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José Ramón Pin, Professor, IESE, University of Navarra

Express dismissal or goal?

Thu, 24 Jun 2010 10:53:44 +0000 Published in El Economista (Madrid)

The Government intends that the employer, with the validation of Royal Decree-Law 10/2010 on Labor Reform, calculates: "I am going to pay eight days less for dismissal , they are paid by Fogasa" Is that so?

Let us see the requirements. First, the dismissal must be for objective causes (Articles 51 and 52 of the Workers' Statute and 64 of the Bankruptcy Law 22/2003); demonstrate that the reduction of the workforce is necessary due to economic or organizational needs and that it is accepted by the labor authority. Second, the contract must have lasted more than one year. Third, the contracts must have been entered into as from entrance in force of the RD-l.

In the EREs, it is possible that it is worth the effort, they are cases of "force majeure". And in individual dismissals?

Dismissal for disciplinary causes, called express, fair or unfair dismissal, is widely used. In the case of fair dismissal, there is no severance pay, but it is almost non-existent. For this reason, the employer usually accepts the unfair dismissal and pays 45 days (with a maximum of 42 months) in indefinite contracts. It is expensive, but fast; a good part of these dismissals are made in this way.

In the contracts of Fomento del employment, which are now extended, it is not clear. According to article 3 of RD-l, their compensation for unfair dismissal for objective causes is 33 days (with a maximum of 24 months) and does not clarify whether Fogasa will then pay the eight days; it seems that it will not, but we will have to wait for the regulatory interpretation.

The question is: will it be worthwhile to allege objective causes in individual dismissals? Will the current practice change and will the judge recognize them widely, especially the organizational ones? We will have to wait for case law to find out.

Ah! and everything will disappear if the Austrian model is approved by law within a year; that is to say, before these contracts have lasted one year, a prerequisite for the payment of Fogasa. A mess or... a joke?