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The Supreme Court rules that the 15 minutes of courtesy and the breakfast break are considered effective work

The Supreme Court rules that the 15 minutes of courtesy and the breakfast break are considered effective work

Jeickson Sulbaran

March 15, 2024 | 9:40 a.m.

Supreme Court ruling that redefines the concept of time worked

In a judicial turn that has captured the attention of the labor sphere in Spain, The Supreme Court has issued a ruling that sets an important precedent regarding the consideration of breakfast time and the 15 minutes of courtesy entry as effective working time. This decision, which considers the appeals presented by key unions, marks a before and after in the interpretation of labor regulations, directly benefiting the CaixaBank staff but with potentially broader implications for the Spanish labor market.

Until now, conventional interpretation did not include these periods as part of the working day. However the Supreme Court ruling, dated March 5, has rejected this traditional view, supporting the position of unions such as UGT, CCOO, and SECB. This ruling, which corrects a previous ruling from the National Court of October 2020, represents a milestone in the recognition of workers' rights, especially in environments with rigid schedule control.

The key to the ruling lies in the interpretation of "effective working time." According to the Supreme Court, the first 15 minutes after the official start of the workday, as well as the time spent on breakfast, must be counted as worked. This interpretation arises from a thorough analysis of previous labor agreements and the need to faithfully reflect reality in the working hours record.

The importance of a working day record adjusted to the reality of work

The Supreme Court emphasizes the importance of a working day record that is not only a faithful reflection of work reality, but also respects the rights acquired by workers over time. In this sense, the ruling criticizes any attempt to use the time registration system to alter working conditions or to ignore already established rights.

The decision not only emphasizes the importance of fair and transparent treatment of working hours, but also highlights the need for companies to adapt their time recording practices to the principles of equity and labor reality. In the case of CaixaBank, although a guide had been prepared postulating the opposite, the Supreme Court has made it clear that workers' rights prevail.

A failure with resonance beyond CaixaBank

Although the failure has an immediate impact on CaixaBank's workforce, its repercussions go much further. This judicial precedent could influence how other Spanish companies manage and consider effective working time, particularly in sectors with rigorous time controls. Furthermore, this ruling reinforces the position of unions and workers in negotiating fairer and more realistic working conditions.

La recent ruling by the Supreme Court represents significant progress in the protection of labor rights in Spain. Recognizing breakfast time and courtesy minutes as part of actual work time sends a clear message about the importance of respecting employment agreements and aligning business practices with a fair and up-to-date interpretation of the law. This ruling not only benefits CaixaBank employees, but also sets a precedent that could improve the working conditions of many workers in the country.

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