The labor reform and the impact on agriculture

Since April 1, the agricultural sector has been concerned about the management of contracts posed by the labour reform of Royal Decree-Law 5/2022, of March 22.

The reality of agriculture

The adaptation of employment contracts to the temporality of the field is an issue that is not reflected in the new 2022 labor reform. With the disappearance of contracts for works and services, replaced by indefinite or fixed discontinuous ones, a serious problem arises for farmers, large and small.

Contracts of temporary duration will be conditioned to circumstances of production and substitutions of workers due to sick leave.

  • They may not exceed 90 days per year.
  • They cannot be done continuously.
  • The legal representative of the workers must receive an annual forecast from the employer.
  • Temporary work and service contracts prior to April 1 may not last more than six months

Given the situation, some farmers will resort to mechanizing their crops in planting, maintenance and harvesting. Others will not be able to do so for economic reasons and others because harvesting or planting cannot be done mechanically. Like for example the collection of certain fruits.

An agricultural plantation has its tillage on certain dates and variables depending on the type of crop and the weather. You may need to increase the number of people needed for the tillage or reduce it depending on many factors. Always considering that most are done outdoors.

The works therefore depend:

  • Of the type of cultivation.
  • The amount of land.
  • The weather, especially tasks that cannot be carried out with rain or excessive heat.
  • The need to harvest the fruit by hand and therefore not be able to apply technology.
  • Not having technology to replace labor.
  • The short duration of the activity such as tree pruning.
  • The outpatient nature of the workers available for these tasks.
  • Temporality does not exactly mean precariousness.

Specific points of the labor reform that are worrying

It is advisable to modify Royal Decree 1435/1985, of August 1, in order to avoid abuses in temporary hiring and in the concatenation of seasonal contracts, as well as encourage their transformation into indefinite or temporary contracts. discontinuous fixed adapted to the reality of the professional activity carried out.

(Section 1, section c, BOE-March 23, 2022)

It is guaranteed that the contract will be for an indefinite period of time in those cases in which the work to be carried out is of that nature, setting the necessary limits to restrict the abusive use of temporary contracts, penalizing the chaining of temporary contracts and fraudulent use of temporary hiring.

(Section II, section b, BOE-March 23, 2022)

The disappearance of work and service contracts, the need for a correspondence between the temporary nature of the bond and the temporary nature of the work to be performed, the strict causality of contracts by production circumstances , as well as the review of the mechanisms to strengthen the fight against fraud in recruitment, make it necessary to adopt the necessary reforms as soon as possible.

(Section VI, BOE-March 23, 2022)

Section 3 of article 151 of the consolidated text of the General Social Security Law, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 8/2015, of October 30, is modified in the following terms:

This additional contribution will not apply to the contracts referred to in this article, when they are entered into with workers included in the Special System for Agricultural Employees, in the Special System for Domestic Employees, in the Special Regime for Coal Mining, or in the special employment relationship of artists who carry out their activity in the performing, audiovisual and musical arts, as well as people who carry out activities, techniques or auxiliaries necessary for the development of said activity; or substitution contracts

(Article 11,BOE-March 23, 2022 )

Complaints about the labor reform in the agrarian sector

The complaints of the associations of farmers are motivated by the comparison with other sectors such as the artistic ones that have special recognitions.

Also with the union organizations for not having agreed on this problem when analyzing the changes of the labor reform.

The disappearance of the works and service contract that is usual in the field makes the concern maximum.

From the agricultural sector it is understood that the worker needs legal protection, but it is very difficult for it to have an indefinite character when the tasks are so variable.

Alternative formulas adapted to the sector must be sought, understanding that it is necessary to avoid excessive and unlimited temporary work, but that does not imply that it is dispensed with.



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