Spain – Employees legal representation and changes in working conditions

Time to read: 6 min

Legal representation of the employees

The employees have the right to participate in the Company through the representative bodies. There are two different representative bodies, which are the Personnel Delegates and the Works Council.

Personnel Delegates

The representation of the employees in a company or in a workplace which has less than 50 and more than 10 employees correspond to the Delegates. The employees shall elect through free, personnel, secret and direct suffrage the personnel delegates depending on the number of employees, 1 delegate if are 30 or less employees, and two personnel delegates if the company has more than 31, till 50 employees.

The personnel delegates will exercise together before the employer the representation of the employees, and the will have the same conditions established for the works council.

Works Council

The works council is the representative and collegiate body of the employees in the company or workplace, its function is to defend the interests of the employees, in every workplace where the census is more than 50 employees.

The company which has in the same community two or more workplaces or in the bordering communities and their census are less than 50 individually but more than 50 employees in the whole workplaces will have a works council for all of the centers. And if there are one with more than 50 employees and more with less, the first will have one works council and in the others will constitute other.

Information and consultation rights

The works council will have the right of being informed and consulted by the employer about those questions that can affect to the employees, and also about the situation of the company and the evolution of the employment in the same.

The works council has the right of being informed quarterly:

  • About the general evolution of the economic area of the company.
  • About the economic situation of the company.
  • About the forecast of the employer to celebrate new contracts.
  • About the statistics regarding the index of absenteeism and the causes, the accidents at work, occupational illnesses and its consequences.

The works council will also have the right of receive information, at least annually, related with the implementation in the company the right of equal treatment and opportunities among men and women.

The works council will have the right to obtain the following documents:

  • The balance, the P&L account, the memory and, other relevant documents.
  • The model of the contracts which are used in the company and the documents related with the dismissals.
  • The severe sanctions targeted.

The works council will have the right of being informed about the situation and structure of the employments in the company or work place, and about the evolution of the same.

The number of the members in the works council will be depending on the number of employees in the company, and will be:

  • From 50 to 100 employees, five.
  • From 101 to 250, nine.
  • From 251 to 500, thirteen
  • From 501 to 750, seventeen.
  • From 751 to 100, twenty-one.
  • More than 1000, two per each thousand, with the maximum of seventy-five.

The works council will choose between their members one president and a secretary, and the will elaborate their own procedural regulation, which cannot contravene the Law.

Substantial changes in working conditions

The business management may agree substantial modifications in the working conditions if there exists real economic, technique, organizational, or production reasons. They shall be consider related with the competitiveness productivity or technique organization or work in the company.

The modification in the next causes will be considered as substantial change in working conditions:

  • Working day.
  • Timetable and working time arrangements.
  • Scheduled working hours.
  • Compensation package and the amount of salary.
  • Functions, if exceed the limits from article 93 of the Works Statute.

The Substantial changes in the working conditions could affect to the recognized conditions to the employees in the work contract, agreements or collective agreements.

It is consider as collective character the modification that, in a period of 90 days, affect at least to:

  • Ten employees, on companies with fewer 100 employees.
  • The ten percent of the number of employees in the company in the companies which have more than one hundred and less than three hundred.
  • Thirteen employees, in the companies of more than three hundred employees,

The decision to change the working conditions individually shall be notified by the employer to the affected employee and his/her legal representatives no later than fifteen days before effective date.

If the Substantial change in working conditions has a collective character, this decision has to be preceded by a consultation period of no more than fifteen days.

Jose Luis Herrero
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