Anyone who has lived in Spain for some time will no doubt be familiar with much of the local population’s desire to become a ‘funcionario’, a Spanish civil servant or public worker.
Many Spaniards view it as a ‘job for life’ which pays them a decent salary by national standards, has fewer working hours on average and offers more stability than any job for a private company in an economy famed for its abundance of temporary work and high unemployment.
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Civil servants have therefore built up a reputation in Spain for ‘having it easy’, and in some cases not caring about their work productivity given the strong workers' rights they enjoy, especially with regard to dismissal.
But a new landmark case presented by the country’s Public Administration has called into question this alleged lack of productivity on the part of Spain’s public workforce, who in 2018 numbered 3.07 million, 16 percent of Spain’s working population.
Spain’s Supreme Court handed the public work authority in question the right to lower the wages of an employee who had consistently failed to meet her job targets and responsibilities, setting a precedent for other civil servants who may be resting on their laurels.
The woman’s superior was interviewed during the summons, explaining how the employee in question never answered her phone, didn’t follow work orders and worked less than what her position entailed, Spanish online daily El Economista reported.
The final sentencing was preceded by an appeal by the civil servant in question at Spain’s Court of Audits, having had her earnings slashed from €1,313 to €737 a month, a sum calculated on the basis of the number of work days she’d missed during the work semester, her work output and a disciplinary penalty.
Average civil servant working hours in Spain run from 9am to 2.30pm.