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EU Directives, Spanish Justice, and the Changing Landscape of Labour Rights

Posted Tuesday 10th October 2023

In recent years, the European Union’s directives and regulations, as interpreted by the EU Tribunal of Justice and adopted by the Spanish Justice system have brought about significant changes in previously contested aspects. This has led to the implementation of standards aimed at ensuring minimum levels of protection in all EU member countries, even in areas where Spanish employment laws and collective bargaining traditionally provided higher levels of protection.

A recent example is found in the Supreme Court rulings regarding employees who work offsite (for example maintaining services, transport and delivery companies). The Court has ruled that time spent travelling from their homes to the first point of work, and back home from the last location must be considered as part of the working day. This decision has far-reaching implications in terms of work productivity, costs, and can harm a company’s competitive position in its field of activity.

Similarly, there have been rulings concerning vacation pay. These rulings addressed situations in which workers experienced a significant reduction to their salary, sometimes reduced to near zero during their vacation period. This trend has permeated indiscriminately throughout Spanish jurisprudence, distorting the balances achieved in collective bargaining with significant increases in costs for companies.

To deal with these challenges successfully, it is essential to take a proactive management of labour relations. This entails crafting tailored (and imaginative, sometimes) solutions through agreements with union organizations that address specific treatment of these and other matters.

This article was written by Urbano Blanes, Blanes & Muñoz.

This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.