Spain expands family leave benefits this year with the passage of the Royal Decree-Law 5/2023 on June 28, which modified articles of the Workers’ Statute and became effective on June 30. These modifications include strengthening the right to conciliation, creating a new parental leave framework, extending certain paid leave, adapting working hours to care for children or disabled people, and extending the law’s application to unmarried couples.
Right to non-discrimination
Reasons for non-discrimination include disability, and sex discrimination includes unfavorable treatment of women or men for exercising the rights to reconcile or co-responsibility for family and work life.
Right to adapt working hours to care for family
Requests for an adaptation to the workday schedule now extend to employees caring for:
- Children over 12
- The spouse or common-law partner
- Blood relatives up to the second degree and other dependents who live in the same domicile and who, for age, accident, or illness, cannot fend for themselves
Likewise, the negotiation process for adapting working hours is shortened. From now on, it will be 15 days instead of 30, presuming its concession if there is no express reasoned opposition from the company within this period.
Right to reduce working hours to care for family
There are modifications that include working hour reductions for those who need to take care of a relative up to the second degree of consanguinity of the spouse or common-law partner, including the blood relative of the de facto couple, provided that there were no relatives by direct consanguinity up to the second degree.
The right to reducing working hours is extended for the care of children or dependents with disabilities who are under 26 years of age and who have cancer or another serious illness when the degree of disability exceeds 65%, provided that this condition is accredited before reaching age 23.
Paid leave of absence from work
The scope of family members given the right to leave work with pay is extended, as well as the length of certain leaves.
- 15 calendar days in case of marriage and the registration of de facto partnership.
- 5 days for serious accident or illness, hospitalization, or surgical intervention without hospitalization that requires home rest of the spouse, common-law partner, or relatives up to the second degree by consanguinity (blood relative) or affinity, including the blood relative of the common-law partner, as well as any other person other than the above, who lives with the worker in the same home and who requires the effective care of the former.
- 2 days for the death of the spouse, common-law partner, or relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity. When, for this reason, the worker needs to make a displacement for this purpose, the term will be extended by 2 days.
- 4 days to be absent from work due to force majeure, when necessary for urgent family reasons related to family members or cohabitants, in case of illness or accident that makes their immediate presence indispensable. These hours of absence must be paid when they do not exceed 4 days a year.
New 8-week parental leave
A new article establishes that workers will be entitled to parental leave of a maximum of 8 weeks, continuous or discontinuous, for the care of a son, daughter, or minor fostered for more than one year until the moment in which the minor turns 8 years old.
- This leave may be taken full-time or part-time and constitutes an individual right of workers, men or women so that its exercise cannot be transferred from one parent to the other.
- The worker must specify the start and end date of the enjoyment and must notify the company 10 days in advance (or that is specified by collective agreements), except for force majeure.
The employment contract may be suspended due to parental leave. The suspension exonerates the reciprocal obligations to work and remunerates the work so that the leave is unpaid.
Alternative plan to promote co-responsibility
When two employees in the same company wish to reduce their working hours simultaneously for reasons like breastfeeding, childbirth, adoption, adopting custody, foster care, or taking a leave of absence for up to two years, the company must provide a written explanation if they want to limit this right. The company should present valid and clear reasons for the limitation based on its operational needs. Additionally, the company should propose an alternative plan that guarantees both employees the opportunity to balance their work-life responsibilities and exercise their rights to work-life balance.
If there is only one parent, they can still receive the two-week extension typically granted to families with two parents in cases where the contract is suspended to care for a disabled child at birth, adoption, custody for adoption, foster care, or multiple births.
This article about Spain expanding family leave benefits is provided by SARE, Asinta’s benefits consulting Partner in Spain. If you need support with your employee benefits in Spain, please contact Asinta, and we will put you in touch with the local experts at SARE.