Spain discriminates against part-time workers

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European Court of Justice in Luxembourg


SPAIN is discriminating against part-time workers, the European Court of Justice has ruled. Eighty per cent of part-time workers are women.

Part-time workers are required to contribute proportionally more to the Social Security system than full-time employees in order to receive a pension, the amount of which is already reduced to reflect their part-time status. The method used to calculate pension rights rules out the possibility of part-time workers having access to a contributory pension as the Spanish system only counts the number of hours and days worked, the Court of Justice noted.

The ruling comes after a 66-year-old cleaner in a homeowners association was turned down for a pension as she had not paid the minimum of 15 years of full time contributions. She worked for four hours a week for 18 years, which is equivalent to 10 per cent of the statutory full-time working week in Spain, or three years. Based on these calculations she would have had to work 100 years to accumulate the 15 years required to have a pension of €112.90 a month.

She took her case to a Barcelona Court, which then passed on to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to determine if Spain has breached the European directive on equal rights for men and women.

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