Since the declaration of the State of Alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19, the government has been adopting several measures in relation to limiting the mobility of people, as well as social and economic activities, in order to contain the advance of the pandemic.
The last of these containment measures is covered by Royal Decree 10/2020 of March 29th, by which the Government established that all workers who provide services, as employees, in public and private companies and institutions, whose activity has not been paralysed as a result of the State of Alarm, will have to take a compulsory recoverable paid leave period between March 30th and April 9th 2020, both inclusive.
This compulsory leave means that, despite not going to work, the workers will continue to receive their salaries normally, although they will have to make up the hours not worked once the State of Alarm is lifted, in the manner to be agreed with the company according to the established negotiation procedure.
The Royal Decree exempts from this compulsory leave period workers who:
- provide services in the sectors described as essential in the Annex to the rule.
- provide services in the divisions or production lines whose activity corresponds to sectors described as essential in the aforementioned Annex.
- are hired by (i) those companies that requested or are applying a temporary regulation of employment file of suspension and (ii) those that are authorized a temporary regulation of employment file of suspension during the validity of the recoverable leave.
- are on temporary disability leave or whose contract is suspended for other legally stipulated reasons.
- can continue to carry out their activity normally by means of teleworking or any of the remote modalities of rendering services.
Likewise, it is provided that the companies that have to apply the recoverable paid leave may, if necessary, establish the minimum number of staff or shifts that are strictly necessary in order to maintain the indispensable activity. This activity and this minimum number of staff or shifts will be based on the activity carried out during an ordinary weekend or public holidays.
In those cases where it is impossible to interrupt immediately the activity, the employees covered by this rule may provide services on Monday, March 30th 2020 for the sole purpose of carrying out essential duties to enable the recoverable paid leave without irremediably or disproportionately damaging the restart of the business activity.
The sectors identified as essential in the Annex to the Royal Decree are as follows:
- Retail establishments of food, beverage, pharmacy, medical, optical and orthopaedic, hygiene products, press and stationery, gas stations, tobacco, technological and telecommunication equipment, pet food, dry cleaning and laundry
- Internet, telephone or courier (including delivery)
- Home hairdressing service
- Hotels and restaurants in terms of home delivery services
- Supply of electricity, petroleum products and natural gas
- Critical Infrastructure and Essential Businesses and Service Providers
- Judges, prosecutors, lawyers of the Administration of Justice and other personnel-related to this service will attend to the non-suspended procedural actions.
- Public administration services essential to their performance, including works, services, supplies and maintenance and security of public buildings
- The supply chain of basic commodities, including food, drinks, animal feed, hygiene products, medicines, sanitary and pharmaceutical products, from the origin to the sale in the establishment
- Transport of persons and goods and the activities related to ensuring this transport for the cases in force during the state of alarm
- Law enforcement, correctional institutions, sea rescue, civil protection, rescue and firefighting services, mine and traffic safety and road safety
- Armed Forces
- Private Security
- Centres, services and establishments for health, elderly, minors, dependent and disabled persons
- The staff of research centres of projects related to the COVID19
- Funeral services
- Animal health care centres, services and establishments
- Press sales
- Public and private media, including printing and distribution
- Financial, banking and insurance services
- Telecommunication and audio-visual companies and essential computer services, including those necessary for the development of public services and their telework
- Essential protection and care services for victims of gender-based violence
- Lawyers, solicitors, social graduates, translators, interpreters and psychologists attending non-suspended procedural proceedings
- Legal advice, administrative and social graduate management and prevention of occupational hazards, in urgent matters
- Notary and registry staff for the essential services
- Cleaning, maintenance, emergency repairs and surveillance services
- Management and collection of hazardous waste, urban waste, wastewater treatment, decontamination and removal of dead animals
- Refugee and immigrant reception centres
- Drinking water supply
- Weather services
- State operator of post office service
- Import and supply of sanitary material, including logistics, transport, storage, customs transit, and in general sanitary corridors.
The information contained in this note should not be regarded in itself as specific advice on the matter discussed, but only a first approach to the subject. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the recipients of this note search professional advice about their particular case before taking specific measures or actions.