A Spanish judge in a district administrative court in Alicante has ruled that an employee of the Alicante municipality who had been working in an interim capacity for thirteen years was entitled to receive salary and full benefits commensurate with full-time permanent employment.
The finding by the judge of Alicante’s Administrative Litigation Court No. 4 applied European Union law in the case, ruling against the municipality for paying a worker in long-term employment at the lesser interim-employee rate in order to avoid paying the higher salary scale and benefits due to the employee.
The court ruling is the first of its kind in Spain since the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in March in a similar case involving two workers paid as interim employees during full-time work over a period of 12 years. The ECJ, which is the highest court within the EU, ordered retroactive compensation in that case for the years worked and that the workers be employed at the full-time permanent rate with corresponding benefits.
The ruling by the judge in Alicante ordered the municipal council to upgrade the employees’ pay and benefits to the equivalent of a full-time permanent employee, regardless of whether or not the city administration wishes to consider her as such.
Activists who have protested the abuse of interim employees in the public and private sectors in Spain have said the Alicante case opens the door to what could be an avalanche of rulings by judges across Spain that could favorably impact as many as 1 million interim employees nationwide.
Alicante’s municipal council responded to the court ruling saying that it is going to appeal the sentence.
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