Public employees will receive a Christmas basket … only if the Treasury authorizes it | My rights section

Public employees will receive a Christmas basket ... only if the Treasury authorizes it | My rights section

Carry more than 40 years receiving a Christmas basket it is not enough for it to be considered a consolidated right of workers according to a ruling of the National Court in June of this year (you can check the text here), which rejects the request of some employees of the public sector to be recognized their right to continue receiving it.

The staff of the National Currency and Stamp Factory had been enjoying this benefit since 1974, although since 2011 it was received in salary after the agreement reached with the company. The agency stopped making the corresponding payment in 2017, considering that the agreement was null for not having authorization from the Ministry of Finance. The unions then requested that the right of workers to receive the amount corresponding to the basket or, alternatively, the basket itself, be recognized as a salary in kind.

The unilateral decision of the National Factory of Currency and Stamp to suppress it was the origin of the collective dispute that the court decides in favor of the organization. According to the magistrates, the agreement reached to receive in cash the amount of the basket did not comply with the law. The legislation required a mandatory report that was not requested or evacuated before the decision, so it should be considered null.

Law 39/2010, of December 22, of General State Budgets for the year 2011, reiterating what its predecessors had been arranging year after year, indicated that the Ministry of Economy and Finance had to authorize during the first quarter "the wage bill of the ministerial departments, agencies, state agencies, public business entities and other public entities." The same law established that during 2011 it would be necessary to favorable report by the Ministries of Economy and Finance and of Territorial Policy and Public Administration to proceed to determine or modify the remuneration conditions of the labor personnel and non-civil servant to the service of "the remaining public business entities and the rest of the organisms and public entities".

It is not an acquired right

Nor did it come back to the custom of delivering the typical Christmas basket because, according to the court, it could not be considered that the employees had acquired a consolidated right to demand it. As the sentence says, this form of salary in kind could not be recognized as an acquired right "given the restrictive tenor with which the figure was contemplated in the public sector".

The court adds that, even if it had not been like that, it was "legally unviable" recognize a right that had arisen illegally, that is, admit as a more beneficial condition the business practice of granting the Christmas bonus without having the required authorization. Ultimately, he concludes, it was not possible to legalize this custom even if it had been extended for years, nor to consider that the nullity of the agreement rekindled the unequivocal will of the employer to deliver the basket as retribution in kind.


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