Regulations on telework started to be introduced even before Internet use became widespread. Directive 90/270/EEC established as early as 1990 companies’ obligation to respect the private lives of their employees and began to introduce the possibility of using remote monitoring systems. Telework in Spain offers extensive advantages for companies in the early business stage and in the geographical expansion stage on a national and international level, with the main aim being to reduce costs in physical infrastructure investments.

Legislation on telework in Spain is regulated by the Workers’ Statute, which recognises companies’ legal authority to monitor their employees’ working hours even when they are not in the office.

The latest version of the Statute was written in 2012, along with the last Work Reform, and details several aspects of telework, all of which are covered in article 13.

Opting for telework is always a voluntary decision by the employee and the employer which, undoubtedly, must be set out in an agreement. It is important to remember that the obligatory nature of this contract will only be reciprocal when it is signed and never before. This does not imply that the worker is paid less or loses any of their rights compared to other employees who travel to their place of work to do their job.

When the state of emergency was declared in Spain, many companies had to work against the clock to enable their employees to telework. The new situation caused by the coronavirus has led to many companies choosing to ask their employees to stay at home and continue doing the job they would normally do in the workplace. Some guidelines for this are set out below:

  • Period: The beginning and end of the service will need to be discussed and advance notice given of when it will end
  • Workday: The number of hours worked from home should be addressed, establishing a fixed timetable in line with that established for the workplace
  • Recording working hours: A system for recording working hours should be put into place to comply with regulations
  • Accessibility: Employees should be informed of whether they will need to travel to their workplace on occasion to do their job: customer service, attend meetings, etc.
  • Days off, leave: Employees should request days off via the established channels in the company.

The Spanish government is currently drafting a regulation for telework addressing the principle of equal treatment in terms of working conditions, working hours and breaks. To this end, it has opened a public consultation prior to preparing draft legislation published on the Ministry of Labour website.

Finally, telework in Spain will become a great option due to offering several advantages for both the company and the personnel. It is a method in which two fundamental concepts, work life and wellbeing, in Spain are both focused on.

Inmaculada Pessini

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