Work inspectors may start to carry out surprise bar inspections at any time of day!

Inspectors from the Directorate of Work will start to carry out surprise inspections on bars and tourism related businesses at “any hour” of the day or night to catch workers who are working without a contract, or who are not contracted to work during those hours.

The announcement was tucked away inside the draft Inspection Plan for 2018-2020 which was published this week, according to national newspaper El Economista. If no objections are lodged, the Plan will take effect as from mid August of this year.

In other words: Don’t be surprised if you suddenly get a night-time or weekend inspection in your bar, even if you are full and busy trying to serve clients! Inspectors will try to avoid disrupting your business, but you will have to fully cooperate with them.

Currently Inspectors only carried out inspections outside of normal working hours when they had an “active suspicion” that illegal work was being carried out. This will change, with Inspectors being assigned shift duty outside of normal business hours, on the weekend and on festival days.

Work inspectors will be allowed to call upon the Police to back them up in the course of their duties according to the Inspection Plan. As part of their duties, they will also check issues of health and safety to ensure that workers are in a safe working environment.

The Plan also orders the Directorate to crack down on “false autónomos”, or the self-employed who work mainly for one employer. The deception is carried out in order to save the employer social security and other taxes involved in employing the person.

And finally the Inspectors will be ordered to check work contracts to find workers who are working outside of their contracted working hours, or who appear to be working more hours than are being declared on their work contract.

The changes have been ordered by the new Socialist government of Spain, who say they intend to use sanctions to correct irregular working practices carried out by employers. The national government intends to carry out a round of consultations in order to modify these sanctions and in some cases increase the fines levied on companies who give fraudulent or in bad faith work contracts.

If you experience a surprise inspection….

we recommend that you always cooperate with the Inspectors. They will want to identify all the workers on the premises, and may carry out on-the-spot health and safety checks. You will normally be permitted to present paperwork at a later date, and will be given a written list of what the Inspectors want to see. If you fail to cooperate with the Inspector, they have the right to request backup from the Police to carry out their inspection.

Maria Luisa

María Luisa Cervantes is a chartered accountant who graduated from the University of Granada in 2002. Founder of Cervantes Alarcón Consulting, she is an experienced accountant and financial advisor who is a member of the Almería guild of economists. With more than 15 years of experience in business administration and international trade, she is also a subject matter expert in the UK - Spanish bilateral agreements which cover the rights of expats to live, work and retire in Spain.