On June 30, the new work permits established by Royal Decree-law 5/2023, of June 28, published in the Official State Gazette (BOE), came into effect. This decree introduces additional measures to promote the reconciliation of family and professional life for parents and caregivers, and also modifies the Workers’ Statute.
Among the changes, the incorporation of a new paid “force majeure” permit by hours, an increase in sick leave or accident days, and an update to the spousal bereavement leave stand out.
5-day permit for accidents or illness and 2 days for spousal bereavement
Among the provisions approved by the government, there is a paid annual benefit of five days for emergency situations such as accidents, serious illness, hospitalization, or non-hospital surgical procedures that require rest at home. This permit can be requested for relatives up to the second degree or for people living with the employee.
Section 3 of Article 37 of the Workers’ Statute has been modified to incorporate these new measures. A new clause, b bis), has been added, and the existing clauses a) and b) have been modified. These clauses are now worded as follows:
- a) Fifteen consecutive days in the case of marriage or registered partnership.
- b) Five days for serious accidents or illness, hospitalization, or non-hospital surgical procedures that require rest at home for the spouse, registered partner, or relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity. This also applies to consanguineous relatives of the registered partner, as well as to any other person living with the employee in the same household who requires effective care.
b bis) Two days for the death of the spouse, registered partner, or relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity. If the employee needs to travel due to this reason, the period will be extended by two days.
It is important to take into account the conditions and requirements established in the Law to request and make use of these permits.
Hourly permits for urgent childcare reasons
This is a “force majeure” permit that can be distributed by hours and allows workers to be absent from work in cases of urgent or unexpected family reasons. This permit, which will be paid, can accumulate a total of up to 4 days per year for each worker.
According to the regulations, “the worker has the right to be absent from work due to force majeure when it is necessary for urgent family reasons related to relatives or cohabiting persons, in cases of illness or accidents that require their immediate presence.
Workers have the right to have the hours of absence for the reasons stated in this section compensated, up to four days per year, in accordance with what is established in the collective agreement or, failing that, in an agreement between the company and the legal representation of the workers, providing, if applicable, proof of the reason for the absence.”
These provisions allow workers to have paid time off to deal with unforeseen or emergency situations that require their immediate presence in family matters.
8-week parental leave
Likewise, a special leave of up to 8 weeks has been approved for the care of minor children, which can be used continuously or intermittently, full-time or part-time, until the children reach 8 years of age.
Parental leave is established in the new Article 48 bis ET and allows workers to take care of their children over one year of age during this period.
This leave is an individual and non-transferable right, and the start and end dates must be communicated to the company at least ten days in advance or as specified in collective agreements.
In cases of force majeure, the communication can be expedited. Additionally, the company may postpone the leave for a reasonable period in situations where two or more workers invoke the same right for the same child, or in cases that seriously affect its proper functioning, justifying these reasons in writing and offering a flexible alternative.
Leave for registered domestic partnership
The decree incorporates a proposal that was also present in the Family Law, whereby registered domestic partnerships are entitled to 15 days of leave upon registration, just like marriages.
Consequently, section a) of point 3 of Article 37 of the Workers’ Statute is modified as follows:
“The worker, after prior notice and justification, may be absent from work with the right to remuneration for any of the following reasons and during the following period of time: a) Fifteen consecutive days in the case of marriage or registration of a domestic partnership.”
Expansion of flexible working arrangements
The decree also includes an expansion of flexible working arrangements for workers with dependents under their care. This measure applies to individuals who demonstrate caregiving responsibilities towards children over 12 years of age, spouses or registered partners, relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity of the worker, as well as other dependents who live in the same household and are unable to care for themselves. In case the company refuses, it must justify its opposition or, if applicable, offer an alternative solution.
You can read the full decree with all the measures:
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