The Supreme Court has clarified what content must be included in the basic copies of employment contracts that companies must provide to the workers’ statutory representatives in accordance with article 8 of the Workers’ Statute. It has done so in a judgment handed down by the Labor Chamber on May 26, 2021, which confirmed the judgment handed down by the Labor Chamber of the National Appellate Court on October 18, 2019.
Under article 8 of the Workers’ Statute, employers are required to deliver a basic copy of all employment contracts that need to be concluded in writing and such copy must contain all the details of the contract, except for those of a personal nature, in order to verify that the content of the contracts meets current legal requirements.
In the case analyzed in the judgment, the labor union that brought the lawsuit sought a declaration that the basic copy must contain the actual agreed wage, since the union considered it invalid to include the expression “as agreed” or to state a certain amount that matched the minimum wage contained in the collective bargaining agreement, but which was not the worker’s actual wage, a practice followed by the employer in the case in question.
In resolving the debate, the Supreme Court considered the following issues:
- The employer is required to provide the workers’ representatives with a copy of the employment contract, although this obligation does not extend to supplying details other than those which appear in the original document.
- The legal requirement excludes the duty to disclose the basic copy of certain contracts (senior management contracts) and certain details (strictly personal details).
- The compensation or wage is a not a personal or private detail capable of being reserved in order to safeguard respect for privacy and, accordingly, it is not necessary to obtain the worker’s prior consent for the workers’ representatives to be able to access, if applicable, such information.
After analyzing the above issues, the chamber concluded that the complaint should be dismissed and that the employer’s practice was valid because the basic copy provided by the employer to the workers’ representatives – which did not state the specific wage but rather included the expression “as agreed” – reproduced the content of the original contracts, thereby meeting the definition and description of basic copy established in the case law, that is, the forwarding or reproduction of a document (in this case, of an employment contract) that contains the essence of the document and that, as regards the wage, faithfully reflects it.
The above notwithstanding, the Labor Chamber of the Supreme Court was not oblivious to the existing legislative developments relating to the pay register, noting that, in accordance with Royal Decree 902/2020, the workers’ statutory representatives are entitled to access itemized and median pay information at all companies in order to ensure transparency in the way pay is structured, in a reliable and updated manner, thereby offering suitable access to pay information.