Is it necessary for workers to previously notify the company what time they are to start work, when a flexible timetable has been negotiated under the collective bargaining agreement?
In a recent judgment given on May 31, 2016, the Supreme Court recently upheld the right of the workers of the defendant companies to flexibility in relation to the time they start work, meaning that they can begin work half an hour before or after the official time, without having to previously notify the company.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision by the National Court acknowledging the right of workers to the flexible working hours established in article 26 of the Non-daily Press Collective Bargaining Agreement, without the obligation to previously notify the time they are to start and finish at the work center.
The Supreme Court judgment considers the challenged interpretation of the CBA regulation to be correct, stating that the use of the right is not made by the CBA to depend on any obligation on the part of workers to notify beforehand their exact starting and finishing times. The Supreme Court therefore considered that the restriction, if imposed, would imply an impairment of the workers’ right acknowledged by the CBA, to freely decide what time they are to start and finish work, within the limits established in the Agreement, in relation to the “standard” time established by the company, and that such right cannot be subject to prior notification by the workers.
On these grounds, the Supreme Court rejected the claims made by the defendant company relating to the costs involved in implementing a computerized working hour control system, given that, as it expressly stated, “it is something the company may or may not do, but independent of the exercising of the right”.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court claims that an obligation on the part of workers to previously notify the company every day of the time they are to start and finish work cannot be imposed, if not negotiated under the applicable collective bargaining agreement, when the worker is exercising his/her right—the purpose of which is to enable workers to reconcile their work and family life—to start and finish with a flexibility of half an hour.
Departamento Laboral de Garrigues