Law 10/2021, of July 9, 2021 on remote working, was published in the Official State Gazette on July 10, 2021. This law, not only regulates the provision of services under a remote working arrangement, but also includes a 20% increase in all fines due to infringements of labor legislation.

Although final provision one of Royal Decree-Law 28/2020, of September 22, 2020, on Remote Working contained a modification of Labor and Social Security Infringements and Penalties Law (LISOS), in order to include the lack of a remote working agreement as an infringment, it did not envisage this amendment of article 40 which is now included in the remote working law.

During the passage of the law through the legislative process an increase was included, which will take effect as from October 1, 2021, in the amounts of the penalties that can be imposed due to infringment committed in the workplace, which are included in final provision one, point two of the remote working law.

Under the LISOS, notices of infringment issued by the employment and social security inspection authorities must not only describe the facts that led to the notice, but also reflect the classification of the infringement (as minor, serious or very serious) and the degree of the penalty.

It is up to the inspection authorities to grade the penalties, which must adhere to the criteria established in the law such as negligence and intentionality on the part of the infringer, the existence of fraud or collusion, the failure to heed prior warnings and requests by inspectors, the company’s revenues, the workforce affected, the damage caused or the amount defrauded, which are aspects that can increase or decrease the fine. In the case of infringements of occupational risk prevention rules, criteria such as the danger in the activities performed, the severity of the damage sustained or which could have been sustained due to the absence of or deficiencies in the necessary preventive measures or the number of persons affected, will be taken into account.

After classifying the offence and assessing the grade, the inspection authorities will propose a fine in view of the scale envisaged for each infringment.

From October 2021, a minor infringment in connection with labor and employment relations such as not placing the work calendar in a visible place or not using the official pay statement form, which is classified as a minor infringement, will be punished with a fine ranging from 70 to 150 euros (minimum penalty), 151 to 370 euros (intermediate penalty) or from 371 to 750 euros (maximum penalty).

Serious infringements such as breaches of the rules on contracts or working hours and/or overtime, for example, will be punished with a fine ranging from 751 to 1,500 euros (minimum penalty), from 1,501 to 3,750 euros (intermediate penalty) or from 3,751 to 7,500 euros (maximum penalty).

Very serious infringements, such as the unlawful loaning of workers, acts that harm the right to strike or the breach of the preparation of the equality plan, will be punished with a fine ranging from, depending on its degree, 7,501 to 30,000 euros (minimum penalty), from 30,001 to 120,005 euros (intermediate penalty) or from 120,006 to 225,018 euros (maximum penalty).

Fines for the infringement of occupational risk prevention rules, which are larger, have also been increased. Minor infringements such as not informing the labor authorities on time of a minor accident, will be punished with a fine ranging from 45 to 485 euros (minimum penalty), from 486 to 975 euros (intermediate penalty) or from 976 to 2,450 euros (maximum penalty).

Serious infringements such as the breach of the obligation to integrate occupational risk prevention or the breach of requirements on training and providing information regarding the risks involved in the position, will be punished with a fine ranging from 2,451 to 9,830 euros (minimum penalty), from 9,831 to 24,585 euros (intermediate penalty) or from 24,586 to 49,180 euros (maximum penalty). Very serious breaches such as, for example, the failure to observe legislation on health and safety in the workplace of pregnant workers, will be punished with a fine ranging from 49,181 to 196,745 euros (minimum penalty) from 196,746 to 491,865 euros (intermediate penalty) and from 491,866 to 983,736 euros (maximum penalty).

Although we cannot rule out that these new penalties are intended, to some extent, to raise revenues, they should, above all, increase the ability to dissuade infringing conduct and help to reduce, and if possible, avoid, occupational accidents or the commission of labor law infringements. Time will tell whether that goal is achieved with the new increases in penalties.