Spain introduces new working hours law requiring employees to clock in and out

The latest Spanish labour law means workers have to punch in and out / Alan Cleaver/Flickr
The latest Spanish labour law means workers have to punch in and out / Alan Cleaver/Flickr
17 June 2019, Redaction

On 12th May, a new law came into force in Spain requiring companies to keep a daily record of the working hours of their employees. The Spanish Ministry of Labour has assured that there will be no sanctions for business that don’t immediately comply with the working hours directive as long as they can show that negotiations are still underway with the workers on how to implement it. Here is an overview of the new Spanish labour law for recording all employees’ working hours.

What the law says about the new rules:

1. The company is obliged record the daily working hours of all its workers. This record must include the start and end times of the workday. Example templates are available for these records at the end of this article, but the employer should make sure that their document does not come with example data or references to standard schedules which may not apply to their specific business. The template must be empty, or else it might be understood that the employee is being forced to work those hours.

The purpose of this new labour law is to make clear what overtime workers are doing. In the process, it will also be a record of what interruptions there are in the employees’ workday, such as lunchtime and other breaks that are not considered effective working time.

2. As for how the registration system will work, the law does not establish any obligation for the use of one system or another. It has left the nitty-gritty to collective bargaining, reasoning that it will be regulated in the collective labour agreements of each profession (convenios colectivos). If there is no such regulation in the collective agreements, a decision will be made by the employer after consultation with the legal representatives of the workers, if such representation exists in the company, e.g. a trade union.

For the rest of the companies, they must opt for the system they consider most suitable for their activity, although if there is a Workers' Committee or Personnel Delegates, they must be consulted beforehand.

In any case, said registration system, whichever one is chosen, must guarantee the authenticity and integrity of the working times register. In those cases in which the clocking in and clocking out must be carried out by means of geolocation systems because of the specific nature of the job, the right to privacy of persons and the personal and digital data of the worker must be respected.

3. The company must keep these daily records on file for four years, and they will remain at the disposal of any workers who request it, as well as the legal representatives of the workers, and the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate.

This rule does not, however, have a direct effect on the employee's salary. It only serves as a system of control and will allow inspectors to have a better grasp on company hours, but it will not directly influence employee payrolls. Payment for working overtime in Spain must be negotiated in the contract and justified using this mandatory recording of working hours.

Some important rules to remember

  • There must be a gap of at least twelve hours between the end of one working day and the beginning of the next.
  • Companies that fail to comply with the mandatory registration law will be fined for each employee whose hours they are not recording. But don't panic: at the moment there will be no sanctions for non-compliance. The Labour Inspectorate does not plan to launch a specific follow-up campaign either, but in order to pave the way, and given the scale of the change that will have to take place within many companies, it will give more scope for this change to be negotiated as long as necessary between employers and their employees.
  • The fines, when they do eventually come into effect, can go from 626 euro for a light infraction up to 6,250 euro if it is serious.
  • This record of hours applies to any employee of any company regardless of how many hours they work and at what time, or whether they work from home or in the actual place of business.
  • This law does not apply to self-employed workers.

Free templates for recording working hours in Spain

Here are some free templates of the forms that you can use in your business to keep track of employees’ working hours. They are split into two types – those for working days with a lunch break of an hour or more, which is the most typical type of work contract in Spain, and is a type of split shift known as the ‘jornada partida’; and those for working days with a shorter break of about 15 minutes, or no break at all, known in Spanish as the ‘jornada continua’.

Template for recording working hours for a daily split shift with signature

Template for recording working hours for a daily split shift without a signature

Template for recording working hours for a continuous shift with signature

Template for recording working hours for a continuous shift without a signature

Template for recording working hours with a monthly summary

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