Pérez-Llorca’s Employment practice area held a new Pérez-Llorca ‘Labour Law Update’ session. This seminar was attended by Employment partners Daniel Cifuentes, Laura Pérez and Isabel Moya, and Employment Of Counsel Yolanda Valdeolivas, who addressed the main employment law measures introduced by Royal Decree-law 6/2022 and discussed a possible limitation of dismissals.
Daniel Cifuentes opened the event by providing a brief introduction to the session. Yolanda Valdeolivas then gave a summary of the content of Article 44 of Royal Decree-law 6/2022, which approves a series of measures in the labour field to alleviate the negative effects of the war against Ukraine. Pérez-Llorca’s Of Counsel highlighted the legislator’s decision not to introduce a special temporary workforce restructuring plan (“ERTE”), with a different regulation to that of ordinary ERTEs, in order to respond to this exceptional situation. She also indicated that “with Article 44, the legislator seeks to send a message to companies that internal flexibility mechanisms should be used as much as possible to maintain employment”.
When it came to the content of this Royal Decree-law, Pérez-Llorca’s Of Counsel explained the two measures introduced to safeguard employment. Firstly, for companies benefiting from the direct aid provided for in this Royal Decree-law, the increase in energy costs may not constitute an objective cause for dismissal until 30 June 2022. In this regard, Valdeolivas indicated that “the labour legislator could have been much more intrusive by introducing an absolute ban on dismissals for any reason that justifies the benefit of the aid contained in Royal Decree-Law 6/2022, not only those limited to the increase in energy costs”.
In relation to the second measure, which determines that companies that take advantage of the reduction of working hours or suspension of contracts for reasons related to the invasion of Ukraine may not use these causes to make redundancies, the Of Counsel stated that “this measure reproduces the same scheme as the pandemic ERTEs, with the difference that it is now introduced for the temporary regulation of employment as a consequence of the economic and social effects of the war in Ukraine”. She also stressed that “in the event that an increase in energy costs leads to ETOP (economic, technical, organisational or production) effects in a company, these would not be able to be used to justify dismissal”.
Isabel Moya and Laura Pérez ended the event with a Q+A session in which they answered questions from attendees on the measures introduced in Article 44 of this Royal Decree-law. Both lawyers went on to assess the possible consequences of this new regulation for companies that have been impacted by the war in Ukraine, those with public support, or companies that have benefited from ERTEs as a result of the increase in energy costs, among other examples.