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Can I be fired for not attending work in person?

Spanish legislation promulgated the so-called “Teleworking Law” or legally known as Royal Decree-Law 28/2020, of September 22, on remote work, which is a regulation that regulates remote work, the same In a tripartite agreement - unions, employers and executive - seeks to reach a legal body that regulates the remote labor relationship, taking into account the hours, performance, work to be done and vacation periods and disconnection time, between work activities and personal or intimate life.

“Telework, understood as a preferred mode of distance work that is carried out outside the usual establishments and centers of the Administration, for the provision of services through the use of new technologies, has been regulated both in the European context and in national, regional and local level ”.

Telework should be conceived as an ideal mechanism to modernize the organization of the forms of work for companies and organizations that provide services, as well as taking into account the autonomy and free development of the personality.

The health crisis caused by Covid-19 has reinforced the trend towards the normalization of teleworking, and its practice has even become preferred in work organizations. There are many questions that workers and companies ask about themselves You can be fired for not attending work in person, in the case of teleworking.

What are the labor rights of teleworking?

As indicated by Forcam Abogados, people who carry out remote work will have the same rights that they would enjoy if they provided services in the company's workplace, except those that are inherent to the performance of the work provision in the same way face-to-face, and they will not be able to suffer damage in any of their working conditions, including what refers to the payment of salary, continuity and stability in employment, working hours, training courses and programs, promotion and professional advancement.

What are the characteristics of teleworking? 

  • Remote work will be voluntary for the worker and the employer and will require the signing of the remote work agreement.
  • The decision to work remotely from a face-to-face work modality will be reversible for the company and the worker.
  • The modification of the conditions established in the distance work agreement, including the percentage of presence, must be the subject of an agreement between the company and the worker, formalizing it in writing prior to its application. 

The legislator exposes the importance of telework, stating its interaction with information technology:

"In short, communication technologies have been a key tool to reduce the impact of containment measures and restrictions on productive activity, which favors workers and companies, makes efficient companies possible and with high specialization, allows the economic acceleration of rural areas and increases the possibilities of employment”.

For its part, the executive through the Minister of Labor, indicates the prohibition of making objective dismissals, for which they will be given an indemnity of less than 20 days per year, alleging lack of adaptation to telework.

What happens if a worker refuses to attend in person?

As the labor lawyers explain, the worker's refusal to work remotely, the exercise of reversibility to face-to-face work and the difficulties for the proper development of remote work activity that are exclusively related to the change of a benefit face-to-face to another that includes remote work, will not be justifying grounds for the termination of the employment relationship or the substantial modification of the working conditions.

Will remote workers be able to reverse their condition?

In these cases, the law stipulates very clearly that people who perform remote work from the beginning of the employment relationship during the entire working day, will have priority to occupy jobs that are carried out totally or partially in person.

The company will inform these people who work remotely and the legal representation of the workers of the vacant positions of a face-to-face nature that occur.

What are the causes for a worker to miss his job in person without being fired?

The law considers an exceptional situation that is equivalent to a situation assimilated to a work accident, of periods of isolation, contagion or restriction in the exits of the municipality where workers have their domicile or their workplace as a result of the COVID-virus. 19.

In order to protect public health, a situation assimilated to an accident at work will be considered, on an exceptional basis, exclusively for the economic benefit of temporary disability of the Social Security system, those periods of isolation or contagion of workers caused by the virus COVID-19, unless it is proven that the contagion of the disease has been contracted with an exclusive cause in the performance of the work.

Contact usand our lawyers specializing in labour law will study your specific case. 

At Forcam Abogados we have offices in Barcelona, Tarragona, Reus and Tarrega.