Royal Decree-Law 5/2019, of March 1, 2019, adopts a number of contingency measures in light of a potential no-deal regarding the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union on March 30, 2019, including labor and social security measures.

The Royal Decree-Law seeks to adopt measures to adapt Spanish legislation in order to deal with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. There follows a summary of the main labor and social security measures.

In order to avoid an irregular residency status scenario, a specific regime has been created for the documentation, as third-country citizens, of UK nationals and their family members who are resident in Spain prior to the withdrawal date. Provision is also made for access by UK nationals resident in Spain and their family members to long-term residency permits where they have been legally resident in Spain on a continuous basis for at least five years.

UK nationals will also be permitted to continue exercising on a permanent basis in Spain any profession or professional activity for which their professional qualifications were previously recognized.

Companies set up in Spain which, on the withdrawal date, have workers on temporary postings in the UK should continue to apply the UK legislation transposing EU Directive 96/71/EC for the duration of the posting. This provision will only apply if reciprocal treatment is recognized.

European works committees and alternative information and consultation procedures created or agreed by Community-scale companies and groups of companies that involve UK companies or workers and that are centrally managed in Spain will remain in force.

The social security measures will apply for a period of 21 months following the withdrawal of the UK, unless an applicable bilateral or multilateral international instrument is adopted beforehand as regards coordination of the Spanish and UK social security systems. The most notable measures include:

  • UK nationals who, following the withdrawal of the UK, legally reside and work in Spain and are subject to Spanish social security legislation will have the same rights and obligations as Spanish nationals. Equally, UK nationals subject to UK social security legislation, by application of EU social security regulations, will be able to maintain such status until the end of the envisaged period, provided the competent British authorities recognize a reciprocal arrangement for Spanish workers.
  • Spanish nationals legally living and working in the UK or Gibraltar on the withdrawal date and subject to Spanish legislation by application of EU social security regulations will continue to be subject to Spanish legislation until the end of the envisaged period, if a reciprocal arrangement is agreed by the competent British authorities.
  • UK pensioners under the Spanish social security system who are living outside Spain at the time of withdrawal will continue to receive their contributory pensions and, as the case may be, any related increases after that date.
  • Equally, Spanish pensioners under the Spanish social security system who are living in the UK or Gibraltar at the time of withdrawal will continue to receive their contributory pensions and, as the case may be, any related increases.
  • Pension aggregation mechanisms are also regulated, subject to a reciprocal arrangement, as well as rules on access to health care under the Spanish national health system by persons entitled to health care in the UK or Gibraltar.

The legislation will enter into force on the date that the EU treaties cease to apply to the UK in accordance with the provisions of article 50.3 of the Treaty on European Union.

Once two months have elapsed following its entry into force, the measures regulated in the legislation will be suspended, if so expressly provided, if the competent British authorities do not grant reciprocal treatment to Spanish individuals and legal entities in each of the affected areas.

The full content of the Royal Decree-Law can be found here:

https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2019/03/02/pdfs/BOE-A-2019-2976.pdf