The white winter prints that have covered this weekend the landscape of a large part of the Spanish cities as a result of the storm FilomenaThey have given way to a Monday with enormous complications so that all those who enjoyed the snow cannot now, because of them, go to work.
Cars abandoned on the shoulders of expressways, or buried by what was once a soft blanket today turned into ice, have left thousands of workers on the ground who this Monday have not been able to resume their activity.
Despite the constant work of the snowplows, and all those individuals who shovel in hand have tried to clean the plates that turned the exits of their garages into skating rinks, the reality is that in cities like Madrid it is still impossible to walk through their streets safely, so thousands of people have not been able to go to their job.
This circumstance that complicates the proper functioning of businesses due to the absence of their workers, does not leave them in a situation of helplessness or concern about neglecting their tasks, since absence from work due to force majeure is included in article 47 of the Workers’ Statute.
At this point, Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) have appealed this day to try to clarify the panorama of all those who have not been able to travel to their places of work as a result of the snow or ice. However, the Statute does not include the way in which all of them must make up the lost hours.
This circumstance opens the possibility of either the withdrawal of the salary corresponding to the days in which they have not worked; that those hours not worked have to be made up on another day and after hours; or those who can work from home.
The only variant that cannot be produced is to convert the days of absence into days of vacation, since it is not lawful to establish a day of rest that is not dedicated to rest.
“If the worker proves that either because of the location of his home, or because he cannot have the means of transport necessary to get to his job, he cannot attend the job, he cannot be sanctioned”, explains Isabel Araque, Confederal Secretary of the UGT.
Araque also clarifies that in the event that there is no legal representation of the employees in the workplace, the employer will be able to negotiate with each of them in which way the hours lost are recovered based on their category.
“In any employment relationship, one starts from a fundamental premise, and it is the good faith and trust that must be had between both parties. The Statute does not say anything about how this inability to go to work in situations of major cause must be proven, but different types of data or information can be used to corroborate what is being said.
If someone, for example, lives in the mountains of Madrid, then at the moment they will not be able to go to their job. In this case, he could even make an affidavit, but given the current circumstances it would not be necessary because it is the authorities themselves who are recommending that citizens stay at home, ”adds Araque.
Outside of what is established in the Workers’ Statute, there are companies in whose agreements incorporate a bag of hours or days of free disposal that, in this case, could be used by the workers to avoid having to recover the hours of lost work later.
In the same way that the employer could decide not to pay the salary corresponding to those hours not worked on understanding that there has been no labor compensation on the part of the worker. Something that would also result if it is the businessman himself who decides not to open his business.
In order to make sure that there is a manifest impossibility to go to work, companies may ask their workers for a supporting document that proves it. In a situation like the current one, taking into account that it is a meteorological phenomenon that has affected the entire country, it would be an expendable procedure.
“Normally these are situations that are public and notorious, that are collected in the press or that can be easily verified by going to the State Meteorological Agency,” explains Eva Urbano, CCOO’s lawyer.
In this case, it would be enough to request a supporting document from the corresponding public administration, either the City Council of the municipality in which roads have been closed or the autonomous community that manages the road services.
As has happened with shops, bars and many other establishments, schools have also had to lower the blind before Filomena. A situation that has returned the children to their homes, delaying their incorporation into classes a little longer after the Christmas holidays.
This circumstance has resulted in many fathers and mothers who have no one to leave them with have found themselves in the need to remain in their charge, also preventing them from going to their job. “In this case it is a personal duty, but the parents will have to prove to the company, if it requests it, that the school has closed”, adds Urbano.
Despite the fact that these cases are not contemplated by law, despite this “there can be no sanction, because it cannot be understood that it is a breach of labor obligations”, he completes.
Public workers, for their part, have also received approval from the Ministry of Public Function to carry out their tasks from home, implementing teleworking, at least, for this Monday and Tuesday.
The department directed by Carolina Darias tries with this measure to limit the movements of those public workers who today had to return to their positions. “Public administrations still have the development of telework pending, so this issue could be incorporated into future regulation,” added from CSIF.