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This weekend, the Spanish government has approved a decree that considerably toughens the coronavirus lockdown applying across the state of Spain. It defines essential workers, who keep working. And it means that all other workers in jobs classified as non-essential will be on paid recoverable leave between 30th March and 9th April. During that time, they are prohibited from reporting to their workplace to do their jobs. Below, the key details on what it all means:

Who is included in this new decree which bans people from working at their workplaces?
It is mandatory for all active employees, except for those providing essential services and other situations that are described below.

What is the "paid recoverable leave" that it talks about?
Workers must not travel to workplaces to carry out their jobs, but instead are to stay at home and will be in a situation of paid recoverable leave. That means, they will be paid as usual. At the end of the restrictions period, they will have to gradually make up the hours not worked in this period, in a way that is agreed with their employer, with daily and weekly rest periods always being maintained.

For what period is this restriction in force?
From 30th March to 9th April, inclusive of both dates.

Are there exceptions?
Yes, employees providing essential services, those working remotely, those on sick leave or whose contracts have been suspended due to other legally permissible situations and those who have been laid off temporarily under an ERTO scheme. In these cases, conditions of employment remain unchanged. 

And for people who had already planned to take time off?
The days can be recovered if agreed with the employer.

Can businesses that are not essential services maintain minimum activity?
Yes, if necessary, they can establish the minimum number of staff or work shifts that are strictly essential to maintain activity which is essential (for security reasons, for example). This may, for example, resemble the staffing levels usually set for a weekend or public holiday.

Is there a phasing-in period?
In the event that it is impossible to immediately interrupt the activity, on Monday, 30th March, workers will be able to perform the essential tasks in order to subsequently begin the recoverable paid leave without excessively or disproportionately damaging the resumption of business activity.

What are the essential services?
Workers in the following activities are not affected by paid recoverable leave and, therefore, must continue to carry out their jobs by travelling to their workplaces as usual:

  • Food and beverage retail stores, pharmacies, doctors, stores selling optical and orthopedic products, hygiene products, press and stationery, petrol stations, tobacconists, IT and telecoms equipment, pet food sellers, dry cleaners and laundries.
  • Businesses based on sales by internet, telephone or mail (including home delivery of goods).
  • Home hairdressing services.
  • Food and restaurant services using home delivery.
  • Supply of electricity, petroleum products and natural gas
  • Critical infrastructure, companies and providers to the essential services.
  • Judges, prosecutors, lawyers within the administration of justice and other staff at their service who must continue to attend judicial proceedings which are not suspended .
  • Public administration services essential for the operation of public services, including works, services, utilities and maintenance and security of public buildings.
  • Supply chain for essential products, including food, beverages, animal feed, hygiene products, medicines, health care and pharmaceuticals, from origin to retail sales.
  • Transportation of people and goods and the activities related to guaranteeing that this transport functions for the services included in these activities.
  • Police forces and bodies, prisons, maritime rescue, civil protection, fire and rescue services, mine safety, traffic and road safety.
  • Armed forces.
  • Private security.
  • Centres, services and healthcare facilities for the care of the elderly, minors, dependent and disabled people.
  • Personnel in the centres conducting research projects related to Covid-19.
  • Funeral services.
  • Centres, services and facilities providing animal health services.
  • Sale of press.
  • Public and private media, including print and distribution.
  • Financial, banking and insurance services.
  • Telecoms and audiovisual companies and companies providing essential IT services, including those needed to carry out public services and their teleworking.
  • Essential services for the protection and care of victims of gender-based violence.
  • Lawyers, solicitors, legal services in administrative, social and labour areas, translators, interpreters and psychologists in relation to legal proceedings which have not been suspended .
  • Legal services in administrative, social and labour areas and occupational risk prevention, in urgent matters.
  • Personnel of notaries and registries for the essential services established.
  • Cleaning, maintenance, emergency repairs and surveillance services.
  • Management and collection of hazardous waste, urban waste, sewage treatment, decontamination and removal of dead animals.
  • Reception centres for refugees and immigrants.
  • Drinking water supply.
  • Meteorological services.
  • Public postal service.
  • Importation and provision of medical equipment, including companies involved in the logistics, transport, storage, customs clearance, and medical agencies in general.