Crisis and labor reform push part-time jobs to record levels

National Statistics Institute says 16.4 percent of employed people are not working full time

The number of workers in part-time jobs has hit yet new highs as a result of the labor reform introduced in February of last year and the impact of the country’s longest recession since the restoration of democracy.

According to the National Statistics Institute’s (INE) latest Active Population Survey (EPA), 16.4 percent of those employed are working part time. While the number of jobs available has fallen by 18 percent from the highs seen during the previous boom, the number of workers in part-time employment has increased by slightly more than 20 percent.

Part-time work has traditionally been the least preferred option for many workers, but with just under six million people out of a job and a jobless rate of over 26 percent, people are now more willing to accept any form of employment. The labor reform also now allows for part-time workers to do overtime.

In the first six months of this year, 2.291 million part-time labor contracts were awarded, accounting for 34 percent of total contracts. In the same period a year earlier, 2.063 million contracts were signed, 31.6 percent of the total.

“A shift from full-time contracts to part-time contracts is taking place,” says UGT labor union official Toni Ferrer. “Employment is becoming more precarious. In Spain we don’t need German-style mini-jobs; there is already part-time work.”

According to Paloma López of the CCOO labor union: “The key to the increase is in the reform that allows for overtime. But it is impossible for labor inspectors to control these hours.”

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