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Freshfields Risk & Compliance

| 2 minutes read

WorkLife 2.0: Spain finally implements the Work-life Balance Directive

The Spanish government has finally implemented Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers (the ‘Directive’). Even though, the deadline for implementing the Directive was last August, the Spanish government has only taken action now, as a matter of urgency before the general elections.

The new legislation, which entered into force on 30 June, provides for new paid leaves for carers and parents and gives to the unmarried couples the same rights as to the married couples, when it comes to these types of leaves and other related rights.

The main types of leaves approved, include the following:

1. New parental leave – The existing legislation already provides for a 4 month  long parental leave for both parents, as the Directive requires. However, a new parental leave is introduced to take care of a child or adopted child (if so, for more than one year), which can be taken until the child turns 8 years old. This leave, that can be  up to 8 weeks, and can be taken all at once or in shorter periods. Furthermore, this type of leave cannot be transferred to another individual. Furthermore, it is compatible with other (paid) leaves.

2.Limits to both parents exercising the leaves for breastfeeding, working time reduction or unpaid leaves for the same person at the same time (provided this is duly justified), if both parents are in the same company.

3. Paid leave of absence and related rights as follows:

  • Leave for serious accident or illness, hospitalisation or surgery without hospitalisation requiring home rest of the spouse, unmarried partner or relatives up to 2nd degree (including those of the unmarried partner), or any other individual living with the employee and requiring their care - 5 days (up to now, it was 2 days)
  •  The right to be absent from work due to force majeure when necessary for urgent and unforeseeable family reasons, in the event of illness or accident that makes their immediate presence indispensable – 4 days.
  • Leave in  case of death of spouse, unmarried partner or relatives of either, up to the 2nd degree –  2 days (up to 4 days if travelling is required)
  • Leave in case of civil unions – 15 calendar days.

4. Extension of leave in the case of single parent families – the single parent may take full extensions of the suspension of the contract as provided for two-parent families in the event of disability of the child or in the event of multiple births.

5. The right to a working time reduction to take care of relatives up to the 2nd degree is extended as well to unmarried partners and their relatives, provided there are no blood relatives that could take care of the individual themselves.  The right to a working time reduction is also extended for children or disabled individuals who are younger than 26 years old and have cancer or other serious illness.

The new legislation  includes an expressed prohibition of any discrimination on grounds of gender for exercising any of these rights, and greater protection is given against termination (which will be null and void).

Employers with operations in Spain might need to review their policies and train their managers.