On 19 September 2023, the Spanish Supreme Court has issued a judgment clarifying certain aspects of remote work, specifically regarding whether companies can deduct time and pay from teleworkers for power outages or internet disconnections beyond their control and whether the time taken for bathroom breaks can be considered as rest time.
The Supreme Court's decision was in response to a case brought by the Extel Contact Center company, a call center service, against a National Court (Audiencia Nacional) ruling from 10 May 2021. The Supreme Court dismissed the company's appeal, upholding the rights of teleworkers in such situations.
The judgment affirms that the legal framework established during the COVID-19 pandemic for remote work still applies, emphasizing that remote workers have the same rights as those working in a physical office. It also underlines the importance of not discriminating against remote workers.
The court's decision established that time lost due to power outages or internet disconnections beyond the employee's control should be considered as work time and, therefore, be compensated. Furthermore, it clarified that bathroom breaks are not considered rest periods, and employees have the right to take them without pay deductions.
In summary, the Supreme Court's judgment upholds the rights of teleworkers and ensures that they are not penalized for circumstances beyond their control while working remotely. The decision reaffirms the legal protections for remote workers in Spain and emphasizes equal treatment and non-discrimination in various forms of work, whether remote or in a physical office.
Reference: STS 3765/2023 - Nº de Resolución: 565/2023 - ECLI:ES:TS:2023:3765.