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ECHR ruling on refusal to adapt working time to child care

February 19th 2013

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of García Mateos v. Spain (application no. 38285/09), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time) combined with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned a supermarket employee, who asked for a reduction in her working time because she had to look after her son, who was then under six years old.

The Court found that the violation of the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sex, as established by the Constitutional Court’s ruling in favour of Ms García Mateos, had never been remedied on account of the non-enforcement of the relevant decision and the failure to provide her with compensation. The applicant submitted a compensation claim only because she no longer qualified for a working-time reduction, her child having passed the applicable age limit for this. The Constitutional Court, having refused her compensation, did not give her any indication about the possibility of taking her claim to any other administrative or judicial body. The Court was thus of the view that the protection afforded by the Constitutional Court’s ruling had ultimately proved illusory.

Read more here.