MADRID: Spain’s centre-right government made rules on part-time jobs more attractive for employers and decreed other labour market reforms yesterday in a fresh bid to reduce the European Union’s second-highest jobless rate.
Spain is just emerging from five years of economic crisis marked by 26 percent unemployment, just under Greece’s jobless rate. Half of young workers, aged 18 to 25, are unemployed.
A much-applauded labour market reform last year made it cheaper for companies to lay workers off or to reduce their hours and change shifts, and also limited the power of labour unions to negotiate contracts over entire industrial sectors.
A report this week from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of wealthy nations, said those measures had helped slow the pace of job destruction, but urged the government to do more.
The new rules passed will ease restrictions on part-time contracts — which are far less common in Spain than in other European countries, Employment Minister Fatima Banez said at a news conference following the weekly cabinet meeting.
Under current part-time contracts, the employer has little margin to increase or decrease hours or change work shifts or days.