Business 28/06/2021

Interim civil servants' contracts will become permanent after three years in post

Supreme Court rectifies and now considers unlimited renewal of temporary contracts illegal

1 min
Nurses of the night shift at the Hospital Josep Trueta, in an archive image.

First victory for interim civil servants working for the public administration. The Supreme Court has agreed that interim civil servants' contracts will become permanent after three years posted to the same position. With this decision the Supreme Court rectifies its own doctrine in relation to the duration of the interim contract after the Court of Justice of the European Union (TEU) declared the Spanish legislation that allows unlimited renewal of temporary contracts in the public sector pending a selection processes for which there is no specific fixed term contrary to European law.

The decision of the fourth chamber of the Supreme Court has been unanimous and specifies that, for all purposes, a duration of more than three years of interim contract has to be considered "unjustifiably long", a fact that will entail that the interim worker will from that moment hold the status of a worker on a permanent contract.

In a ruling, which has been made known this Monday - even though the details are yet to emerge - the high court also makes it clear that the computation of such a period cannot be interrupted by the budgetary rules on hiring civil servants, since it claims that giving interim workers permanent positions does not involve a budgetary increase.

It should be remembered that the Spanish government is working on a decree to minimise temporary employment in public administrations. The executive will not allow more than 8% of temporary contracts in a maximum period of three years. According to Catalonia's Interim Woerkers Platform (PIC), the Catalan administrations (not only the Generalitat) currently have 95,000 temporary workers. To reduce the temporary employment rate to 8%, the Catalan administrations would have to eliminate 71,250 temporary positions.