After the open hiring bar that many companies had in 2020 and 2021, now comes the hangover of layoffs and internal restructuring to deal with oversized workforces in a scenario of cost containment. The rounds of dismissals are no longer massive, but since 2021 there is a modality that has not stopped growing discreetly: disciplinary dismissal.
Disciplinary dismissal. For a company to unilaterally terminate an employee’s contract, it must provide a justified reason. From this reason it is determined whether it is an appropriate dismissal (with justified cause), unfair or void. The severance pay that the employee will or will not receive will depend on the type of dismissal and the company’s argument and whether it is demonstrable.
Article 54 and 55 of the Workers’ Statute includes the terms of disciplinary dismissal. The employment contract may be terminated by decision of the employer, through dismissal based on a serious and culpable breach by the worker. The following will be considered contractual breaches:
Repeated and unjustified absences of attendance or punctuality at work. Indiscipline or disobedience at work. Verbal or physical offenses to the employer or to the people who work in the company or to family members who live with them. The violation of contractual good faith, as well as the abuse of trust in the performance of work. The continued and voluntary decrease in normal or agreed work performance. Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction does have a negative impact on work. Harassment based on racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation and sexual or gender-based harassment of the employer or people who work in the company.
It is important to highlight that it is not enough to allege a disciplinary cause for the dismissal to become effective, since the employee can always resort to legal means so that justice can assess whether the arguments and evidence are conclusive. If they are not, the court could declare the dismissal void or unfair and establish compensation for the employee that they would not otherwise receive.
The number of disciplinary dismissals skyrockets. According to the Statistics of the Social Security Treasury, the number of disciplinary dismissals has not stopped growing in the last year. Between July 2021 and December 2021, the number of dismissals for disciplinary reasons ranged between 20,821 and 27,853 cases. However, starting in 2022, the evolution of cases has been constant, with the number of dismissals doubling in 2023 for this reason.
The most notable rebound occurred in September 2022, with 49,325 disciplinary dismissals and the year ended with a total of 444,492 files for this reason, compared to the 278,671 cases registered in 2021. From January to July 2023, 309,205 dismissals have already been registered For this reason, the trend indicates that the year will end with a figure higher than that of 2022.
Increase in disciplinary dismissals between July 2021 and July 2023
Labor reform and indefinite contracts. It is enough to observe the statistical graph to realize that the increase in the number of cases coincides in time with the entry into force of the labor reform in January 2022. In this labor reform, a series of labor contract models with the in order to reduce temporality and strengthen indefinite or longer-term contracts. It seems that the companies’ response was to look for a loophole in the regulations to cover the gap previously occupied by temporary contracts.
Data from the Social Security Treasury indicate that, of the 309,205 disciplinary dismissals registered between January and July 2023, 90.8% of them fell on employees with indefinite contracts, while 27,859 of them were disciplinary dismissals with temporary contracts. .
Disciplinary dismissals by type of contract. Permanent employees account for 90.8% of the total
Don’t call it indefinite when you mean temporary.. What the data clearly reflects is a misuse of labor contracts, in which companies are using indefinite contracts as if they were temporary, to then undermine the labor rights of workers. With the previous temporary contract model, the employee received compensation of 12 days per year, so he had minimal protection. With the new model, the possibilities of dismissal without the right to compensation are very high given the amounts and the slowness of the judicial processes.
“A worker who has been working for six months, and if we go to the minimum salary ranges, it is not worth it to complain because the lawyer is more expensive than what he can finally receive,” declares Jorge Puente, lawyer for the College of Administrative Managers of Spain to The Objective.
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