employee rights under Covid-19

WHAT ARE YOUR EMPLOYEE RIGHTS UNDER COVID-19?

In addition to the work permits that may be applicable under the collective agreement applicable in each company or other types of collective agreements, or those that may be issued by the government in the coming days, these are some of the rights that could be exercised by employees in the context of COVID-19:

Adaptation of working hours

Employee rights under COVID-19 could request, in accordance with Article 34.8 of the ET:

  • An adaptation of the duration and distribution of the working day; 
  • A reorganisation of working time that includes the possibility of working at a distance, with the objective of reconciling work and personal life. These adaptations must be reasonable and proportionate to the needs of the employee and the organisational or productive needs of the enterprise.

However, unless the company immediately accepts the request by agreement with the worker in the light of the COVID-19 recommendations, it will be necessary to open a negotiation process for a maximum period of 30 days, which may seem unreasonable in view of the imminent closure of schools in different regions of Spain.

At the end of the negotiation period, the company shall inform the applicant employee in writing of: 

  1. the acceptance of the request; 
  2. an alternative proposal; or 
  3. that the request has not been accepted. In the latter case, the objective reasons on which such decision is based shall be stated.
  4. Reduction of working time

Alternatively, employees rights may request a reduction in their working hours for childcare (under 12 years of age), although such a measure would involve a proportional reduction in salary.

In these cases, the request must be made to the company with 15 days’ notice. However, in cases of force majeure such notice could be excluded. In this sense, the closure of the educational centers as a consequence of the COVID-19 could be understood as a case of force majeure.

 Employee rights under Covid-19 :Paid leave

There are precedents of employees who have recently requested paid leave for the time necessary to fulfil an inexcusable public and personal duty.

However, unless the company accepts it as a measure to encourage or allow family reconciliation, we understand that the cases derived from the COVID-19 could not fit within this type of permit.

In any case, as mentioned above, there may be other types employee rights for paid leave in accordance with the provisions of each applicable collective agreement or collective bargaining agreement that may apply. Likewise, the government has announced that new types of paid leave could be implemented in the coming days as a result of COVID-19.

 

Personal belongings of COVID-19 infected employees. What are the recommendations?

Additionally to the employee rights under COVID-19, below are some of the protocols that the company should follow regarding the personal belongings of employees who come into contact with or are infected by COVID-19:

  1. If the workplace has a kitchen or canteen area, no disinfection precautions need to be taken, only that things are washed with hot water and regular detergents or by washing in the dishwasher with a full cycle of hot water.
  2. In the case of working or similar uniforms, they shall be bagged and closed, and moved to the point where they are usually washed, it being recommended that they not be shaken and that they be washed with a complete cycle at a temperature of between 60 and 90 degrees.

Any specific queries regarding the measures for the prevention and control of the transmission of the infection must be addressed to the corresponding prevention services.