The Labour Ministry of Spain has recently published a Guide on how companies and employees should act in the workplace, in light of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. The most important points regulated in the Ministry Guide are the following:
I. Labour Risks Prevention
In this respect, companies have the obligation to provide information, at the earliest possible time, regarding the COVID-19 risks that exist, and to adopt organisational or preventive measures in order to avoid situations of social contact, at least temporarily, without the need to stop their business activities.
Additionally, the possibility of suspending work activities is foreseen in the event that there is a serious and imminent risk of COVID-19 infection in the workplace, at the initiative of either the company directly, its employees or their representatives, or from the prevention delegates.
Finally, companies are reminded that they have an obligation to guarantee the safety and health of the employees in their service, in all aspects related to work under their management, according to the Action Procedure for Occupational Risk Prevention Services against exposure to the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) that was published on 28 February 2020.
II. Labour Regulations
The Guide analyses the possibility of applying telework as an organisational measure, which can be adopted on a temporary and extraordinary basis.
It also foresees the possibility of reducing the working day or suspending, totally or partially, the company’s activity through a staff redundancy plan. This measure could be justified by organisational, technical or productive reasons, among them, the shortage or total lack of supply of elements or resources needed for the performance of the company’s activity as a result of the supplier companies having been affected by COVID-19, or because of a decrease in demand.
The Guide furthermore, indicates that the staff redundancy plan may be justified by a force majeure cause, for example, in the case of (i) absenteeism rates high enough to prevent the continuity of the company’s activity due to illness, precautionary medical measures of isolation, etc., and (ii) decisions of the Health Authority that recommend the closure of the business for precautionary reasons.
III. Civil Protection Emergency
Finally, the Guide provides information about the consequences of declaring an area as seriously affected by a civil protection emergency, in accordance with Law 17/2015, of 9 July of the National Civil Protection System.
To read the complete report (in Spanish) click here.
Suárez de Vivero attorneys are available to assist you with these and other workplace issues. For more information, visit https://suarezdevivero.com/
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