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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure ES-2020-13/598 – measures in Spain

Prohibition of objective dismissals

Prohibición de despidos objetivos

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 27 March 2020 – 31 January 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Flexibilisation and security
Author Oscar Molina (UAB) and Eurofound
Measure added 14 April 2020 (updated 01 December 2020)

Background information

This measure is part of a second package of measures to mitigate the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The objective of this prohibition is to avoid employers taking advantage of the health crisis in order to dismiss workers.

The Government approved in Royal Decree 9/2020 the temporary prohibition, from 27 March until the health crisis ends, dismissals due to force majeure or objective causes of an economic, technical, organizational or production nature, which are justified by the impact of the coronavirus.

Content of measure

Under this regulation, objective dismissals are prohibited. These dismissals have a severance pay of 20 days per year worked and a maximum of one year salary, when the judge finds these cases appropriate. Although, in the case of finding them inadmissible, the compensation rises to 33 days per year worked and a maximum of two annuities.

The legal wording indicates: 'Force majeure and the economic, technical, organizational and production causes covered by the measures for suspension of contracts and reduction of working hours provided for in articles 22 and 23 of Royal Decree Law 8/2020, of March 17 cannot be understood as justifications for the termination of the employment contract or dismissal.'

Thus, it follows from this text that more than prohibiting these dismissals, it makes them more expensive, because, if they occur, the judge will declare them inadmissible, and therefore the compensation will be greater than if they were due to objective causes.

Use of measure

No estimates exist.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Social partners were informed and consulted before the implementation of the measure, though not formal negotiations took place

Views and reactions

Employer organisations were very critical to this policy measure.

Trade unions, on the contrary, were in full agreement with this policy measure.



Eurofound (2020), Prohibition of objective dismissals, measure ES-2020-13/598 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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