Spanish employment law does not comply with EU’s Directive on fixed-term work

Looking back over recent employment law developments in Spain, it is apparent that little of significance has changed. This is because, although new general elections took place on 26 June 2016, no government has yet been formed resulting in a lack of noteworthy legislative developments over the last three months.

However, there has been an important case in the European Court of Justice (CJEU) concerning Spanish employment law. The Court decided that Spanish employment law does not comply with EU’s Directive on fixed-term work. The CJEU’s rationale is that Spanish law denies the right of employees hired on relief contracts (a type of fixed-term contract) to receive compensation for termination whilst, at the same time, Spanish legislation establishes a right to compensation for comparable indefinite employees. The CEJU decided that the mere fixed term and duration of the relief contract are not grounds to justify different treatment under the EU’s Directive on fixed-term work.

This CJEU ruling is the subject of heated debate in Spain and its actual impact, and extension to other types of fixed-term employment, is yet to be clarified by Spanish courts (including the one which referred the preliminary ruling to the ECJ) and the legislature (which is unlikely in the short term due to the current political hiatus in Spain).

Read the judgment in Ana de Diego Porras v Ministerio de Defensa here.