What does the “à la carte working day” consist of?
The Article 34, paragraph 8, of the Workers’ Statute establishes the right of the employee to adapt the working day in order to reconcile work and family life, generating what is commonly known as “a la carte working day”.
On this basisworkers may request adaptationsof the duration and distribution of the working day to make effective their right to conciliation of family and work life.
Thus, in order to make effective the worker’s right to reconcile work and family life, the worker may request:
- Adapt the duration of the working day (through a reduction in working hours, for example).
- Adapt the distribution of the working day, in the organization of working time (such as by changing the work shift).
- Adapt the form of work provision (including the provision of remote work).
In this way, the employee has alternatives for the reconciliation of family and work life that do not necessarily imply the reduction of the working day and its proportional salary.
In what situations can I apply for it??
The standard establishes that the requested adaptations must be reasonable and proportionate in relation to the needs of the worker and the organizational or productive needs of the company.
In the event that the employee has sons or daughters, he/she will be entitled to make the request until they reach 12 years of age.
Any employee may make a request to his or her employer for the adaptation of the working day, even if the collective bargaining agreement does not contain or establish anything in this regard. Although the rule refers to collective bargaining the form of organization of such modifications, it does make it clear that, in the event that nothing is stated in the collective bargaining, the employer and the worker must negotiate for a maximum period of 30 days (Social Court n. 26 of Madrid, judgment 191/2019, of May 10).
At the end of the period, the company shall communicate in writing its decision, which, if negative, shall indicate the objective reasons on which it is based.
If the request is accepted, the company may nevertheless make an alternative proposal that meets the employee’s work-life balance needs.
At the end of the agreed period, the worker will have the right to request the return to his/her previous working day or contractual modality. Also when, even though the planned period has not elapsed, a change in the employee’s circumstances justifies it.
Qué hago si la empresa se opone a mi solicitud?
In cases in which the company opposes or disagrees with the proposal made by the employee for productive or organizational reasons, the discrepancies will be resolved through the procedure established for this purpose in the Law Regulating the Social Jurisdiction, that is to say:
- The employee has a period of 20 days to file suit before the Labor Court, after the employer informs him/her of its refusal or disagreement with the proposal. It will not be necessary, therefore, to file a conciliation paper.
- The procedure will be urgent and will be processed preferentially. The hearing shall be scheduled within five days following the date of admission of the claim and the judgment shall be rendered within three days.
- Finally, there is no appeal against the sentence.
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