved, and establishes transitional rules on contribution matters such as determining the Intergenerational Equity Mechanism contribution, minimum contribution base increases, and how additional provision 52 of the General Social Security Law applies to internships.

4. The general Regulation on social security infringement procedures and contribution settlements and the Regulation on the organisation and functioning of the labour and social security inspectorate are amended to bolster electronic processing

Royal Decree 1011/2023 of 5 December aims to increase administrative efficiency and foster fully electronic processing. It establishes a general principle of electronic processing and adjusts the terms and deadlines in line with those already provided in Law 39/2015 of 1 October to make the applicable legal framework more uniform. It introduces an alternative notification system for settlement or infringement procedures. It also clarifies how powers granted to the court agent in the presence of a judicial officer or electronically (apud acta) are to be certified, and creates the Electronic Register of Powers of Attorney.

5. Companies are not obligated to carry over annual leave when a worker is quarantined but not on sick leave

The Court of Justice of the European Union has declared that a company refusing to carry over an employee’s paid holiday leave when he or she is quarantined (but not on sick leave) is not incompatible with EU law because this is not the same as being unfit for work and having a fit note or other medical certificate.

6. A pregnant worker’s null dismissal requires evidence of discrimination for her to be entitled to non-pecuniary damages

The Supreme Court has concluded that a worker is not entitled to non-pecuniary damages as a result of their dismissal being declared automatically null unless they can prove discrimination. In the case in question, the company was aware that the worker was pregnant when it sent her the dismissal letter, but it also dismissed five other workers at the same time. Consequently, the judgment applies the customary effects of the declaration of nullity, but does not award non-pecuniary damages.

7. A company can install hidden cameras exceptionally and non-permanently when equipment is going missing from its premises

The High Court of Justice of Madrid has declared that a company can install hidden cameras at its premises exceptionally and non-permanently when it reasonably suspects that a serious infringement, such as an employee stealing from the premises, is being committed.

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