COVID-19: Remote work & relevant labor documentation in Spain

Remote work in Spain has increased exponentially as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.  According to the Labour Force Survey (Encuesta de Población Activa), in 2019, only 8.3% of employees were working from home at least occasionally. However,  in May of this year, the Bank of Spain released a report on remote work in Spain and among companies surveyed by the bank, 80% were working remotely. Aside from this immense increase in companies suddenly having to navigate a new reality of remote work, there have been a number of changes and updates to labor agreements that multinational companies with offices and employees in Spain should be familiar with.

What you need to know

At Docuten, we are committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19, and the health and safety of our staff come first. Our entire team has been working remotely since March. Due to the nature of our work, as well as the fact that Docuten has offices in various locations and remote work policies were in place prior to the pandemic, it has been a smooth transition.  

At the beginning stages of this health crisis, we shared what we’ve learned about the best remote working tools as well as positive company initiatives that have worked well for our team. As policies and procedures in Spain have evolved these past few months, certain labor documentation has become relevant that many international companies with employees in Spain are not well versed in. Below, we explain what you need to know and provide templates of the forms you may need. 

What is a Remote Work Agreement in Spain?

As a result of labor market reforms carried out by Law 3/2012, of July 6, the concept of remote work, or teletrabajo, is regulated by article 13 of the 2015 Workers’ Statute. Remote work can be defined as a way of performing job duties largely outside a company’s main place of work, with heavy reliance on computer technologies and/or telecommunication tools. It is understood as a different way of organising and executing work, distinct from the traditional model.

While many companies were forced to all of a sudden implement remote working arrangements however they could at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, as time has passed, businesses are reevaluating modes of working and beginning to establish permanent remote work policies. As a result, more and more companies in Spain are drawing up Remote Working Agreements, or Acuerdos de Teletrabajo, that formalise the parameters and conditions of work. This protects both the employee and the company from misunderstandings or abuses.

We have created a template that can serve as the basis for such an agreement for your employees in Spain.

Download a free Remote Work Agreement template in Spanish.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Docuten makes this template available to interested parties to make it easier for companies to adapt the document to their particular circumstances. Docuten is not responsible for the adequacy or suitability of its contents regarding how an interested party elects to use it. Reviewing and adapting it accordingly is recommended, if applicable.

What is an ERTE?

When Spain first faced lockdown measures, companies found themselves in difficult circumstances regarding their employees, and often with tough decisions to make.  Putting employees on ERTE, or Expediente de Regulación Temporal de Empleo, was one such measure that many companies were forced to take. Through an ERTE, a company can temporarily suspend one or more employment contracts or reduce the working hours of employees. 

Financially speaking, this gives companies some degree of breathing room since they don’t have to pay the salaries of workers on ERTE, but don’t have to fire them either. While an employee is on ERTE, he or she receives partial pay through government funds.

Companies are required to officially inform workers if they decide to enact an ERTE.

What is a Vacation Time Agreement?

One method used by companies to avoid layoffs or putting employees on ERTE was to come to an agreement with workers that they would take vacation time. 

Under such circumstances, it is advisable to sign a Vacation Time Agreement with employees that outlines mutual consent between the company and the worker and reflects the agreed upon dates. We have created a template that can serve as the basis for such an agreement for your employees in Spain.

Download a free Vacation Time Agreement template in Spanish.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Docuten makes this template available to interested parties to make it easier for companies to adapt the document to their particular circumstances. Docuten is not responsible for the adequacy or suitability of its contents regarding how an interested party elects to use it. Reviewing and adapting it accordingly is recommended, if applicable.

What is a Mobility Document?

During the state of alarm (estado de alarma) in Spain, companies that continued in-person business activity were obligated to issue a Mobility Document, or salvoconducto, to any worker that had to travel to his or her place of work sine qua non. As such, employees could travel freely for work-related reasons and justify their movements to law enforcement if needed.

We have created a template that can serve as the basis for such a document for your employees in Spain.

Download a free Mobility Document template in Spanish that has been modeled after the example published in Ordinance SND/307/2020 of the Official State Gazette in Spain (Boletín Oficial del Estado or BOE).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Docuten makes this template available to interested parties to make it easier for companies to adapt the document to their particular circumstances. Docuten is not responsible for the adequacy or suitability of its contents regarding how an interested party elects to use it. Reviewing and adapting it accordingly is recommended, if applicable.

Managing documentation

The sending and the signing of these documents can be done completely remotely. Plus, it’s totally legal to manage this paperwork digitally when you use a digital signature provider that meets the criteria outlined in the European Regulation eIDAS. Documents can be sent digitally the same way you would send certified mail, and digitally signed documents have the same legal validity as those with handwritten signatures.

At Docuten, our platform enables you to handle these processes digitally, certifying the sending and signing of documents with full legality. Many of our clients already use our platform to send this type of documentation. Your employees in Spain only need to have a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer to receive and sign these documents.

Take a look at our Youtube channel to find out more about how our different digital signature solutions work. You can also get in touch with our Customer Service or Sales teams at 981 269 685 or atencionalcliente@docuten.com.

Notes

1. Regarding the term remote work: There is sometimes a distinction made between remote work and telework, or teletrabajo. The former suggests that the employee lives outside the geographic region where the company is located, and the latter can be understood to mean that the employee may engage in some on-site work. However, these terms are frequently used interchangeably, as is done here.

2. Regarding the concept of a Mobility Document: In international law, a safe conduct pass is typically used in times of conflict where one party grants such a document to a member of the opposing party to be able to enter its territory without repercussions. However, during the COVID lockdown in Spain, the term salvoconducto was used to refer to a document issued by employers so employees could travel without risk.

Sources

  • https://www.bde.es/bde/es/secciones/informes/boletines/articulos-analit/
  • https://guiasjuridicas.wolterskluwer.es/Content/Documento.aspx?params=H4sIAAAAAAAEAMtMSbF1jTAAAUMTYyMTtbLUouLM_DxbIwMDCwNzAwuQQGZapUt-ckhlQaptWmJOcSoA3aQM-jUAAAA=WKE
  • https://www.workflexibility.org/remote-work-vs-telecommute-whats-the-difference/#:~:text=Remote%20work%20implies%20that%20the,being%20done%20by%20the%20worker.