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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure ES-2020-12/504 – measures in Spain

Right to flexible schedule and reduction of working hours for workers with care responsibilities

Derecho de adaptación del horario y reducción de jornada

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 17 March 2020 – 30 June 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Support for parents and carers (financial or in kind)
Author Oscar Molina (UAB) and Eurofound
Measure added 12 April 2020 (updated 27 November 2020)

Background information

This measure allows workers to adapt or reduce their schedule to care for their dependents, with a 100% reduction in the workday being possible. The objective is to facilitate those persons with care responsibilities, including disabled, elderly or child, to adapt their working time and eventually reduce it in order to be able to guarantee the care tasks. This policy was included in Royal Decree 8/2020 of 17th March. Those employees eligible will contact their company that will apply the regulations contained in the Labour Code in relation to working time reduction.

Content of measure

Employees who demonstrate care duties with respect to the spouse or domestic partner, as well as with respect to relatives by blood relationship up to the second degree of the worker, will have the right to access the adaptation of their working day and / or the reduction thereof in the terms provided for in this law, when there are exceptional circumstances related to the actions necessary to avoid community transmission of COVID-19.

Such exceptional circumstances occur when the presence of the worker is necessary for the care of any of the people indicated before who, due to reasons of age, illness or disability, needs personal and direct care as a direct consequence of the COVID-19. Likewise, exceptional circumstances will be considered to exist when there are decisions taken by the governmental authorities related to COVID-19 that imply the closure of educational centers or of any other nature that dispense care or attention to the person in need of them. Exceptional circumstances that require the presence of the employee will also be considered to be present, when the person who until now had been in charge of the direct care or assistance of the working person's spouse or family member up to the second degree could not continue to do so for related justified causes. with COVID-19.

Use of measure

There is no estimation as to the number of employees benefiting from this measure.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Parents in employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Social partners were informed, though not formally consulted, on this measure.

Views and reactions

Trade unions were supportive of this policy, while employers' organisations were partially satisfied.

After the approval of the telework law in October 2020, one of the main criticisms to the law has been precisely the lack of mention in the law to a right to a flexible schedule in order to more easily reconcile work and family life.


  • 18 March 2020: Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of March 17, on extraordinary and urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of COVID-19. (


Eurofound (2020), Right to flexible schedule and reduction of working hours for workers with care responsibilities, measure ES-2020-12/504 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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