Remote working or 'working from home' will now be regulated by a new Spanish decree which was approved on Tuesday by the Council of Ministers.
In a response to the impact of the COVID pandemic, the government, unions and business associations have been seeking a legal framework to manage the change in working practices.
The new legislation 28/2020 which was published in the country's Official State Gazette (BOE) on Wednesday will come into force in 20 days and will aim at protecting the rights of those who work from home.
Many employees have been forced to work remotely due to the Coronavirus pandemic with recent studies suggesting that as many as 30% of employees are now having to do so in an effort to minimise the spread.
Under the new law, remote working or 'Teletrabajo' will now be considered in the same way as regular employment.
The legislation will apply to any employee who spends at least 30% of their time working from home.
Expenses and compensation
An employee that has to work from home must be compensated by their company which must also provide the IT equipment, tools and other means to enable them to carry out their work.
Expenses that may be claimed can also include utility usage such as electricity, telephone and internet charges as well as the cost of additional equipment such as ergonomic office chairs.
The company must assist in the event of "technical difficulties" that hinder their work.
An agreement must be in place
The decision to telework will be “voluntary” and “reversible” and cannot be imposed unilaterally by the worker or the employer.
A written agreement between the employee and their firm must also be in place before working from home to ensure that the staff member is adequately compensated for any expenses incurred.
The agreement must also define the hours and duration of the working day, expenses that will need to be reimbursed and how the work process will be controlled.
Any arrangements to work from home should be voluntary for both parties. Workers cannot be fired for refusing to work remotely with any proposals to be negotiated between the parties.
Monitoring of staff
The Spanish government has stipulated that workers will have the right to a private life and ‘disconnect’ from their work activities outside of working hours.
Employers will have the right to monitor and check on members of staff to make sure they are fulfilling their employment obligations.
Workers with preference
Anyone who begins working for a company remotely will have the priority when applying for any vacant in-person positions. The company will be obliged to report any vacancies that may become available.
When does the new decree come into force?
The new law will come into force 20 days after being published in the BOE (23/09/2020) to allow companies sufficient time to adapt to the new regulation.
You can read the official BOE decree document here
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