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Missing the point of labour reform

| News | Employment Law and Social Security

Alfredo Aspra analyzes the current legislative situation in labor matters in an article published by Expansión

Hold on, there are curves coming! We are witnessing, at least some, once again and despite the situation of certain legislative chaos in employment matters that we are currently experiencing, we are stunned by the news that labour reform is still a top priority and that, before the end of the year, a number of amendments are to be undertaken under the slogan "the reconstruction of our country requires taking firm steps in the protection and promotion of stable and quality employment".

We are talking about such relevant and important issues as: a) giving priority to the application of sectoral collective agreements over company ones again, especially in terms of wages; b) recovering ultra-activity and, therefore, in essence, maintaining indefinitely the validity of a collective agreement until another one is approved; c) limiting the subcontracting of article 42 of the Workers' Statute, fixing which services can be used in this mechanism, as well as the agreements that will govern such employment relations; d) reviewing the mechanism of the opt-out provided for in article 82. 3 so that it is only applicable to the agreed salary where there are serious and irreversible economic causes; and (e) regulation of certain relationships such as that of staff on digital platforms and new forms of service provision.

The above, of course, without prejudice to the current labour reforms underway and, of course, not negligible, such as the Teleworking Law, the royal decrees that will develop the Equality Law and the Wage Register, or the possible extension of the furlough scheme for Covid-19 reasons.

Leaving aside the appropriateness or otherwise of such measures, what seems clear is that with the current situation we are experiencing, would it not be much more wise, useful and effective to focus on trying to legislate properly to try to overcome such a complex situation, marked by an unprecedented health and economic crisis together, than to continue to contribute to uncertainty and discouragement - especially but not only business - with more and more factors and rules tending towards rigidity in the employment market?

Joining forces

Does anyone believe that this type of action attracts investment, business projects or encourages the entrepreneurial spirit to continue maintaining employment at all costs? Is it reasonable that at this point the possibility of continuing to apply furlough schemes in those companies whose activity is still largely affected by the Covid-19 has not yet been extended, considering that the current regulations come to an end on the 30th? The reasonable and prudent thing to do before taking hasty decisions whose consequences are irreparable and unpredictable because of their depth would be to combine all efforts to return to a situation of some normality and, from there, with caution, moderation and appropriate debate, adopt measures. Is now really the right time to proceed with a remodelling of the system of contracting and/or subcontracting of Article 42 of the Workers' Statute or to remodel the system of collective bargaining in its entirety?

I do not want to fail to mention the need to regulate a Teleworking Law that responds to an ordinary situation given its calling, I want to think of the future and, therefore, leave aside the current exceptional and extraordinary situation of the employment market characterised by the pandemic, where, from the different authorities and especially the health authorities, taking extreme precautions to avoid personal contact is recommended.

Be careful not to let the commonly known Teleworking Law achieve a perverse effect and, instead of encouraging and contributing to companies being able to feed virtual work during this unusual and abnormal situation, they are pushed into a dead end where they cannot arbitrate decisions in favour of facilitating the employment transition during it, due to the cost that this may entail. Please be prudent and moderate.

You can read the article in Expansión

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