Daniel Cifuentes, Labour Law Partner at Pérez-Llorca, opened the session with the traditional presentation on the current legal climate, analysing the most important rulings issued by the Supreme Court, the National High Court and the Constitutional Court in the last few months.
He discussed the sustained scientific developments, especially in the field of assisted reproduction, and how this has come to affect the day-to-day practice of Labour law, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling of 4 April 2017 in which the dismissal of a worker who was receiving IVF treatment, whereby the ova had been fertilised but had not yet been implanted in the woman’s uterus, was deemed null and void. Cifuentes summarised the reasoning of the Supreme Court, explaining that the dismissal was deemed null and void for discriminatory reasons, and not due to the status of worker as a “mother”, since the company was aware that the employee was undergoing said treatment.
Cifuentes also reiterated the obligation to keep a record of the working day of workers. He summarised the content of the Supreme Court rulings of 23 March and 20 April 2017 and stressed that companies where workers work overtime, as well as those which employ part-time workers, must continue to keep a record of the working hours of these workers, since it is a legal obligation which is included in the Workers’ Statute. The Labour and Social Security Inspection Authorities will pay special attention to the enforcement of this obligation in the coming months in light of the step back it has been forced to take after the publication of the aforementioned rulings.
Next, Fernando Ruiz, who is also a Partner of the Labour Law department at Pérez-Llorca, explained the current problems relating to interns. He commented on the sometimes “extralegal” or unclear nature of the remuneration they receive, which is not currently regulated in the Workers’ Statute but which is very prevalent in business practice. Given the absence of regulation, and with regard to possible sanctions arising from labour inspections, attendees were reminded of how companies should pay attention to three features in the development of this activity, to decide whether it is work experience or, in reality, a true employment relationship: the workload vs the training element; the amount and nature of the financial compensation, and, finally, if the activity of the intern is part of the production cycle of the company.
The seminar ended with an animated debate on the issues that had been raised, where numerous questions were asked about the practical impact that the developments would have on companies, and in particular about what the Labour and Social Security Inspection Authorities’ criteria for action will be following the aforementioned Supreme Court rulings which removed the obligation to keep a register of the daily working hours of all workers.