Landmark case for family rights in Spain

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© Mikhail Zahranichny shutterstock

A FATHER who took his case for flexible working hours to a Spanish court has won the right to arrive an hour late for work so that he can take his child to nursery. 

In a milestone for Spanish employment law, the judge said that the “rights of the family” should come ahead of the “organisation of the company”.

The man, a chef in Madrid named only as Jose, had asked his employer for more flexible hours, having his start time of 8am clash with the nursery drop off schedule for his one year-old. 

In response the company said that, as breakfast was served at 8.30am, he was needed in the kitchen, but colleagues supported his case and Jose successfully argued that the service was not entirely dependent on his presence. 

The judge agree, stating that “the right of the worker should take precedence over the company owing to the minimal impact it would have on service,” “The company’s alleged organisational difficulties cannot prevail over the legal protection of the family, something that the authorities should ensure in accordance with article 39.1 of the Constitution,” he continued. 

Spanish workers union CSIF supported the legal action and provided Jose with lawyers to help present his case. 

A recent EU report suggested that Spain and Portugal have the least flexible working conditions, with some of the longest hours in Europe believed by 60 per cent of Spaniards to negatively impact their family lives. 

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