Spanish anti-exploitation law leads to court ruling that workers can have pay deducted for coffee breaks

Spanish anti-exploitation law leads to court ruling that workers can have pay deducted for coffee breaks

A law in Spain which was brought in to prevent the exploitation of workers has enabled a company there to stop paying its staff for smoking and coffee breaks.

Energy firm Galp said it was implementing a new law in Spain which requires companies to record employees' entrances and departures from the workplace.

The policy, which also covers workers having breakfast with colleagues, means Galp deducts time from employees when they spend time off premises and was challenged by a trade union in Spain's High Court.

However, the trade union plans to appeal after the High Court came down in favour of Galp in a ruling which partly relied on a previous ruling that staff have no right to a paid coffee, smoking or breakfast break.

Companies are supposed to monitor the time spent by their employees at the office in order to address the country's issue of unpaid overtime which last year amounted to almost three million hours.

The law was also brought in to increase flexibility in working contracted hours in Spain which has one of the highest amounts in Europe of hours worked by employees.

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