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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-2020-39/1321 – measures in Spain

Regulation of remote work

Real Decreto-ley que regula el trabajo a distancia

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 22 September 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Teleworking arrangements, remote working
Author Carlos Molina (UAB)
Measure added 24 October 2020 (updated 02 December 2020)

Background information

The Council of Ministers has approved a Royal Decree Law that will regulate distance work. This regulation is a direct outcome of tripartite social dialogue and places Spain at the forefront of the European framework in the regulation of a form of work organisation whose protagonism has revealed essential during the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Royal Decree Law grants remote workers the same rights as those who carry out their activities in the company's premises and is based on voluntariness and the agreement of workers and employers.

Content of measure

The Royal Decree Law is based, he recalled, on "voluntariness" for the worker and for the employer and will require the signing of the distance work agreement, which must be formalised in writing, registered at the employment office and delivered to the legal representation of working people.

The refusal of the worker to work remotely, the exercise of reversibility to face-to-face work and the difficulties for the adequate development of the telework activity, which are exclusively related to the change from a face-to-face service to another that includes work at distance, will not be justifying grounds for the termination of the employment relationship or the substantial modification of the working conditions.

Throughout the regulation, the role of collective bargaining is reinforced, with express referrals as important as the regulation of the exercise of reversibility (return to face-to-face work after agreeing to work remotely) by the parties, the right to disconnect , the identification of jobs and functions that can be carried out through remote work, the conditions of access and development of work activity through this organisational model, a maximum duration of remote work, as well as additional content in the remote work agreement.

Use of measure

No data available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
Company / Companies
No special funding required

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 have been involved in the negotiation of the new law regulating distance work. They requested the government to negotiate the law and a process of tripartite social dialogue started. The organisations involved have been CCOO and UGT on the union side, and CEOE and CEPYME on the employer side

Views and reactions

Social partners were totally supportive of the measure and agree that will contribute to improve security to implement distance work.


  • 22 September 2020: Real Decreto-ley 28/2020, de 22 de septiembre, de trabajo a distancia (


Eurofound (2020), Regulation of remote work, measure ES-2020-39/1321 (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.