LABOUR NOTE: New measures on work-life balance and leave of absence

4 de September de 2023





Today, Friday 30/06/2023, the new measures on work-life balance and leave published in the Official State Gazette of Thursday 29/06, which form part of Royal Decree-Law 5/2023, of 28 June, adopting and extending certain measures in response to the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine, to support the reconstruction of the island of La Palma and other situations of vulnerability, come into force; transposing European Union Directives on structural modifications of commercial companies and reconciliation of family and professional life for parents and carers; and on the implementation and enforcement of European Union law.

The main novelties are as follows:

FIRST. Leave of absence from work with the right to remuneration is extended:

5 days (as opposed to the 2 days that existed until now in the current regulation) for serious accident or illness, hospitalisation or surgery without hospitalisation that requires home rest. Persons who live with the worker who requires care in the same home and also unmarried partners within the scope of the leave, as well as blood relatives of the unmarried partner, may benefit from this leave.

4 paid days for the new 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 make their immediate presence indispensable. In the case of leave due to death of spouse (2 days), allowance is made for unmarried partners.
15 calendar days in case of registered partnership.

SECOND: The right to reduce the working day is extended to those who need to take direct care of a family member up to the second degree of consanguinity of the spouse or unmarried partner, including the unmarried partner’s blood relative, provided that there are no direct blood relatives up to the second degree. And also for the care of children or disabled dependents under 26 years of age who have cancer or another serious illness, when the degree of disability exceeds 65%, provided that this condition is accredited before the age of 23.

THIRD: A new parental leave is established for the care of a child or foster child for a period of more than one year, which may be taken until the child reaches the age of 8. This leave, lasting no more than 8 weeks, continuous or discontinuous, is non-transferable and may be taken in a flexible manner.

FOURTH: The right to adapt the working day for people with dependents is extended to those people who can prove their duty of care for children over 12 years of age, their spouse or common-law partner, relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity of the worker, as well as other dependents when the latter live in the same home and are unable to look after themselves. The period for negotiating the adaptation is reduced from 30 to 15 days, and if the company does not respond to the adaptation request, it is considered to be granted.

FIFTH. Guarantees are established to ensure that workers cannot suffer prejudice as a result of exercising these new rights of reconciliation (dismissal would be null and void). Unfavourable treatment of women or men for exercising their rights to work-life balance or co-responsibility for work and family life will constitute discrimination on grounds of sex (punishable by the Labour Inspectorate).

Given that these provisions are justified in the transposition of a European Directive, the content of which could change during the mandatory validation process, it is recommended that the new provisions be applied with caution, at least until this Royal Decree-Law can be validated in definitive terms.