Workers on fixed discontinuous contracts: the unemployed counted as employed by the government

US unemployment

Being on a fixed discontinuous contract means a worker has a recurrent seasonal job and therefore works and is registered with the Social Security during the periods when the employer needs him and he is actually working; while in the periods when he is not registered, he can work somewhere else on another contract, or be collecting unemployment benefits… or neither of the two. The only thing that is clear is that, after the period of inactivity, the permanent seasonal worker is called back by the employer to carry out the seasonal work. If this call by the employer does not happen, it is as if the worker has been unfairly dismissed and must be compensated with 33 days’ pay per year worked.

The labour market has been transformed over the past year as a result of the labour reform, which has now been in force for a year. And it could be said that the fixed-term contract is the rising star of permanent contracts. At the end of the year, Spain had 13.4 million workers with a permanent contract, of which 830,000 were fixed discontinuous contracts. And half of that figure – 450,000 – have been signed in the last year.

The main opposition party, the Partido Popular, claims that the good employment figures are partly camouflaged by the weight of fixed discontinuous contracts. The official response of the Ministry of Labour is that there is no make-up, since the way the statistics for these contracts is compiled has been the same since 1985. The “problem” is that this type of contract used to be residual, and now it is not.

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The Corner
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