There is less left for the end of the year and every day we witness with concern the evolution that the announced labor reform seems to be taking. It is not just a question of disagreements in the necessary social dialogue, above all it is about assessing the impact it may have on employment.
There seems to be a consensus that this labor reform must try to resolve, above all, the problem of high rates of unemployment and temporary employment of our labor market. And no one is unaware that behind these needs there are also many others, if we want to redirect the -increasingly diminishing- indicators of economic recovery: greater flexibilitywhich allows the necessary competitiveness of companies and the growth of more sustainable and quality employment, the fight against the shadow economy and the necessary budget balance and control of expenses to maintain public services and guarantee benefits in the future.
initiatives to limit unjustified temporality they have had various approaches in our recent history, making causality more rigid, economically penalizing contracting (surcharge on contributions and severance pay at the end of the contract), or limiting the chaining of contracts. To date, none of the measures proposed to correct temporality has been successful and it does not seem that “more of the same” will solve the problem.
The latest proposals from the Government of limit temporary hiring to 15% of all sectors, abolish contracting modalities, force the use of discontinuous fixed rates to a maximum or the last one of tripling the contributions of professional contingencies due to the termination of any type of fixed-term contract, it does not seem that they are going to have another result than that of one undesirable scythe for existing employment, and for the possibilities of creating new jobs.
Therefore, it is necessary to “reset” the approach of possible solutions, be more disruptive, and above all, learn from what already works successfully in other countries of the European Union. In this sense, an unexplored formula should be to give more prominence to private employment agencies.
An unexplored formula should be to give more prominence to private employment agencies
Indeed, this sector is a key player in the European economies, helping to equalize job supply and demand and promoting more inclusive and dynamic labor markets. The solvency guarantees in our country are based on having been pioneers among the states of the Union in essential aspects such as equal treatment, both in remuneration conditions and in guarantees in matters of safety and health, where its accident rate indicators have already improved those of the rest of the temporary contract.
The figures are convincing: temporary employment agencies have not only been demonstrating a greater orientation and hiring capacity for the insertion of the unemployed, but one in three workers ends up with an indefinite contract in the user companies. But in the Europe that we double in terms of unemployment and temporary employment, paradoxically, the participation of private employment agencies in temporary hiring triples the figures for our country.
In Europe, the participation of private employment agencies in temporary hiring triples the figures for our country
Given the evidence of the facts, the sector of temporary employment agencies has already applied as part of the solution. Making it possible for them to hire workers indefinitely for a renewed employment agency for transfers of a stable nature, participating in the contracting of discontinuous fixed lines for discontinuous fixed availabilitymaking it easier for short-term contracts -including those in the part-time mode- to be carried out preferably through agencies, and allowing them to be carried out training contracts for making available in different user companies.
These proposals would give greater hiring stabilitywould help to adjust temporary employment to real and truly temporary needs, would reduce the cost of public coffers in terms of unemployment benefits and active policies, and would prevent fraud and the precarization of -veterans and new- forms of work, facilitating the transition to stable employment and improving the employability of workers, through continuous training and guidance.
As Europe emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, actions that will support recovery are critical. Allowing the private employment agency sector to play a leading role in promoting more dynamic, inclusive and adaptable labor markets is an opportunity to favor the recovery of the economy, and to improve our labor market and make it more resilient in the face of “new normal”.
*** Francisco Javier Blasco de Luna is director of the Adecco Group Institute.