Ordinary working day

Published on 21/03/2024

Ordinary working day

Published on 21/03/2024

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Ordinary working day

The ordinary working day refers to the time that a worker dedicates to work within a company, complying with the hourly conditions established by contract or collective agreements.

It is important to clarify that the ordinary working day is not the same as the legal maximum working day, as the latter concept is the hourly limit on the ordinary working day and in Spain corresponds to 40 hours per week.

The ordinary working day consists of a certain number of hours during which the employee must carry out their work activity within the previously established period of time.

What does the law say about the ordinary working day?

This type of working day in Spain is regulated in the Workers’ Statute, where it is explained that the ordinary working day is the one agreed upon in contracts or collective agreements between the company and the worker.

It affects all employees, regardless of their nationality. However, workers whose employment relationship with the company or the state is regulated by specific legal rules are excluded, such as civil servants, workers in commerce and public entertainment, among others.

Within the Workers’ Statute, a distinction is also made between the ordinary working day and the legal maximum working day, in article 34.1, stating that it will be agreed upon in contracts or collective agreements, and its duration may not exceed 40 hours per week of effective work, with the daily limit not exceeding 9 hours of work. However, by collective agreement, this daily limit can be modified, provided that the rest time between working days is respected.

Special reference is made to the concept of “effective working time” in article 34.5, which states that working time is counted from the beginning to the end of the daily working day, as long as the worker is at their workplace performing their work responsibilities. Therefore, the following are not considered effective working time:

  • Time spent traveling to the cafeteria
  • Custody or presence
  • Waiting, access, or departure from work
  • Travel time from the garage to the workplace

Types of working day

There are different types of working hours, and the schedule for each varies according to what is agreed upon in the contract signed with the company. The types of working days include:

  • Continuous working day: This type of working day is one in which the employee works continuously without a lunch break. It exceeds six hours of work and has a mandatory 15-minute rest period by law.
  • Split working day: This is a working day with a break of at least one hour, which can last longer, usually used at noon for the lunch break.
  • Part-time working day: This type of working day is 30 hours or less per week, as agreed upon in the contract. It does not allow for overtime.
  • Shift work: This is a rotating working day, where workers change their schedules with other team members in designated periods of days or weeks. The number of hours to be worked depends on what is established by contract or collective agreement.

Breaks during the working day

The Workers’ Statute states that the break during the ordinary working day cannot be less than 15 minutes and can be extended, provided that the effective working time is specified and met. The regulations explain the following about “Daily, during the day and weekly rest”:

– At least twelve hours shall elapse between the end of one day’s work and the beginning of the next.

– When the duration of the continuous daily working day exceeds six hours, a rest period of not less than fifteen minutes must be established during it. This period will be considered as effective working time when so fixed or established by collective agreement or employment contract.

– When the duration of the continuous daily working day exceeds four hours and thirty minutes, workers under the age of 18 shall have a rest period of at least thirty minutes.

– Workers shall be entitled to a minimum weekly rest period, accumulative for periods of up to fourteen days, of one and a half uninterrupted days, which, as a general rule, shall include Saturday afternoon or, where applicable, Monday morning and the whole of Sunday.

– The duration of the weekly rest period for workers under the age of 18 shall be at least two uninterrupted days.

Article 34.4 of the Workers’ Statute also adds that: “In the case of workers under eighteen years of age, the rest period shall be of a minimum duration of thirty minutes and must always be established whenever the continuous daily working day exceeds four and a half hours.”

Daily and Night Working Hours

The ordinary working day can be carried out during the day or at night, depending on the employment contract or collective agreement.

– Daily Working Day: It is generally the common working day. This cannot exceed 9 hours, as previously mentioned, always respecting the minimum rest between working days. Workers under 18 cannot work more than 8 hours per day.

– Night Work Day: The Workers’ Statute describes night work as that which is carried out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., although this schedule can be extended by mutual agreement between the employer and the worker.

The law for the registration of the ordinary working day

Royal Decree-Law 8/2019, of March 8, on urgent social protection measures and the fight against job insecurity in the working day, establishes as regulations the hourly control in companies, with the aim of fighting for the guarantee of minimum and sufficient socioeconomic conditions for a dignified survival that affects workers, obliging them to register their working day for its due compliance and remuneration.

The hourly control law requires the company to maintain a clear report where the time each worker started and ended their working day is recorded. The registration must be done daily, allowing for the corresponding remunerations to be paid. The company is obliged to provide a copy of this record to all workers monthly.

If the company does not comply with the hourly control law, it will be obliged to pay a fine, according to the infringement committed. Less serious fines range from 60 to 625 euros, generally imposed when the company does not inform employees about working conditions, limiting their knowledge of the registered working day.

Serious fines range from 625 to 6,250 euros and are imposed when workers do not account for or receive payment for overtime worked. The most serious fines range from 6,250 to 187,515 euros and are imposed when the employee has worked more than 80 overtime hours, also when overtime hours have not been correctly recorded, or when workers under 18 have worked overtime.

The law allows companies the freedom to choose the preferred solution or strategies to control compliance with the working day and the registration of overtime hours for each worker.

Systems for recording the working day

There are multiple systems to control the working day and comply with the law, among these it is worth mentioning the most used by companies:

Time control software

– Excel template

– Geolocation systems

– Biometric systems

– Presence control with RFID devices

As well as different applications for mobile devices, computers, tablets, dedicated to controlling and recording the hours worked during each employee’s working day.Time management software - free trial

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