Changes to employment law regulation on gender equality and working time in Spain

SPAIN - Changes to employment law regulation on gender equality and working time in Spain

June 2019

Where it was previously mandatory to carry out an Equality Plan for companies that have 249 or more employees in Spain, legislation has now changed so that companies with 50 or more employees will now have to carry out the Equality plan also.

There will be a transition period of three years for companies to accommodate this:

  • March 2020: Companies with a headcount between 151 and 249 employees
  • March 2021: Companies with a headcount between 101 and 150 employees
  • March 2022: Companies with a headcount between 50 and 100 employees

As part of the Equality Plan, it is mandatory to compile a remuneration registry and a remuneration audit. Companies are also obliged to provide the workers’ representatives with a remuneration registry report on an annual basis and employees are entitled to consult this registry through workers’ representatives.

For companies with 50 or more employees, if the remuneration of employees of one gender is at least 25% higher than the remuneration of the other gender, the employer must justify that those salary differences are not based on a discrimination.

Following a transition period of three years, paternity leave will be increased to have the same duration as maternity leave. The transition period is as follows:

  • 2019: 8 weeks of leave
  • 2020: 12 weeks of leave
  • 2021: 16 weeks of leave

As the application of this transition period may be complex, it would be best to carry this out on a case by case basis.

Breastfeeding leave has also been extended to 12 months if both parents request it in the same conditions and for the same period. A new social security benefit for this situation has been established.

Contractual termination during the trial period of a pregnant employee might be considered null and void, except in cases where the company can provide evidence of non-discriminatory grounds for the termination.

The right to reduce working time due to childcare responsibilities is modified: from now on the employee is entitled to adapt and distribute his/her working time, including telework. In case of discrepancies, a new negotiation procedure is mandatory for both parties.

The employer must carry out a daily record of working time, specifically including the starting and finishing time of each employee. This working time registry must be saved for four years.

Please note that Data Protection Regulations shall tie in with this regulation so that employer obligations and employees’ rights are carefully balanced.

Raquel De La Vina

Nieves Arias