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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-2020-12/548 Updated – measures in Spain

Flexibilisation of temporary adjustment of business activities to avoid layoffs

Medidas de flexibilización de los mecanismos de ajuste temporal de actividad para evitar despidos

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 18 March 2020 – 30 June 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Carlos Molina (UAB) and Jessica Durán (IKEI)
Measure added 13 April 2020 (updated 30 August 2022)

Background information

With the objective of allowing companies to maintain their activities in the context of the COVID-19, measures have been taken in order to speed up and make more flexible the process whereby companies can implement collective temporary redundancies and apply reduced working time schemes.

Contract suspensions and reductions in working hours that have their direct cause in loss of activity as a consequence of COVID-19, including the declaration of the state of alarm, which imply suspension or cancellation of activities, temporary closure of places of public influx, restrictions on public transport and, in general, the mobility of people and / or goods, lack of supplies that seriously impede the continued development of the activity, or in urgent and extraordinary situations due to the contagion of the staff or the adoption of preventive isolation measures decreed by the health authority, which are duly accredited, will be considered as coming from a situation of force majeure, with the consequences derived from article 47 of the revised text of the Workers' Statute Law, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 2/2015, of October 23.

Content of measure

In the cases in which the company decides to suspend contracts or temporarily reduce the working day, the following process will be followed:

  • The procedure will begin at the request of the company, which will be accompanied by a report regarding the link of the loss of activity as a result of COVID-19, as well as, where appropriate, the corresponding supporting documentation. The company must communicate its request to the workers and transfer the previous report and the supporting documentation, if any, to their representation.
  • The existence of force majeure, as a motivating cause for the suspension of contracts or the reduction in working hours provided for in this article, must be verified by the labor authority, regardless of the number of workers affected.
  • The resolution of the labor authority will be dictated within a period of five days from the request, following a report, where appropriate, of the Labor and Social Security Inspection and must be limited to verifying the existence, when appropriate, of force majeure. alleged by the company, corresponding to it, the decision on the application of measures to suspend contracts or reduce working hours, which will take effect from the date of the act of force majeure.
  • The report of the Labor and Social Security Inspection, whose request will be optional for the labor authority, will be fulfilled within the non-extendable period of five days.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

22 February 2022

The measure was extended until 28 February 2022 and subsequently to 30 June 2022. Update history is available at the end of Article 6 .

Use of measure

The number of workers affected by this policy in the period January-September 2020 has been 974,489 workers.

Target groups

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

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Social partners were involved in designing, implementing and monitoring this policy measure. Their involvement was preceded by a bipartite agreement between the most representative trade unions and employer organisation about measures to face the COVID-19 crisis.

Views and reactions

Social partners were very supportive of this policy measure as it came out from social dialogue.


  • 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. (
  • 22 February 2022: Extension of measures to face vulnerabilities situaciones de vulnerabilidad social y económica (


Eurofound (2020), Flexibilisation of temporary adjustment of business activities to avoid layoffs, measure ES-2020-12/548 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.