Labor matters resolved last year by the social courts experienced a significant drop of 6.6% to 373,374 cases. But this drop was especially marked by layoffs, since the total number of workers affected by layoffs in 2022 more than doubled, affecting 126,188 employees, 15% less than in 2021. This represented the largest drop in layoffs resolved by the courts since 2010, more than a decade ago, according to figures from the Social Judicial Affairs statistics corresponding to the end of 2022 published by the Ministry of Labor. And if only the individual dismissals resolved by judgment or by conciliation (excluding those withdrawn due to the resignation of the case by the plaintiff) are counted, they would add up to 83,751, which would represent an even greater drop, close to 20% compared to these same extinctions in 2021.
The sources consulted attribute this decrease in dismissal cases resolved in court to various causes. In the first place, to the improvement of employment in general, since in 2022 almost 300,000 employed persons were counted, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA) or 471,000 more affiliates, according to the Social Security registry. This good performance of the labor market naturally reduces the number of job extinctions.
Another cause that may have affected this decrease is the impact of various strikes and stoppages of the Justice Administration lawyers throughout 2022. Although, in general, this would have affected the number of resolutions of all kinds registered by the social courts and, in the case of dismissals, the decrease has been double that of the total number of cases resolved, hence the sources consulted attribute the lower extinctions to the improvement of the market.
In fact, the figures handled by the General Council of the Judiciary also point to a decrease in judicial conflict in the labor sphere last year, due to the improvement in the market, as it is the only jurisdiction –along with the Contentious-Administrative– that reduced the number of new cases last year, with a decrease of 1.4%, compared to strong increases in new matters that entered the Civil and Criminal orders.
Finally, a third reason for the sharp drop in layoffs is the comparison effect, since in 2021, the year with which last year is compared, all layoff records were also broken in absolute terms, with almost 150,000 workers affected by layoffs due to the hangover of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Labor statistics also reflect a timid rise in the average amount of compensation recognized for each worker laid off from 0.3% to 9,158 euros. This average amount has suffered a significant cut of almost 40% in the last ten years of the (in 2013 it was almost 15,000 euros per worker) due, fundamentally, to the fact that extinctions occur less years ago due to the great wave of layoffs that occurred over the five years following the 2008 financial crisis.
Last year, collective conflicts (2,389) fell by 5%, half that of individual ones, which fell by 10%. Among the latter, the most voluminous were the claims for quantity (salaries, compensation or other unpaid payments) that totaled 152,012 cases, after decreasing by 5.8% in 2022 compared to a year earlier. In these cases, the average amount recognized to the workers who obtained judgments in their favor was 5,283, 4 euros, 4.4% less than the average of 5,530.4 euros in 2021.
The only type of judicially resolved labor matter that increased last year were conflicts in the field of Social Security, which increased by 3.2% to 103,888. Although, unlike what happens with dismissal cases, in which in almost 80% of cases the worker obtains a totally or partially favorable sentence, when the resolution is due to conflicts in the field of Social Security, Of the 74,020 cases in which a judge issued a sentence, more than half (53%) were unfavorable to the worker.
The increase in litigation in Social Security matters reflects the numerous cases of false self-employed regularizations under the rider law, among others.
This statistic also reflects the result of challenges to collective dismissals. In 2022, 17 challenges were presented to the superior courts of justice; in ten cases the judges said that the company’s decision to dismiss was in accordance with the law; seven collective terminations were unfair and in four cases the collective dismissal was annulled.
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