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Old May 1st 2012, 7:47 pm   #1
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Default Employer abuse in Spain

I have lived in Barcelona nearly 10 years and have had many jobs, some legal some not, those that weren't legal were not taken by choice as nothing else was offered to me despite having good experience and qualifications, this was before the so called "crisis". I have paid tax and have been entitled to benefits on the occasion I lost my job with a legal contract. My last legal job ended January 2011 and I was desperate to find work, it took me 3 months and was the hardest it had been to find something. I almost got a good job with a Spanish design company and got a second interview, however they wanted a much younger candidate and I was declined. I then sent out my CV to similar companies to the one I'd recently worked for, tourist apartments, and one called me to see them. They are owned by an English couple who have an SL here and an address in the UK (although this is not a work address). Anyway I was desperate so when the job was offered I had to take it. The owner, who employed two other staff in the office and had others working from their homes around the world, gave me a contract, this was not legal but he pretended it was and got me to sign it, I knew it was a total lie and agreed but didn't think I would be staying long at that time. The contract specified that I had to be freelance and take care of my own taxes, it mentioned I they had an address in the UK which is written in the contract, there was no mention of the Spanish office. It stated I had to work between 10 and 6pm in the office (no mention of the Spanish one) and would be given 15 days holiday plus Spanish public holidays paid. It said that this contract was in line with the UK law (load of rubbish!). Anyway, I did tell my boss that I could not be self employed if I worked for the same employer 40 hours a week and they dictated my work hours, conditions etc, to which he didn't answer. He then asked me to work one weekend a month, not mentioned in the contract, and then told me that nobody in the company had local holidays, in other words those here in Barcelona/ Catalonia despite the "contract" stating I would get Spanish holidays, excuse me but Catalonia is Spain. I have repeatedly tried to discuss this but he gets aggressive. He has paid me, that's true and I have worked very hard for him and behaved in a very professional way despite the mockery of my situation. He also allows workers to have 10 days working at home to which I said that I would like to work at home more often and he said absolutely no as I should be in the office, this contradicts the fact I am meant to be self employed as I should not be told where or when I can work. Even if I were to accept being in the UK system, which none of us are as he and his family live here as do I and 3 other colleagues, the fact he is not paying in social security for anyone is highly illegal. I have now worked a year for him, I had hoped I would be able to negotiate at least some of the unacceptable conditions in his "contract" but now I see he flatly refuses. I need a job and have no right to unemployment benefit now through no fault of my own. I know that the tax authorities here are desperate to dig out abusive employers like him and I am doing no wrong as I would like to be properly employed. I have read many forums about this and there is even a term here called falso automono which means falsely self employed, a trick that a huge percentage of employers use to avoid taking any responsibility for their employees, these are not only foreign companies but Spanish too. I do plan to go to the ministery of employment to get advice and hopefully get this company fined, but wonder if anyone else out there has some advice too or has been in a similar situation. Surely this company cannot have employees that are not in the SS system and have them working full time for them without taking any responsibility and on top of this they don't even adhere to local holidays or proper holiday entitlement. Surely the fact they have an address in the UK doesn't mean they can give out pretend contracts that quote they are using the UK law, this is a Spanish based company with SL status. I am now at the end of my tether with this as I am sick of the abuse here, the fact that Spain is now in deep recession with a quoted 24% unemployment is no surprise, however the fact is the unemployment is a much lower figure as there are so many people here like me with cash in hand or hiding behind self employment when they are fully employed by another, I feel very strongly about this. PS am moving back to London in October for sure!!!

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Old May 1st 2012, 8:00 pm   #2
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

It's obvious you have a big problem, and I don't think you deserve a flip answer..........but has it occurred to you to denounce them?
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Old May 1st 2012, 8:07 pm   #3
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Pain-in-Spain.

Of course the employer is acting illegally, very illegally. Not paying social security for an employee is a very serious matter, even a prison sentence never mind a fine.

You have 2 options:
1. Denouce and lawyer-up. Be in it for the long run and see your employer scamper off to the UK. And lose your job. Eventually you may get some compensation if everything works out OK, but it will be a long process to see it through
2. Do nothing. You knew it was an illegal job when you took it. I'm not sure why you want to do something about it now, especially if you are moving to the UK in October?
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Old May 1st 2012, 9:03 pm   #4
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Originally Posted by cricketman View Post
Pain-in-Spain.

Of course the employer is acting illegally, very illegally. Not paying social security for an employee is a very serious matter, even a prison sentence never mind a fine.

You have 2 options:
1. Denouce and lawyer-up. Be in it for the long run and see your employer scamper off to the UK. And lose your job. Eventually you may get some compensation if everything works out OK, but it will be a long process to see it through
2. Do nothing. You knew it was an illegal job when you took it. I'm not sure why you want to do something about it now, especially if you are moving to the UK in October?
Thanks for taking the time to write something. Regarding your two options
1) Yes, I know the course of justice here, slow slow and very slow, but I've also read that the authorities are getting very heavy with this kind of thing due to the severe damage to the economy and workers rights. Due to being in this situation more than once, although each case has been slightly different, I feel that something needs to be done, it's a matter of principle and a way of putting to rest all the others who 'got away'. There are several thousands like me who are scared to stand up for fear of losing their job, being threatened or worse. I've read many forums (in Spanish) of people being abused like me, the falso autonomo is a real problem and falls underneath the radar as it seems these people are legally in work and paying taxes, but they are far from being fairly treated.
2) Yes, I am going back and had planned to do last year which is why I thought I'd not be in this job too long sadly my mother (who lives here with my Spanish father) become very seriously ill and I had to put our moving back plans on the back burner and due to the gravity of my family problems was not in a position mentally to deal with the work situation.

I have thought long and hard about this and feel that if I don't do anything it is morally wrong. I know that if I shop this employer he will be heavily fined, he grumbles about spending the odd 100 euros on minor things! He has his kids in a private English school here, his wife is staring a new business and he has big plans for the company, yet with all this he cannot bring himself to put us on contract or at the very least give us good holidays and other perks to make us feel more settled. It makes me very angry. I found out that he made the mistake of employing a young Catalan guy a couple of years back who questioned his illegal contract and threatened to go to the authorities if he didn't get x y or z, which he promptly got. The guy ended up leaving for another job so he was off the hook, but this told me that he got very scared but obviously he's not gone near a native person since.

I realise that if I do something now I will lose a job for the next few months, I have to seriously think about that. I also thought about discussing things with him to see if he will meet me half way on some issues to make at least the next few months better, in the end I will leave and maybe then I will take action. This country will never get itself out of this mess without sorting out the immense black economy it has and knows it has, my actions may be small in the scheme of things but I know of so many in my situation and so many companies getting away with it, that something has to be done!
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Old May 1st 2012, 9:44 pm   #5
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Quote:
Originally Posted by pain-in-spain View Post
, my actions may be small in the scheme of things but I know of so many in my situation and so many companies getting away with it, that something has to be done!
Best of luck

It only takes a few whistleblowers to provoke real change

You may also want to get one of the general trade unions to champion your case
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Old May 2nd 2012, 6:04 am   #6
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

A company I worked for was denounced to the Hacienda. Within days an inspector arrived and went through all the employees' contracts and sorted it all out.

The actual contracts were basically okay but individuals who were entitled to either 'fijo discontinuo' or permanent contracts had been denied them. The inspector sorted it out pronto and the company still operates today.

You are being exploited and abused and have every right to feel aggrieved. If I were in your position I'd denounce them to Hacienda but only you can decide what the best thing to do is.

Good luck and do please update us.
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Old May 2nd 2012, 10:42 am   #7
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Alongside everything others have said, I know in the UK companies don't like bad publicity however my faith in/understanding of the Spanish press is limited. Mention of taking your story to a national paper might help your situation until you've decided to denounce or not?
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Old May 2nd 2012, 3:55 pm   #8
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

It sounds like this operation is being run totally illegally.
Is he paying his SL taxes ?
Is he paying the IVA ?

Don't be worried about him worrying about every penny - he knows where every penny is coming from and where it is going to.....his pocket to pay for the family lifestyle

regrettably you are in a cleft stick over this and are being forced to work illegally
perhaps if you can put up with it for the next few months and then denounce him and his company - you will then be leaving the country anyway.
any investigation will probably find there are others who are illegally employed. the fines are quite stiff - more than if he had employed people legally.

don't worry about him, think of yourself and family - after all you should be working to live not living to work

rgds
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Old May 2nd 2012, 4:26 pm   #9
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Can't you report him anonymously and wait until they come in to investigate, that way they may come in and order him to pay you and the others your dues so that then you will be entitled to Some benefits while he goes to jail ?
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Old May 2nd 2012, 5:13 pm   #10
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

I think you have your answer in your second post. If this Catalan guy you mention got everything he wanted by threatening to denounce, and assuming you are not an 'illegal' then, you should have the same rights.

Then you can denounce him just as you leave to salvage your pride and do the right thing.
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Old May 2nd 2012, 5:17 pm   #11
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Best of luck

It only takes a few whistleblowers to provoke real change

You may also want to get one of the general trade unions to champion your case
Unless the Spanish trade unions work on a completely different basis from UK ones, it is highly unlikely to say the least that they would pursue this unless the OP or any of her fellow workers were in membership and paying subscriptions. I worked for one for 20 years and that was the first question asked if someone contacted us asking for help. You wouldn't believe the number of non-members who rang up and said "But I just want some advice!". Try getting an insurance company to meet your claim if you haven't been paying premiums.
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Old May 2nd 2012, 5:20 pm   #12
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Whilst this "employer" carries on doing this more people will be dragged into "illegal" employment.

It may be too late for you (unless you act now and can reap some benefit in the short term) but until he is stopped he will carry on doing it to others.
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Old May 2nd 2012, 5:22 pm   #13
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

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Unless the Spanish trade unions work on a completely different basis from UK ones, it is highly unlikely to say the least that they would pursue this unless the OP or any of her fellow workers were in membership and paying subscriptions. I worked for one for 20 years and that was the first question asked if someone contacted us asking for help. You wouldn't believe the number of non-members who rang up and said "But I just want some advice!". Try getting an insurance company to meet your claim if you haven't been paying premiums.
I had joined a union in the UK, paid my dues for 2+ years, wanted their help and the local rep begrudgingly gave me a couple of mins on the phone, offered no help, no proper consultation.

They did send me a nice letter saying they couldnt understand why I had cancelled my membership and direct debit.
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Old May 2nd 2012, 6:35 pm   #14
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domino View Post
It sounds like this operation is being run totally illegally.
Is he paying his SL taxes ?
Is he paying the IVA ?

Don't be worried about him worrying about every penny - he knows where every penny is coming from and where it is going to.....his pocket to pay for the family lifestyle

regrettably you are in a cleft stick over this and are being forced to work illegally
perhaps if you can put up with it for the next few months and then denounce him and his company - you will then be leaving the country anyway.
any investigation will probably find there are others who are illegally employed. the fines are quite stiff - more than if he had employed people legally.

don't worry about him, think of yourself and family - after all you should be working to live not living to work

rgds
Thanks Domino and others for your comments. I am not worried about my boss but I know that my work colleagues don't want to rock the boat despite agreeing completely with me. We are all legal, in other words we are European with papers and all of us have had proper work contracts with other companies in the years we have been here. Trouble is that nobody wants to take the risk to do something so I feel quite alone. Today my boss printed me out another copy of my "contract" as the dates on the other one were not correct, it's amazing how he thinks it means anything at all! I had asked him last week if he would allow me to work from home on each Monday after the weekend I have to work (at home) once a month, I asked him nicely and said that I wasn't asking for time off, just to be allowed to work at home where ironically I get more work done, he got annoyed when I told him my last company (legal) gave me a day off in lieu for the weekends I worked. He has now amended my contract to say he will let me work from home until 2pm on the Monday after the weekend I have agreed to work each month, in other words he's not conceding anything, this says it all. He really is misguided that he truly believes he is a proper employer. The main thing I haven't mentioned is that 5 years ago, when he first came here, he had about 10 staff working out of his flat, one by one they left (no surprise there) and he was left with about two staff. He then got an office around the corner from his flat where I started working for him, after nearly a year he wanted to save money (like he's not saving enough with all the SS he's not paying) and told us he was moving house and we'd have to go and work there. I had to agree even though it was a 30 minute longer journey. We are an online company which doesn't actually need an office anywhere and as I said before, he employs cheap labour in Eastern Europe and Asia for the copywriting stuff. I have worked at home for longish periods when he and his family have been away on holiday or visiting family and virtually run the business from my computer at home. He specifies that I am freelance in the contract so at the very least I should be working from my own home with my own equipment to justify this, although I still wouldn't accept this as I am not self employed as I just work for him, I wouldn't mind if I had the freedom to take on other contracts and juggle my own hours but he insists on specific hours and holidays so it simply isn't kosher. The fact that he works from home means he's not declaring a business location, his wife is listed as self employed and she does the accounts for the business but I have a feeling it is all based on her being the only employee, totally not the case.
Somebody has suggested denouncing him whilst I'm still there and do it anonymously but this would be very tricky especially given I have already contested various grievances I have and everyone else has just accepted the way things are. If I keep hold of this job and let's face it, I am in big trouble without it, I will shop him just before I go, either way it will happen. If I shop him now he is likely to close the business and move, he's done it before (he started the business in Italy) and is used to uprooting his family, and I'll likely get nothing. It's hard to stay put feeling the way I do, but they do say that revenge is a dish best served cold, don't they?!

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Old May 2nd 2012, 11:08 pm   #15
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Default Re: Employer abuse in Spain

Inspección de Trabajo...

http://www.empleo.gob.es/itss/web/Sa...ciar_ITSS.html

Or in person...

http://www.empleo.gob.es/itss/web/Qu...146798625.html

Not sure how long your company will last after an inspection if it's as dodgy as it sounds.
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