Spain is working on a legislative change to take climate change into account in labour regulations. In concrete terms, this means that in extreme heat or cold, activities such as outdoor work are limited or even prohibited.
Minister Yolanda Díaz of Employment announced on Wednesday 10 May that mandatory measures are being taken to protect employees in, for example, extremely high temperatures. According to the minister, the government cannot ignore climate change and must take this into account in labour regulations. “Performing certain professions should be banned when the Aemet declares code orange or red,” Díaz said on Wednesday.
Cleaner died after hours of work in heat Madrid
In the past, several employees, who mainly worked for cleaning companies and waste collection services, have died in Spain as a result of the heat. One of the most recent examples is the death of an employee of Madrid’s municipal cleaning service when he was working outside in July 2022 in a temperature of over 40 degrees. Thanks to this amendment to the law, it will no longer be allowed for these people to work outside in extreme heat, but also not in cold or other unfavourable weather forecasts.
Predictions Aemet leading in setting restrictive measures
The indicator for this will be when the Spanish weather service declares the Aemet code orange or red due to heat, cold or other adverse weather conditions. When making these regulations, not only the predicted weather is taken into account, but also the job the employee is performing, the age of the employee and how healthy he or she is.
Measures shorten or cancel the working day in extreme weather
The measures mean that certain activities may no longer be carried out during certain hours of the day when there are unfavourable weather conditions. For example, it becomes mandatory to shorten or even cancel the working day if the Aemet announces code orange or red.
Ministry sources say that the proposed measures are likely to be approved on Thursday, May 11. However, an extraordinary Council of Ministers will also consider these measures, as this council is currently also dealing with measures against the extreme drought that Spain has been dealing with for years.