The Royal Decree-Law on Urgent Measures to Guarantee Equal Treatment and Opportunities for Women and Men in Employment and Occupation recently came into force, amending the Workers Statute and the Equality Law. The decree-law, which applies to companies established in Spain, aims to improve gender equality between women and men, reinforce equal pay and enable parents to share childcare responsibilities.
A trade union recently filed a claim with the Castile and Leon High Court on behalf of 6,000 in-home carers, asking the court to declare that the time which the carers spent travelling between their home and their first and last clients of the day must be deemed working time in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement. This is a controversial matter on which the Spanish labour courts have reached various conclusions.
The Supreme Court recently concluded that the implementation of individual redundancies which collectively exceed the applicable statutory thresholds should be carried out in accordance with the legal procedure for collective dismissals, even if agreements have been reached with employee representatives. This case was particularly complex due to the fact that the employment terminations had not been de facto implemented through a redundancy.
The new Data Protection Act has introduced a number of so-called 'digital rights' for employees. Prior to the act's entry into force, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court had already issued regulations on how employers could monitor employees using video, audio or geolocation surveillance, which were in line with European Court of Human Rights rulings. Although the new act has made no special amendments to the courts' regulations, it has provided a concrete legal framework in this regard.
The new Data Protection Act introduced a number of so-called 'digital rights' for employees, including a right to disconnect from their work devices. This right aims to guarantee employees' rest, leave and holiday time, as well as their right to personal and family privacy. The provision concerning how this right should be exercised is general. As such, the legislature has left it up to employers to define each employee's right to disconnect in their collective bargaining or employment agreement.