Avalanche of calls for to adapt lowered working hours and new conciliation measures: “It's a tsunami” | Economy | EUROtoday

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Family conciliation
A mom helps her son do schoolwork.Juan Algar (Getty)

The Supreme Court has just lately decided that the employee's proper to scale back his working hours to care for youngsters or members of the family doesn’t indicate that, if he works his shift in shifts, he can even select the time through which he works his lowered hours. In the opinion of this court docket, to decide on the shift, the worker should resort to article 38.4 of the Workers' Statute which, since 2019, features a new proper of workers to request “adaptations to the duration and distribution of the working day and its ordination.” These schedule changes are among the many conciliation novelties, amongst which there are additionally new permits, that are triggering requests in firms and lawsuits in court docket when firms don’t settle for these requests. “It is a real tsunami,” says Ignacio del Fraile, Labor associate on the Gómez-Acebo & Pombo regulation agency.

“The adaptations to working hours and other conciliation measures—such as the latest approved work permits—are generating thousands of requests from workers that are collapsing the human resources departments of companies,” says Del Fraile. Furthermore, one other of the Labor companions of this agency, Carlos de la Torre, assures that “there is clearly a tendency to judicialize these conflicts of interest” between firms and staff when an settlement will not be reached. These discrepancies are resolved both internally inside firms, in mediation and arbitration companies or, as a final resort, within the courts, provides this labor skilled. Specifically, the growth of labor rights can also be producing “more and more lawsuits in the courts for indirect discrimination due to obstacles to conciliation,” says De la Torre.

This enhance in requests and calls for for adaptation of the working day happens, in line with Daniel Cifuentes, associate at Laboral de Pérez-Llorca, after initially, after this proper was accredited within the regulation, firms denied quite a few requests, so the employees stopped demanding them. However, in these first instances that reached the courts, judges started to deal with instances of adaptation of working time as these of discount of working hours, that are endowed with larger authorized safety of the employee, who has the suitable to mentioned reduce and even his dismissal is null and void – now solely the actual fact of getting requested a discount in working hours is grounds for invalidating the dismissal, it’s not vital for the employee to be having fun with it, Gómez-Acebo factors out.

In view of those judicial pronouncements through which the safety of those that benefit from the adaptation of the working day was bolstered, these requests have elevated once more just lately, in line with Cifuentes, who assures that “if it is the worker who proves his circumstances to adapt “The day has turn into the corporate that has to justify the the reason why, the place applicable, this measure will not be granted.” However, “what is not being seen so frequently is the possibility of adapting the day through teleworking as also provided by law; although it is beginning to be a growing trend,” adds this labor activist.

In fact, the professor of Labor Law at the Complutense University and consultant at the AbdónPedrajas Littler firm, Jesús Lahera, concludes that “there has been an important transfer of reductions to adjustments to working hours.”

In general, last year the Social Courts received 463,294 new judicial matters, which was 5.4% more than in 2022. The saturation of the courts, among other reasons, caused the number of resolved matters to be at 397,692, 7.7% less than the previous year, while the number of matters in process increased by 16.1% to total 426,075. Even so, issues related to conciliation are only part of all these lawsuits, which also include dismissals, claims for amounts or non-compliance with Social Security.

The new permissions

The other package of conciliation measures that is generating requests from employees in companies and lawsuits in the courts, although to a lesser extent, are the new work permits, among which are the five days for caring for family members, the four-day leave days due to force majeure or eight weeks unpaid parental leave. In this case, the courts are also clarifying its practical application. Recently, the National Court has established, for example, that leave to care for family members must be taken in five business days, not calendar days, unless the company or the agreement increases those days of leave, in which case they could be natural days.

At this point, labor activists agree that there are still numerous gaps in the enjoyment of these new permits, such as the conditions for accreditation of force majeure or how hospitalization permits and family care permits match each other. As for parental leave, “since it is not paid, it is not being requested, but when it is paid, as the Government has promised, there will be an explosion,” these experts predict.

More restructurings this year

From the Gómez-Acebo & Pombo office they are also detecting that both in the Human Resources departments and in the courts, the labor adjustments that companies are planning or already carrying out are increasing. And specifically, they target sectors such as call centertechnology, retail or the financial sector as the areas where such resizing of staff can occur the most.

“We do see more restructuring movements this year, above all, in the face of possible regulatory changes in the immediate future that could make layoffs more expensive,” says Del Fraile in reference to the imminent resolution of the Council of Europe —in response to two demands, first from UGT and after CC OO—which could determine that the Spanish legislation on dismissal is not sufficiently dissuasive or reparatory, which would surely lead the Government to modify and make more expensive, in some cases, the current regulation of compensation received by workers who are fired.

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