Parliament approves limitation of fixed-term contracts and changes in the trial period

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António Cotrim / Lusa

This Wednesday, the Parliament approved the PCP’s project, which foresees limitations to fixed-term contracts and changes the experimental period, having failed diplomas to enshrine 25 days of annual vacation and a return to 35 hours of work per week.

The PCP scheduled for a debate in the plenary of the Parliament on labor rights, in which they were under discussion and vote 10 diplomas – BE, PAN and PEV also dragged their initiatives – but only one Communist bill on precariousness was approved.

Despite the votes against by the PSD, CDS-PP and Liberal Initiative (the only deputy, João Cotrim Figueiredo, voted at a distance because he was in prophylactic isolation), the PCP’s bill that limits term contracts and changes the trial period it was made possible with the votes in favor of the PS, BE, PCP, PAN, PEV and the two non-inscribed deputies Joacine Katar Moreira and Cristina Rodrigues. Chega did not vote, as André Ventura was absent.

The bills by communists and blocists for the consecration of 35 hours of work per week for all workers and the diplomas of PCP, BE, PAN and PEV for the return of 25 working days of vacation per year were rejected.

Voting was repeated throughout the different diplomas: BE, PCP, PAN, PEV and non-inscribed deputies in favor and PS, PSD, CDS-PP and IL (from a distance) against.

The PCP bill that was approved – the feasibility by the PS was even announced during the debate – it reduces the situations in which a company can resort to fixed-term contracts, as well as the maximum number of fixed-term contract renewals to a maximum of two, which cannot exceed two years.

The law currently in force provides that term contracts can be renewed up to three times, with the total duration of the renewals not exceeding the initial contract period.

In the initiative it is further reduced to a maximum of three years the duration of the contract for an uncertain term (one year less than what the law now stipulates), and provides for the establishment of economic, fiscal and contributory sanctions for companies that resort to forms of precarious contracting, even providing that they are obliged to open recruitment processes to fill that job, taking one month to do so.

Regarding the trial period – which in the last revision of the labor law, published in 2019, was increased from 90 to 180 days -, the PCP proposes revocation this extension in the case of young people looking for their first job and the long-term unemployed.

The extension of the trial period was one of the changes to the labor law on which a request for verification of constitutionality was made, with the Constitutional Court, in the ruling made earlier this month, considered unconstitutional only the part referring to workers who are at search for their first job, “when applicable to workers who have previously been hired, with term, for a period equal to or greater than 90 days, by another employer(s), for violation of the principle of equality”.