The Supreme Court knocks down temporary contracts linked to subcontractors

The Social Chamber of the Supreme Court has modified its doctrine and rejects in a sentence released this Thursday the temporary limitation of employment contracts in response to commercial contracts of companies, according to Europa Press.

The boom in employment in the COVID-19 crisis once again shows the problem of great temporary employment in Spain

The boom in employment in the COVID-19 crisis again shows the problem of great temporary employment in Spain

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Since the end of the 90s, jurisprudence had been admitting that the contract for a specific work or service can adjust its duration to that of the contract. This criterion is abandoned by the sentence, of which the magistrate María Lourdes Arastey Sahún has been the rapporteur, and which has been adopted unanimously in the Plenary of the Chamber on December 15.

Thus, the high court indicates that those who offer services to third parties develop their essential activity through contracting with them and, therefore, it is illogical to hold that the bulk of that activity has the exceptional character to which the contract for work or service must attend.

The ruling states that it is difficult to continue maintaining that the company can support the essence of its activity in a workforce subject to the regime of indeterminacy of labor relations.

The magistrates add that the automation of this temporary hiring, by the mere mechanism of the type of activity, can lead to situations of jeopardizing the guarantees sought by European Union law.

Finally, they recall that the legislator has designed other instruments to meet the variability of the company’s needs and make decisions about the size of the workforce.

Temporality: job destruction and lower wages

To understand the consequences of temporary employment in the Spanish economy, it is only necessary to remember that of the 900,000 jobs destroyed in the last fortnight of March, during the crisis caused by the coronavirus in Spain, more than two thirds were temporary. Specifically, 613,250 workers with temporary contracts, while the decrease in affiliates with permanent contracts was 223,353 people. This data reveals once again one of the biggest problems in the Spanish labor market: the high temporality.

When the economic situation worsens, and even more so in the face of a crisis of this caliber, the employment adjustment comes hand in hand with the storms, with the rapid destruction of jobs for the most vulnerable workers.

In addition, workers on temporary contracts tend to have lower wages. Excessive temporary employment is an evil in the Spanish labor market, but it especially affects young people. In 2019, the average salary of workers with a temporary contract, despite increasing much more than permanent contracts, is far from those with a permanent contract: Although for temporary contracts it rose 6%, to 1,479.38 euros per month, There is still a great distance with the average of 2,162.53 euros per month of the fixed, whose salary rose 0.9% last year.


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