Back-to-back temporary contracts and Supreme Court case law
In its judgment of May 15, 2015 (appeal number 878/2014), the Supreme Court analyzed whether or not essential unity is present in an employment relationship where there is an interruption between two temporary contracts, in the case in question of 45 days.
Traditionally the courts have taken the view that, when there is an interruption of more than 20 business days between two temporary contracts, this interrupts the employment relationship and gives rise to a new one. This is based on the reasoning that this period (20 business days) is the time limit for a dismissal action.
The Supreme Court has taken a different view, however, in the above-mentioned judgment. In it, the court considered that the relevant point for determining the existence or not of the essential unity of an employment relationship did not depend on the arithmetical precision of the length of interruptions between successive temporary contracts, but rather on the existence of continuity in the employment relationship.
Therefore, an interruption that exceeds 20 business days does not automatically give rise to a new employment relationship, as it may be deemed that there has been just one employment relationship since the first contract despite the interruption.
Estrella Méndez Rocamora
Garrigues Labor and Employment Department