The Government repeals the dismissal for accumulation of justified medical leave

The Council of Ministers has repealed today article 52.d of the Workers' Statute that allows employers the objective dismissal of a worker for accumulating justified medical leave through a Royal Decree-law. As of tomorrow, when the standard is published, it will be in force.

The repeal of this article It was already announced by the Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, shortly after coming to office but has been approved today after going through the appropriate administrative procedures.

This article, which was modified with the 2012 labor reform, establishes that an employment contract may be terminated due to lack of assistance to work, still justified but intermittent, that reaches 20% of the working days in two consecutive months, provided that the total absence of assistance in the previous twelve months reaches the 5% of working hours or 25% in four discontinuous months within a 12 month period.

The deletion of 52.d occurs after the Constitutional Court, in a known ruling at the end of October, endorsed the termination of the contract Labor for objective reasons if there are justified but intermittent absences.

It is repealed, not modified or replaced

What is approved today is the repeal of the article, not its modification or its replacement by another text. In this way, the dismissal for accumulation of justified medical leave will cease to be an objective cause for the dismissal of a worker.

This does not mean that an entrepreneur cannot fire someone from his or her staff for lack of assistance or unpunctuality, as he could argue this reason for carrying out what is known as disciplinary dismissal.

The Minister of Labor has stressed on several occasions that the repeal of article 52.d will be “great news” to stop living degrading situations in Spain and thus avoid that a worker can lose his job while being in a vulnerable situation.

Union satisfaction and criticism of the CEOE

The repeal of this article has not been part of the social dialogue, although the minister did inform unions and businessmen of its approval. While CCOO and UGT have celebrated the approval of this Royal Decree-Law, in some sectors of the CEOE it is not welcomed. The president of the employer's association, Antonio Garamendi, has not opposed the repeal of this article, although he has proposed that the first seven days of leave, especially in the case of SMEs, “are paid by the Administration.” In his opinion, we should go deeper into the issue of absenteeism “because professional absenteeism is a reality in Spain.”

For his part, the president of the Catalan employers' association Foment del Treball and vice president of the CEOE, Josep Sánchez Llibre, has shown his opposition to the repeal of this article.

The Minister of Labor believes that corporate rejection of this measure is a minority and has made it clear that the Government has the obligation to legislate “to correct what is already a source of European law.”