The Supreme Court judgement of 23 March 2017 has clarified that companies are only obliged to keep a record of overtime hours (article 35 of the Workers’ Statute). Companies therefore no longer need to control the ordinary working day using methods like clocking on or off from work unless there is a specific regulation governing working hours, such as in the rail sector.
This new ruling leaves without effect the former judgement of the Spanish National Court of 4 December 2015, where the Court ruled on the petition concerning whether or not it is mandatory to establish a system for logging the effective days worked by the workforce, making it possible to confirm due compliance with the agreed schedules.
The Court understood that the daily log, with the subsequent delivery of the daily working summaries for each worker, was the key element in controlling excess working hours and thus it is mandatory to establish said registration system.
Spanish Royal Decree-Law 9/2017, of May 26, which transposes European Union directives on financial, trade and healthcare areas, and on the displacement of workers
The transposition of the EU Directive on matters of worker displacement has two clear purposes:
The first is to establish a more comprehensive and operative system of penalties.
The second is to create the requirement for the designation of two items:
· The physical or legal entity in Spain that is designated by the company as its representative to serve as an intermediary with the competent Spanish authorities and for sending and receiving documents or notifications, when necessary.
· The person that can act in Spain in representation of the company providing services in procedures for informing and consulting workers, and in negotiations, which affect workers that have moved to Spain.
Spanish Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo): Companies can change break times if not most beneficial condition
In this important judgement, the Supreme Court ruled that the fact that a company ‘tolerates’ a coffee break at a certain time during a work shift does not mean that it is consolidated benefit, so not considering it as ‘effective work’ does not entail a substantial modification to working conditions.
The court found that a company can unilaterally and without union agreement, where applicable, adapt the distribution of the working day so that the hours stated in the collective bargaining agreement are worked.
In the case covered by the Supreme Court, eliminating the coffee break meant that the employees would have worked 6.75 hours overtime. The solution proposed by the company was for each employee to take this time off whenever they felt was most convenient, after seeking the company's approval.
The company’s decision, which was rejected by a lower court, was finally upheld by the Supreme Court.