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New work-from-home law comes into force: What it means for staff and firms
16 October 2020 @ 16:29

SPAIN'S long-awaited new legislation covering home-working employees has come into force, and answers some of the questions businesses and their staff had been asking – but remains fairly flexible overall.

Key to all aspects of the new law is that a signed agreement covering all eventualities is required between firm and worker, and that nothing can be 'imposed' in either direction.

With an estimated three million employees in Spain currently working from home as standard practice – up from one million in 2019 – and predictions that at least 50% of all working hours in the country could be off-premises within a decade, the need to ensure legal coverage was pressing, and the government has been working against the clock to lay down guidelines and rules.

Although the idea of working at least part of the time from home or from another location such as a café or even park bench would appeal to most employees, many may have their reasons for not wanting to do so, and legally, any arrangement to switch to this mode of operation must be voluntary on the part of both the staff member and the firm.

It must also be reversible, so if the worker finds out three months down the line that he or she is just not productive away from the office, finds it difficult psychologically – isolating, for instance, or there are too many distractions at home – or the company finds it needs staff on the premises more often, or all the time, the original deal struck between the parties means the arrangement can be undone.

Refusal to work from home, exercising one's right to reverse the set-up, or finding out that off-premises working impedes ability to carry out one's duties, can never be considered justification for an employee's being fired or for his or her working conditions or pay to be significantly altered for the worse.



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