Spanish court decided:Lower salaries for smokers allowed.

smoke break

Galp Energia, a company that stopped paying its employees for smoking breaks has won its case in Spain’s high court. Spanish court considers that Galp Energia workers in Spain have to compensate the company for unplanned breaks they take during working hours.

The decision, taken by Audiencia Nacional – a Madrid court with jurisdiction over the entire country – notes that the company has the right to deduct the time when workers stop what they are doing to drink a coffee , smoke or have a breakfast. They are now allowed to count the hours actually worked.

The origin of this conflict is a lawsuit by Working Commissions against the company Galp Energía España, because “on the occasion of the implementation of a system of registration of working hours, company fraudulently and disregarding the processing established in article 41.4 of the Statute of the workers, has modified the existing working conditions to the detriment of the workers prior to the implementation of the hourly register ”.

According to the court, the company did not have an “effective control and monitoring of the work day developed for each worker”, with Galp Energia counting only with “access control, which was used only for security purposes”. Now, workers will be asked to identify the type of breaks on departures using a code , and in the case of coffee, tobacco or breakfast, for example, this time will be deducted from the workday.

In Galp “it was being tolerated, by a policy of business confidence” for workers to leave the facilities to smoke or drink coffee, without the company diducting that time of the day, since there was no effective control and monitoring installed.

But Galp can now regulate and establish new non-working hours that until now were hours included in the work day “unilaterally,” the ruling said.