“New” standard employment contracts: real simplification?
Royal Decree-Law 16/2013, of December 20, 2013 on measures to encourage stable hiring and improve the employability of workers was published in the Official State Gazette on December 21, 2013.
This law, which has triggered considerable debate due to the changes introduced in the area of social security (specifically, insofar as the computable items in the contribution base are concerned), points to the need to reduce the administrative burdens associated with hiring, through an “administrative simplification of employment contracts by means of a sizeable reduction in the number of contracts that currently exist”.
Despite the expectations raised in relation to this “simplification” of the contractual framework, the truth is that the measure has basically consisted in creating four standard forms, accessible via the website of the State Public Employment Service (SEPE), which make no changes at all to the substance of the various types of existing contracts.
With this new system, instead of a template for each type of contract and the circumstances associated with the contract (part/full time, contracts qualifying/not qualifying for reductions in employer social security contributions, contracts with disabled workers, etc.), the employer has four standard forms to choose from (permanent, temporary, training and work experience), each with different “specific clauses”.
Thus, if the company wishes to execute a temporary employment contract using the official form, it must access the temporary contract template and, after completing the “general” information (employee’s particulars, position, remuneration, collective labor agreement, etc.), it will need to fill in the “specific clauses” that apply to the type of contract being signed. For example, the standard temporary employment contract has a total of 18 specific clauses available; if it is a casual contract to cover temporary demand, the employer will have to complete the “specific temporary clause due to circumstances of production” (where the reason for the contract should be indicated); if it is a relief contract, the “specific relief clause” will have to be completed (naming the employee that has been replaced and the reason for the replacement); etc.
As can be seen, although it is true that this system, based on a common core of four standard contracts—each with its own specific clauses— is more intuitive and avoids the employer “getting lost” in the morass of contracts that used to be available, the announced simplification is more administrative than regulatory, since the legal regime of the different types of contract remains unchanged.
Garrigues Employment and Labor Law Department