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The COVID-19 journey so far – Spain

02 June 2020
The story so far for Spain during the COVID-19 pandemic and what returning to the workplace in the post-lockdown environment may look like.

On 14th March the Spanish government declared the state of alert due to COVID-19 and started to publish different regulations in order to support employers and their workforce, which were mainly the following: 

a) The recommendation of homeworking.
b) The collective suspension of employment contracts and reducing the working hours of employees, due to force majeure or for objective reasons (due economic, technical, organizational and/or productive reasons). During the application of these measures, employees receive total or partial  unemployment benefit paid by the government.
c) The postponement, exoneration or reductions on the amount of Social Security contributions.
d) The obligation on employers to give a paid permit from 30th March until 6th April 2020, to those employees who were not able to work from home, with the obligation to recover the hours not worked in another period. 

Nowadays, Spain continues in state of alert (at least until 7th June). Nonetheless, since the beginning of May, the Government has implemented different phases in order to come back to new normality. These phases are applied depending on the impact of COVID-19 in each region and each one reduces the restrictions for working.

From lockdown to return to work
As lockdown restrictions ease, with the application of the different phases for coming back to a new normality, employers are planning the reinstatement of activity.  

The key message from the Spanish government is that employees who can work from home should continue to do so, at least for 3 months after the termination of the state of alert. 

In order to support companies to re-open as soon as legally possible, the government has applied higher reductions on Social Security contributions during the months of May and June to those companies that are making employees return to work. Companies which are not able to re-open will maintain the same Social Security exonerations or reductions. 

In practice, some employers are preparing the preventive measures in order to re-open immediately. Nonetheless, the vast majority, continue applying suspension of employment contracts and/or reduction of working hours (these measures due to force majeure can be maintained until 30th June 2020). 
To support employers with their return to work planning, we have prepared a step by step guide on the key measures and employment checklist. 

Please see our Spanish employment checklist for a step by step guide on the key measures to consider >

Return to the global overview page to review the story so far in other locations >