Labour Markets and Employment Policy series
Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly
Chapter 6: Flexibility in the Spanish labour market: working time and temporary employment
Inmaculada Cebrián, María Ángeles Davia, Virginia Hernanz and Gloria Moreno It is widely agreed, as Fagan and Lallement (2000) note, that the persistence of high unemployment levels in Europe has encouraged the widespread adoption of work-sharing policies. The main tools used have been working-time reductions, part-time work, replacement practices and the relaxation of restrictions on temporary contracts. This chapter examines the role played by these tools in the ﬂexibilization of the Spanish labour market. European countries can be divided into at least three diﬀerent groups, depending on the main work-sharing strategy adopted. Anxo and O’Reilly (2000) group countries on the basis of their mode of regulating ﬂexible working-time practices. Thus ﬂexibility in Sweden and the Netherlands is characterized as ‘negotiated’ and in France and Spain as ‘statist’, while the mode of regulation in Ireland and the UK is described as ‘externally constrained voluntarism’. However, these typologies would change somewhat if the criterion adopted was the main tools used by diﬀerent countries to promote working-time ﬂexibility. One group would include those countries that have sought to reduce the maximum working time, for instance, by setting a maximum weekly working time, as has happened in France, where the so-called ‘Aubry laws’ introduced the 35-hour week. A second group would consist of those countries that have opted to reduce individual working time, for example by encouraging part-time work, as in the Netherlands (Gorter, 2000). A third group would include those countries that have used temporary work as the main...
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