Being true that the employer has the possibility to modify unilaterally set times during the working day, he should always have a fair cause to do so and the rights of workers vary depending on the entity of these changes.

In case of modifications which do not substantially affect the worker, they can be considered to be within the power of direction of the employer. By non-substantial changes are meant modifications within reduced time schedule, for example, inputs and outputs to workplace with variations of a quarter of an hour. It will not be necessary, in this case, to follow a formal procedure, but if it would be appropriate to give a written notice to workers about the decision.

However, substantial changes in workers’ conditions established in the art. 41.1.a of the Workers’ Statute, must follow a specific procedure. Modification measures must be previously agreed by the management of the company, as long as there is good reason related to competitiveness, productivity or technical organization of the company. These reasons can be economic, technical, organizational or regarding production.

The shift changes more often treated in the workplace affect the exchange of full-time to part-time schedules, and vice versa. These should be voluntary for the worker, which means, that the worker shall never be compelled to accept a reduction of the working hours unilaterally.

The procedures for these changes in working time, can be differentiated into two types: those of a collective nature and individual character. This depends on the number of workers affected. It is considered a collective change in the following cases:

– Ten workers in companies employing fewer than one hundred workers.

– 10 percent of the number of workers in those companies employing between 100 and 300 workers and

– Thirty workers in enterprises employing more than three hundred workers.

In this case, we will describe the options that can be implied in the modifications of an individual worker, being these the most commonly treated. It is important to bear, that the worker must be notified within a minimum of 15 days from the date of its effectiveness, and preferably with a written document.

If you receive this notice, the worker will have two options, apart from the option to accept it.

On the one hand, the involved worker can request the termination of the employment contract in the event of being prejudiced by the amendment. This will give him the right to compensation of twenty days’ wages for each year of service, and for periods of less than one year a proportion for months would be applied.

On the other hand, the worker can show disagreement with the decision and appeal to the Labour Court the decision made by the board of the company. Yet despite lodging an appeal, working hours will be reduced within the stipulated period. After the sentence dictamination, should the modification be declared unjustified, shall it be recognized the right of workers to be reinstated in their previous conditions. Should not be the policy of the company in accordance with the decision, the board will need to carry out a termination of the employment contract, with compensation equivalent to one of unfair dismissal. Nevertheless, if the worker judicially appeals the modification and the court deemed it justified, the worker would have the option to request the termination of the employment contract left, with the compensation initially mentioned.

In the event that your company is forcing you to reduce working hours, contact the specialist labor consultants in DAEMI ZABALZA & ASSOCIATES, who can inform you about how to proceed in the most beneficial way for you, in a personalized way.