The social division of the Spanish Supreme Court ruled an interesting judgment dated on 5th January 2016. The not enjoyed “snack break” should be paid with an additional compensation, although it must not be considered as extra hours. The social courtroom IV of the Supreme Court accepted an appeal of ADIF (railway infrastructure administrator) against the National Court judgment, which established that the rest time for a snack (between 20 and 30 minutes), that cannot be enjoyed by the worker, should be considered as extra hours, since the working hours are increased by the workers who did not enjoy their rest time.

On the judgment ruled by the judge Luis Fernando de Castro, the Supreme Court explains that the snack break which is not enjoyed implies an excess of the required working hours and, therefore, it should be remunerated “not only with the usual payment for the worked time and through the agreed monthly salary, but also with an additional amount according to the applicable provisions”. In the Adif case, the labour regulations of Renfe should be applied, whose article 197 establishes a compensation for whom does not enjoy such break.

However, the Supreme Court disagrees with the National Court and states that the excess cannot be narrowly described and paid as an extra hour, because it is already included and paid in the collectively agreed annual working time, which is of 1720/1728 hours in Adif. So it is a not enjoyed resting time, but it is included in the working hours.

Therefore the worker has the right to receive an additional compensation, besides the standard remuneration for the snack break included in the salary, but it is not considered as an extra hour. Consequently, the Supreme Court dismisses a judgment ruled by the National Court and dismisses also the claim of collective dispute brought by UGT for this issue.

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