Among the most relevant regulatory updates in Spain throughout 2023, there have been a series of amendments to the Workers' Statute and the General Social Security Law, as well as the introduction of new laws, with significant practical impact for the companies' Human Resources departments.
Within the most noteworthy, the following changes deserve special attention:
- Force majeure leave, in the event of needing to leave work due to emergencies related to illness or accident of family members or persons who live with the employee, and which require their immediate presence. Pay is only provided for up to the equivalent of 4 days per year.
- Unpaid parental leave of up to 8 continuous or fractioned weeks, full or part-time, until the child turns 8 years old.
- Direct system of communication of sick leave start, extension and end reports, which are sent directly by the Social Security to the company (after the employee’s attendance to the corresponding doctor). The communications are carried out electronically, without any employee intervention.
- Express acknowledgement of sick leave in the following situations:
- Disabling secondary menstruation, with entitlement to Social Security benefits from the first day of sick leave.
- Miscarriage or abortion, with the right to receive full salary paid by the company on the 1st day of sick leave, and Social Security benefits from the second day onwards.
- From the first day of the 39th week of pregnancy onwards, with the right to receive full salary paid by the company on the 1st day of sick leave, and Social Security benefits from the second day onwards.
- Companies with 50 or more employees are obliged to implement a whistleblowing channel under the terms and with the guarantees established by Law 2/2023, of 20 February, that regulates the protection of persons who report breaches of regulations and the fight against corruption.
- Reform of the pensions system, with a wide range of updates. Among others: inclusion of interns in the Social Security system; gradual increase of the maximum contribution base; "solidarity fee"; increase by one tenth per year of the intergenerational equity mechanism contribution rate; guarantee of the revaluation of pensions according to the CPI; increase of minimum pensions; new dual regime to calculate the relevant period for retirement access purposes.
These updates have already begun to raise challenges in their implementation by Human Resources departments, and it is foreseeable that they will require pronouncements from the Courts and Tribunals on some of the points that are most open to interpretation.
With thanks to Associate Cristina Isern, author of this article.
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