Currently, many families are facing significant challenges in trying to balance their work responsibilities with childcare.
In order to address this issue, the Ministries of Social Rights and Equality have worked for months to implement the Family Law in Spain, with the purpose of recognizing different family situations and eliminating barriers that families face in terms of work-life balance and parenting.In this article, we will focus on different relevant aspects that will help you resolve any work-related situation, always respecting employees’ rights and ensuring people’s work-life balance, one of the main objectives of this legislation.
What the Family Law entails
The Family Law 2023 project is a new regulation based on one of the fundamental principles established in Article 39 of the Spanish Constitution. This article states that public authorities have the responsibility to guarantee the social, economic, and legal protection of families.
Specifically, this legislation includes an 8-week leave for childcare, a 5-day leave per year for caring for a relative, and a 4-day leave for exceptional circumstances. These leaves are crucial to ensure work-life balance and family care, providing employees with the opportunity to attend to their family responsibilities in specific situations. It is important to consider this legislation to ensure compliance with employees’ rights and promote a balanced and respectful work environment.
The three new caregiving leaves have already been published in the BOE (Official State Gazette) through the Royal Decree-Law 5/2023, dated June 28, with the aim of promoting work-life balance and well-being in the workplace. Let’s review them briefly:
5-day leave for caring for a relative
Workers have the right to request a 5-day leave to care for a relative in cases of accidents, serious illnesses, hospitalizations, or non-hospitalized medical interventions requiring rest at home. This leave can apply to spouses, domestic partners, and relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity. It can also be requested for people living in the same household, regardless of their relationship.
4-day leave per year for caring for relatives in cases of force majeure
Additionally, a 4-day leave per year is granted for caring for relatives in situations of force majeure, such as a severe accident or illness of a relative. This leave does not need to be taken consecutively and can be divided into hours or days as needed.
8-week parental leave for the care of children up to 8 years old
Likewise, an 8-week parental leave is established for the care of children under 8 years old. The main goal of this leave is to promote shared responsibility between parents in the care of their children. It can be taken continuously or intermittently, either partially or in full. The company must be informed of the start and end dates of the leave at least 10 days in advance, or as established in collective agreements.
Other leaves under the Family Law
The Family Law also includes other relevant leaves, such as the birth leave, which allows the non-gestating parent to take 10 days off before childbirth to complete the 16 weeks of maternity leave. Additionally, 15 days of leave are granted for marriage or registered domestic partnership, and 2 days of leave for the death of a spouse, domestic partner, or relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity (extendable in case of travel).
These leaves are fundamental to ensure the balance between work and family life, and it is essential to consider the conditions and requirements established in the corresponding legislation.
Types of families recognized by the Family Law
The Family Law recognizes the following types of families:
Young family: A family formed by a person under 29 years old and their children
Family with higher childcare needs
Blended family: In this case, one member of the couple will have children from previous relationships
Family living abroad
It is important to highlight that the legislation regarding families equalizes the rights of both married couples and unmarried couples.
However, for single-parent families, there is a special exception regarding maternity or paternity leave. In these cases, they are granted the possibility to enjoy an extended leave of 8 months instead of the 4 months that apply to each parent in other situations.
New caregiving measures you should know
The new Family Law expands the benefits of Article 34.8 of the Workers’ Statute, which allows parents with children under 12 years old to request teleworking as a work-life balance measure. This legislation now also benefits other groups, such as:
- People with children over 12 years old with special needs.
- The spouse or domestic partner of the employed person.
- Relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity of the employed person.
- Dependent individuals when they live in the same household.
Parents can request the adaptation of their work schedule at the time of their child’s birth. If at the time the Law is approved, parents have a 7-year-old child, they can request this adaptation for 5 years, until the child reaches 12 years of age.
Once the request is submitted, the company has a maximum of 15 days to evaluate it. The company must communicate in writing whether the teleworking request is accepted. If the request is not accepted, the company must propose an alternative to guarantee the employee’s work-life balance. If the request is denied, the company must provide objective reasons for its decision.
Once the agreed-upon period between the employee and the company is over, or if there are no longer reasons to justify the request, the employee must return to work on-site.
How to comply with the New Family Law
To ensure compliance with the Family Law, it is advisable to use a time management platform that facilitates various functions, such as:
- Keeping track of the days specified in collective agreements and reflecting them in the employees’ work calendars according to their family circumstances.
- Approving leave or absence requests from employees, with the possibility to attach supporting documents to facilitate requests to the HR department.
- Allowing employees to request teleworking days and maintaining a record of the days this work modality applies to.
- Keeping a record of teleworking hours that complies with current regulations and promotes work-life balance.
A time management platform becomes an essential ally in harmonizing work and family responsibilities, promoting work-life balance, and the well-being of employees. Its implementation demonstrates the company’s commitment to the quality of life of its workers and reinforces an organizational culture that values and respects the diversity of personal situations, thus contributing to the success and sustainable growth of the company in the current work environment.