Coronavirus COVID-19

Council of Ministers approves recoverable paid leave for workers providing non-essential services

Moncloa Palace, La Moncloa, Sunday 29 March 2020

During this period of leave, workers will continue to receive their full remuneration, both their base salary and any extras they are entitled to.

Once this period ends, workers will gradually make up the hours for the days of leave to their companies.

Companies must negotiate with the workers' representatives, with the trade unions and with employees to find a way to make up the hours for these days of unpaid leave before 31 December 2020.

When these hours are made up, this must not, at any time, breach regulations on minimum periods of daily or weekly rest provided for by law, nor exceed the maximum number of annual hours worked as set in the appropriate collective bargaining agreement. The work/life balance, as recognised at law and by convention, should also be respected.

This is a flexible employment measure that seeks to maintain and safeguard jobs during the COVID-19 health crisis, avoiding situations of job insecurity and guaranteeing the subsequent re-establishment of economic activity.

The companies that must apply this paid leave may establish a skeleton workforce and shifts to continue to maintain essential activities.

The Royal Decree-Law approved by the government is mandatory, but contains exceptions. For example, it may not affect those workers already subject to an ERTE [temporary lay-off plan], unless this is for a shorter working day. Nor does it apply to those on sick leave or those whose contract has been suspended on other legal grounds, nor does it apply to those who carry on their professional activity from home.

In those cases in which it is impossible to immediately cease activity, the workers included in the scope of this Royal Decree-Law may render their services on Monday, 30 March 2020, with the sole aim of carrying out essential tasks in order to implement the recoverable paid leave without prejudicing in a disproportionate or irremediable fashion the subsequent resumption of the business activity.

Non official translation