On December 30, 2021, Royal Decree-Law 32/2021, of December 28, on urgent measures for labor reform, the guarantee of job stability and the transformation of the labor market, was published in the BOE, which entered into force the day following its publication, except for the provisions relating to the contracting modalities that will enter into force as of March 30, 2022. This Royal Decree implies the modification of different articles of the Workers’ Statute, being one of the most controversial aspects the modification of the regulation of temporary hiring.

The most relevant aspects to take into account of this reform are:

  • Reorganization of the modalities of temporary hiring: the guarantee of job stability and the transformation of the labor market, modifies articles 15 and 16 of the ET to generalize the use of the permanent contract and limit the use of the temporary contract, eliminating contracts for specific work and service, temporary and interim ones, and establishing the causes of the fixed-term contract. Likewise, a new regulation is established for the training contract and for the discontinuous fixed one, as well as the new indefinite contract assigned to work in the construction sector.
  1. Fixed-term contracts: as of March 30, 2022, there will be a legal presumption that the contract is for an indefinite period. The use of the fixed-term contract is only allowed in the following cases:
  • By production circumstances, understood as such: the occasional and unpredictable increase and fluctuations (including holidays) that, even though being the normal activity of the company, generate a temporary imbalance. Its maximum duration will be six months, extendable for another six months if so established by the collective agreement.
  • To attend to occasional, foreseeable circumstances, with a reduced and delimited duration. As many contracts as necessary can be concluded to attend to the specific situation, but for a maximum of 90 days in the calendar year, these days cannot be continuous
  • By substitution of a working person in the following cases: person with the right to reserve the job, which may be held with a maximum notice of 15 days before the absence of the person replaced and extending its duration until the reinstatement of this last one; to complete the reduced hours of a working person; for the temporary coverage of a job until its definitive coverage, and in this case its duration cannot exceed 3 months.

The contracts to obtain the professional practice may be concluded up to three years after obtaining the certification and will last between six months and one year.

  1. Training contracts: they have two modalities:
  • Training contracts in alternation that allow the compatibility of paid work activity with training processes to obtain a certain level of studies, not only in the professional field, but also university studies. It can be celebrated with working people under 30 years of age, unless it is subscribed within the framework of level 3 professionalism certificates or training cycles and professional specialization courses, in which case there will be no age limit. The working day will not exceed 65% the first year nor 85% the second year and the remuneration will be adapted to the agreement and cannot be less than 60% the first year or 75% the second year. Its duration may not be less than 3 months or more than 2 years.
  • Contracts to obtain the professional practice that may be entered into with whoever has a university degree or intermediate or higher degree, master’s degree or certificate of the professional training system, being able to be concluded within 3 years (5 in the case of people with disability) after the completion of their studies. Its duration may not exceed one year.
  1. Fixed discontinuous contracts: may be entered into in three cases:
  • To carry out work of a seasonal nature or related to seasonal productive activities
  • For the development of works that are not seasonal in nature but that are of intermittent provision with certain execution periods.
  • To provide services within the framework of the execution of commercial or administrative contracts that, being foreseeable, form part of the ordinary activity of the company. In this case, the period of inactivity can only occur as a waiting period for relocation, with a maximum of 3 months of inactivity.
  1. The indefinite contract assigned to work (construction sector) whose purpose is the tasks or services whose aim and result are linked to works. Upon completion, the workers must be relocated to a new work.
  • Redefinition of disincentives to contracts of very short duration, so that those companies that terminate a worker with a temporary contract who has carried out his activity for a period of less than 30 days, will be penalized with an additional charge of 26 euros in the social security contribution, for each working person.
  • New internal flexibility mechanisms in companies: Social Security exemptions and training incentives are established, with the aim of promoting the continuity of stable labor relations, avoiding temporary employment and reducing layoffs in crisis or reconversion situations, following the model used during the pandemic that benefits both workers and companies. Thus:

(I) The existing ERTE model is reviewed, with the following regulation:

  • In the ERTE ETOP, the consultation period is reduced to 7 days for companies that employ less than 50 workers, the prohibitions of overtime and outsourcing of the ERTE COVID are incorporated.
  • In the ERTE of Force Majeure, the reduction of working hours will be between 10 and 70%; during the period of validity, the company may affect and disable workers. The guarantees in the employment of the current ERTE COVID are maintained.
  • The RED mechanism is created and must be activated by the Council of Ministers, with the companies being able to host prior consultation period and concurrence of causes. Workers will receive 70% of the regulatory base throughout the period and companies will be able to access social security exemptions. 2 different modalities are regulated:
  • Cyclical: when a macroeconomic situation appears that advises the adoption of stabilization instruments.
  • Sectorial: to which companies can avail themselves when a sector appreciates changes that generate needs for requalification and professional transition.
  • Regarding collective agreements, it is established that:
  • The ultra-activity of the agreements is recovered, whose conditions will be maintained even after their validity has expired.
  • Regarding salary, the conditions established in the company agreements will not have priority over the sectoral agreement.
  • Regarding subcontracting, it is established that the new regulatory framework between contractor companies and subcontractors will determine that there will always be an applicable sectoral agreement if so determined by collective negotiation (that of the activity carried out by the main company or another), unless the contractor’s business agreement determines better conditions than the applicable sectoral agreement
  • Audit on the results: A periodic evaluation of the effectiveness of the new standard will be carried out every two years, by analyzing the results obtained from the temporary and indefinite hiring in January 2025, proceeding to the official publication of the rate of general temporality and by sectors.

If you need more information, you can contact our Labor Department.