REPORT 03/2004 on temporary employment in the public sector
This report on temporality in public employment was adopted by the Economic and Social Council with 38 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions. It was commis-sioned by the government in July 2004 with a view to tackling this serious problem.Regarding the rise in the rate of temporary employment in the public sector, the Council points out that ?from any perspective, the percentage is excessive in respect of what might be a reasonable or necessary use by public administration of outsourced staff to meet temporary, unforeseen, extraordinary or urgent needs.? Public employment has tended to grow considerably in the past two decades. In just over fifteen years, employment in public administration as a whole has risen to a total of some 2.8 million. Currently the Autonomous Communities employ over half of all pub-lic servants, the local authorities 20 per cent, and central government 17 per cent. More-over, a large portion of public employment created in recent years has been taken up by women, so the balance between male and female employees is now practically even.The growth in public employment has been accompanied by a sharp rise in the propor-tion of temporary contracts, so that the current rate for public administration as a whole (22.8 per cent) is more than double that of 1987. This rise was sharpest in the last period of economic expansion. Between 1997 and 2003, the rate of temporary employment in the public sector went up by 6.6 points, contrasting with the trend in the private sector, which saw a drop of 6 points.The rate of temporary employment varies widely among the various tiers of public ad-ministration. The highest rates are in local government, at 29.7 per cent, followed by the Autonomous Communities with 23 per cent, and central government with just 13 per cent. The temporary employment rate is 29 per cent in the health service and 22 per cent in education.One notable feature of temporality in public employment is its higher incidence in women, chiefly in sectors such as education and health, and in local government. An-other feature is that temporary services in the public sector have tended to be provided over longer periods, bearing out the conclusion that temporary employment is quite of-ten meeting structural needs in public administration.The problem of temporary public employment needs to be addressed with a thorough review of the policy of outsourcing services and activities currently followed by the various tiers of government. This review should lead to a clear definition of which ac-tivities and services may be outsourced and which should remain under direct public management.This Council report follows other recent surveys and analyses of temporary employment in the public sector by other institutions and bodes, highlighting the increasing and widespread concern about the problem. All have a common conclusion, which the Council wishes particularly to emphasize: the existence of growing and excessive tem-porality in public employment, in excess of what would be justified by the needs of public administration to guarantee services in the event of technical, temporary and ur-gent requirements.It will not be possible to achieve the aim of reducing the excessive temporality in public employment without the adoption of measures for coordination and cooperation be-tween the various tiers of government and the social partners in order to establish and implement integrated and coherent actions.