The new shock plan against fraud in temporary hiring was launched on February 22 and its first significant effects are already noticeable. Through this campaign, 60,893 temporary contracts have been transformed into permanent contracts until March 11, according to data from the Labor Inspectorate to which EL PAÍS has had access.
To the figures of the plan, which began with the massive sending of letters to companies in which a possible abuse of eventual employment is detected, we must add another 16,500 conversions so far this year due to the ordinary action of the Inspection.
The abuse of temporary contracts in Spain is the order of the day , so much so that many times it comes to fraud. In order to sign a temporary contract, the Workers’ Statute requires a just cause: a one-off increase in production, the training of an apprentice, or the replacement of an employee on leave.
It is outside the law to hire someone as an exam for a few months, that’s what the trial periods in indefinite contracts are for; neither can an intern be employed on a structural job; nor is it allowed to temporarily hire someone for more than two years in a 30-month period. But these situations are encountered often. They are very widespread irregularities.
To intensify the fight against these abuses, the Labor Inspectorate launched a shock plan on February 22. The campaign consists of the massive sending of a letter to the companies in which possible frauds have been detected requesting the transformation of these temporary contracts into fixed ones. It warns not to do so, an inspector will go to the workplace to check if the alleged illegality is such.
In 2021, that first step consisted of sending letters to 59,129 companies explaining that signs of abuse had been detected in the case of 122,528 workers. From there, a rapid regularization by the companies has begun. Only in the first five days of March they have transformed 46,346 contracts into permanent ones. In total, until March 11, 60,893 had been regularized. These data are not yet final, as the plan is still open.
To detect signs of abuse, the Inspection uses the Anti-Fraud Tool, a technological resource that crosses affiliation data from the Social Security Treasury, those from the SEPE hiring and, on occasions, those from the Tax Agency.
Its use allows to intensify the control of fraud in the temporary, something that costs the Inspection a lot with traditional methods due to the large number of contracts that are signed each year in Spain: under normal conditions more than 20 million are signed. In 2019 it reached 22.5 million. Last year, due to the coronavirus, the figure was 15.9 million.
This shock plan against abuse in temporality is the third to be deployed. Already in 2018 and 2019 there were two precedents . In the first edition, 61,445 contracts were regularized and 80,529 fraud situations were detected. In the second, 59,129 temporary were transformed into fixed.
These plans, together with the regular work of the inspectors, raised conversions to historically high figures, especially in 2018. That year the Inspection forced almost 200,000 temporary conversions into permanent ones.
In parallel to those campaigns, Work deployed two others against part-time employment that covers full hours. These experiences showed that crash plans and the use of the anti-fraud tool are more effective in combating temporary abuse (in 2018, regularization was achieved in 76.3% of the supposedly fraudulent cases) than in the false ones. part-time workdays (barely 17.5% of the situations detected were corrected).
This is due to the greater ease of finding objective signs of irregularities in the interim. In 2021 there is no crash plan against the illegal use of part-time hiring.
Temporality – after the high unemployment rate – is the great problem in the Spanish labor market. Through it, the massive destruction of jobs in crises – as seen in the early stages of the pandemic – seeps in and, in an inverse movement, it is the path through which large (precarious) job creations arrive in the recoveries.
The temporary employment rate in Spain is the highest in the EU: 24% compared to an average of 13%.
Fighting fraud in the private sector is just one way to fix the problem. But this option has limits. One is in the Administration. Temporality in the public sector reaches 30%; in the private sector, 23% . The Inspection can act against companies, but the Administration cannot sanction itself. In addition, to have a permanent public employment you have to pass an examination.
This problem has been pointed out by Brussels in the negotiations with the Government for the reforms that accompany the arrival of European recovery funds. In them, the Commission has pressured the Executive to put an end to the excessive use of interns in the public sector.
However, little is known about the Executive’s plans in this field. More is known about his intentions in the private sector: the Ministry of Labor intends to reinforce the causes in the law, accentuate the control of the Inspection and reduce the types of contracts to three.