The recent changes that have taken place in our personal and working environments, together with the needs of families particularly evident as a result of the pandemic, have again brought to light the issue of conciliation between personal, professional and family life. The following is an analysis of several proposals of conciliation in a national, European and international environment.
On the international scene, the OECD prepared its White Book in 2022 for a new national framework for improved support and protection for families in Spain (“Evolving Family Models in Spain. A New National Framework for Improved Support and Protection for Families”). The White Book analyzes the situation of families in Spain and evaluates the measures of conciliation, highlighting the fact that leave for the birth of a child in Spain as compared to other OECD countries is more beneficial in benefit terms rather than duration.
In Spain, Royal Decree 6/2019, of March 1, 2019 on urgent measures to ensure equal treatment and opportunity between women and men in the workplace and occupations introduced novelties in conciliation. These measures specifically included adaptations of the duration and distribution of working hours, organization of work time and how services are provided (including distance working) and the suspension of contracts due to childbirth, adoption, guardianship for the purpose of adoption and shelter of 16 weeks for each parent.
The Spanish government also approved the Plan Me Cuida, introduced by Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of March 17, 2020, linked to the situation resulting from Covid-19. This plan was extended until June 30, 2022 and includes a series of measures aimed at reducing working hours and providing more flexibility for workers.
In the institutional declaration to celebrate the day of conciliation of personal, family, work life and co-responsibility for family duties prepared by the Council of Ministers in March 2022, a priority task was to move forward with the transposition of Directive 2019/1158, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of June 20, 2019 and to strengthen the Co-responsibility Plan. This plan is developed by the Ministry of Equality and, amongst other activities, is aimed at facilitating the conciliation of families with children under the age of 16 through the creation of professional care pools that are publicly contracted and to promote co-responsibility, by establishing training plans in this area for men.
Directive 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of June 20, 2019, relating to the conciliation of family and professional life of parents and carers includes a series of measures, highlighting the following:
- paternity leave of 10 business days that cannot be subject to previous periods of work nor seniority;
- parental leave of a minimum of four months, extending the minimum parental leave that cannot be transferred from one parent to the other to 2 months;
- leave for carers of five working days per year per worker;
- the right to be absent from work on grounds of force majeure due to urgent family reasons, in the case of illness or accident that make the immediate presence of the worker essential;
- flexible work formulas to ensure that workers with children of at least up to eight years old and carers can fulfill their obligations.
Finally, the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy recently published on June 14, 2022, the public consultation on the Draft Bill of Law for the transposition of Directive 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of June 20, 2019. Given that the term of transposition of the Directive by Member States ends on August 2, 2022, we are expecting forthcoming legislative changes that adapt the Spanish labor regulations to the content of the Directive and that may limit the minimum content or improve it.