The month of December 2018 and the first few days of January 2019 have been particularly prolific with respect to labor innovations. Some of these innovations have been practically eclipsed, without having received the attention they deserve.
Reading this post will bring you fully up to date with the most important labor innovations in the last month and a half (for more information, click on the links):
- Organic Law 3/2018, of December 5, 2018 on personal data protection and the guarantee of digital rights acknowledges a worker’s right to privacy in the use of digital devices. Companies are authorized to access the content of digital devices in order to control compliance with labor obligations and ensure the integrity of such devices, provided they have previously established the criteria governing their use in conjunction with the workers’ representatives and with their knowledge.
The Law introduces the right to digital disconnection for the first time, which is subject to collective bargaining or an agreement with the workers’ representatives and must be specified in an internal policy in which worker representatives have participated that defines the forms of exercising the right to disconnection and training and the awareness of the reasonable use of technological tools.
The Law also regulates a worker’s right to privacy in the use of geo-location systems in a working environment and the use of video surveillance and sound recording devices in the workplace, as well as access to whistleblowing when disciplinary measures may be taken.
- Royal Decree-Law 20/2018, of December 7, on urgent measures to promote economic competitiveness in the Spanish industrial and trading sectors enables the manufacturing industry to apply the partial retirement regulations in force until Law Ley 27/2011, provided certain requirements are met.
The Law also states that the conditions for maintaining electricity-intensive industry subsidies require the maintaining of production activity for three years and, finally approves the 2019-2012 Emergency Employment Plan for Young People, with the aim of promoting the employment of young people, placing special importance on the quality of employment and groups of people with the greatest difficulties in finding a job.
- The Minimum Inter-professional Salary for 2019 has been established by Royal Decree 1462/2018, of December 21, 2018 as 900 euros per month, which is an increase of approximately 22% with respect to 2018.
- Royal Decree-Law 28/2018, of December 28, 2018, on the revaluation of public pensions and other urgent social, labor and employment measures increases contributory pensions by 1.6%, as well as the minimum contribution bases by around 22% (1,050 euros per month) and the maximum bases by 7% (4,070.10 euros per month). It also increases contribution rates for professional contingencies (office workers, for example, now contribute 1.5%, as opposed to 1% in the past), as well as contributions for temporary contracts and provides for the mandatory contribution for trainees (with the exclusion of unemployment benefits), even if they are not remunerated. In addition, the reduction of contributions for professional contingencies by companies that decrease the number of industrial accidents has been suspended and, as of March 31, the voluntary collaboration in the management of the financial benefit for sick leave due to common contingencies has been eliminated.
The term of the extraordinary unemployment subsidy has been declared as indefinite, protection against unemployment established for certain trainee and apprenticeship contracts and the application of regulations on early retirement prior to Law 27/2011 has been extended to certain groups.
From a labor and contracting perspective, the contracts and incentives linked to an unemployment rate below 15% have disappeared and the validity of mandatory retirement collective bargaining clauses recovered, provided the worker is entitled to a full ordinary pension and the measure is linked to coherent employment policy objectives.
For self-employed workers and independent contractors, the contribution bases have also been increased and certain coverage extended.
- Finally, Royal Decree-Law 26/2018, of December 28, 2018, passing urgent measures on artistic creation and cinematography, incorporates the possibility for public performing artists to continue in the Social Security General Regime (and therefore continue to contribute) on a voluntary basis during off-work periods, under certain conditions.
These labor innovations are not the only ones planned for 2019. We will soon become witness to new and important legal regulations relating to equal opportunity between men and women, conditions applying to the subcontracting of work, daily recording of working hours and the extended application of company collective bargaining agreements in the absence of a replacement, amongst other issues.