Spain tackles abuse of temporary jobs

Servers who string together contracts from week to week; a staff of the public school canteen whose contract ends each year on the eve of the summer holidays to resume at the start of the school year; construction workers who are recruited only for the indefinite duration of the work of a building; not to mention the plethora of employees of all kinds, hired from Monday to Friday so that their employer, sometimes the public administration itself, avoids paying them on weekends … In Madrid, the left-wing government led by the socialist Pedro Sanchez has taken ambitious measures to limit these abuses, under pressure from the European Union (EU), which has made it a condition the payment of funds from the recovery plan. And for good reason. Spain is the EU country with the highest proportion of employees covered by a temporary contract.

According to Eurostat, 24.2% of Spanish employees have a fixed-term contract (CDD), a service, work, seasonal, occasional or daily contract, while in the EU, temporary jobs represent, on average, 13.5% of the total (15.3% in France). Worse, nearly a third of contracts signed in Spain have a duration of less than seven days, according to the Spanish Institute of Statistics.

While the rate of temporary employment is often associated with the peculiarities of the Spanish productive fabric, and in particular the weight of the services and tourism sector, the fact is that all sectors of activity are concerned, including public administration. , where 30% of employees have a temporary contract.

To put an end to this anomaly, the government approved, on December 28, 2021, a decree law of urgent measures for the reform of the work, the guarantee of the stability of employment and the transformation of the labor market. Now he is looking for support in Parliament to validate it.

“Historic” agreement

The text is the result of an agreement “Historical” between the major trade union centers and the main employers ‘associations on a common text, according to the General Secretary of the Workers’ Commissions, Unai Sordo. Fixed-term contracts must be justified beforehand by the employer according to production needs and limited to a period of six months (extendable up to one year), unless they are intended to replace an absent employee. People who spend eighteen months on fixed-term contracts in the same company in the space of two years are automatically reclassified on permanent contracts. Used massively in the construction sector, but also through subcontracting companies, “contracts for works and services”, the end of which is not stipulated and can therefore be notified at any time – and whose end is duration could extend up to four years -, simply disappear.

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