Adaptation of working day, a measure to reconcile work and family life

The satisfaction of employees directly influences their productivity and performance, thus impacting the company’s success from both economic and human perspectives. For this reason, achieving a harmonious balance between work and family life is crucial for the functioning of a company, which should implement measures that foster it.

Until 2019, the law on work-life balance only allowed companies to request a reduction in working hours to care for a child or family member. However, following Royal Decree 6/2019 , article 34 of the Workers’ Statute extended the possibility of adapting the working day.

This modification has multiplied the number of employees’ requests to adjust their working hours, obliging companies to analyse their requests individually, reasoning and justifying their reasons for refusal to avoid lawsuits.

The adaptation of the working day

  • The adaptation of the working day must be based on one of the grounds set out in the labour legislation, such as the conciliation of work, family and personal life or a situation of disability, among others.
  • The company should establish a protocol for requesting working time adaptations and ensure that it informs employees about their rights and the necessary steps to follow when seeking a working time adaptation.
  • The company must ensure that the proposed adjustment will not negatively affect the operation of the company and that health and safety regulations are respected.
  • If the company does not accept the proposed adjustment, it must inform the employee in writing, explaining the reasons and offering alternatives.
  • The adaptation of the working day is a right of the employee and not a favour granted by the company, so the employee must be treated in a just and equal manner.

Procedure for processing an adjustment of working hours

  • The employee must request the company, preferably in writing, to adjust the working hours. The company analyses the proposal and negotiates it with the employee. The company has 30 days to do so.
  • The company communicates its decision in writing, stating its reasons, or makes a new proposal. There must always be a reply approving or denying the request. The absence of an answer will damage the company and may result in legal action being taken against it.

The outcome of the application

If the company refuses the employee’s request, it must explain and justify its reasons.

If there is no agreement, the mechanism in Article 139 of the Law regulating Social Jurisdiction is opened. It consists of filing a lawsuit within 20 working days of the company’s refusal or after the established 30 days have elapsed without a reply from the company.

Measures to promote work-family Conciliation

The company may consider implementing measures to promote the conciliation of work and family life:

  • The possibility of teleworking
  • Flexible working hours
  • Facilitating the process of maternity and paternity leave.
  • Social benefits: psychologist, nursery service, gym, etc.

Ángela Ramírez

For additional information regarding the adaptation of the working day in Spain,

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice.

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