As the saying goes, less is often more. Following this logic, various labor-relations experts have proposed simplifying the current range of contracts offered by the Spanish Workers' Statute. One such proposal is the "single contract," which would reduce companies' options for hiring workers to just one document. This decision, however, must be considered in today's increasingly complex environment, characterized by the social transformation resulting from the current technological revolution, which is driven by innovations such as robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and the Internet of things. As noted by Salvador del Rey, Professor of Labor Law and Social Security at ESADE Law School, this technological revolution will have "unprecedented effects on the organization of work and human resources." In an article published in the journal IUSLabor, Del Rey describes the convergence of these various technological changes as the distinctive fact that makes the current technological revolution different from other advances experienced over the past century. "Analyzed individually, the technologies driving these changes contain a very considerable disruptive component," says Del Rey. The fact that this convergence is causing these changes to be exposed, accelerated and extended generates a "total impact," according to Del Rey. The impact of this disruptive process will affect everyone, regardless of age, gender, geographical location and line of work. The impact will be universal; it will not distinguish between companies depending by size or by sector (a traditional border that will gradually fade). This process is becoming increasingly important for the field of labor relations, and the very high rate of acceleration makes it extremely difficult to predict the changes to come. "What seemed five years ago to require five years or a decade to happen is now taking place in one, two or three years," explains Del Rey. Technological changes will have a considerable impact on the types of employment contracts In Del Rey's opinion, these changes will have a considerable impact on the types of employment contracts. He discourages a reduction in the types of contracts available. Opting for a "single contract" with an "excessively unitary and therefore rigid regulatory framework" would go against "the tendencies that trigger technological changes," Del Rey points out. Instead, the current technological revolution is creating new situations in the labor market, making it necessary to have enormous flexibility in terms of the contractual options available. According to Del Rey, we are entering a "Cambrian era" in the emergence of new forms of business, organizations and ways of working. However, the author notes, "this contractual diversification should not be equivalent to maintaining or fostering situations of precarious work." Del Rey makes the following recommendations on how to adapt the current labor law to the world now being shaped by technology: 1. Self-employment Del Rey proposes developing self-employment by introducing regulations that protect self-employed workers and endowing them with minimum individual and collective rights, "especially when dealing with self-employed workers whose economic compensation essentially comes from a single client." 2. Temporary work Along similar lines, the author suggests promoting temporary contracts as an alternative that allows "jobs for a specific period of time in the event of unpredictable needs or for specific projects." This type of work will tend to increase, not decrease, so Del Rey considers that the temporary contract protection levels should be increased. 3. Part-time jobs In Del Rey's opinion, technological change also makes it inadvisable to limit part-time contracts, despite the benefits associated with full-time employment. Part-time jobs offer the flexibility needed in a technological world and there have already been already positive experiences regulating this type of contract. 4. Flexible working time Del Rey also notes the effect of new technologies on the regulation of working time, which can now be distributed irregularly throughout the year. This means that the number of hours per day or per week could vary depending on the workload, and starting and ending times should also be adapted to the needs of the job in a variable manner. 5. Telecommuting The author points out that these changes should always be "perfectly compatible" with work-life balance and that "certain limits should be set to ensure adequate rest." Furthermore, he points out the need to promote telecommuting, thanks to technology that allows many people to do part of their work from outside of the workplace. In conclusion, Del Rey notes that the current technological convergence is increasing the need to preserve the current diversity of contracts and to protect essential worker rights. "Only in this way can we prevent the regulatory framework" which is too rigid to guarantee the protection of certain groups "from becoming one of the main obstacles to the proper implementation of disruptive technologies," Del Rey says. You may also like: Is the sharing economy contributing to job insecurity?

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One contract to rule them all? Not in the current technological revolution

04/2018

As the saying goes, less is often more. Following this logic, various labor-relations experts have proposed simplifying the current range of contracts offered by the Spanish Workers' Statute. One such proposal is the "single contract," which would reduce companies' options for hiring workers to just one document.


This decision, however, must be considered in today's increasingly complex environment, characterized by the social transformation resulting from the current technological revolution, which is driven by innovations such as robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and the Internet of things.


As noted by Salvador del Rey, Professor of Labor Law and Social Security at ESADE Law School, this technological revolution will have "unprecedented effects on the organization of work and human resources."


In an article published in the journal IUSLabor, Del Rey describes the convergence of these various technological changes as the distinctive fact that makes the current technological revolution different from other advances experienced over the past century. "Analyzed individually, the technologies driving these changes contain a very considerable disruptive component," says Del Rey. The fact that this convergence is causing these changes to be exposed, accelerated and extended generates a "total impact," according to Del Rey.


The impact of this disruptive process will affect everyone, regardless of age, gender, geographical location and line of work. The impact will be universal; it will not distinguish between companies depending by size or by sector (a traditional border that will gradually fade).


This process is becoming increasingly important for the field of labor relations, and the very high rate of acceleration makes it extremely difficult to predict the changes to come. "What seemed five years ago to require five years or a decade to happen is now taking place in one, two or three years," explains Del Rey.


Technological changes will have a considerable impact on the types of employment contracts


In Del Rey's opinion, these changes will have a considerable impact on the types of employment contracts. He discourages a reduction in the types of contracts available. Opting for a "single contract" with an "excessively unitary and therefore rigid regulatory framework" would go against "the tendencies that trigger technological changes," Del Rey points out.


Instead, the current technological revolution is creating new situations in the labor market, making it necessary to have enormous flexibility in terms of the contractual options available. According to Del Rey, we are entering a "Cambrian era" in the emergence of new forms of business, organizations and ways of working. However, the author notes, "this contractual diversification should not be equivalent to maintaining or fostering situations of precarious work."


Del Rey makes the following recommendations on how to adapt the current labor law to the world now being shaped by technology:


1. Self-employment


Del Rey proposes developing self-employment by introducing regulations that protect self-employed workers and endowing them with minimum individual and collective rights, "especially when dealing with self-employed workers whose economic compensation essentially comes from a single client."


2. Temporary work


Along similar lines, the author suggests promoting temporary contracts as an alternative that allows "jobs for a specific period of time in the event of unpredictable needs or for specific projects." This type of work will tend to increase, not decrease, so Del Rey considers that the temporary contract protection levels should be increased.


3. Part-time jobs


In Del Rey's opinion, technological change also makes it inadvisable to limit part-time contracts, despite the benefits associated with full-time employment. Part-time jobs offer the flexibility needed in a technological world and there have already been already positive experiences regulating this type of contract.


4. Flexible working time


Del Rey also notes the effect of new technologies on the regulation of working time, which can now be distributed irregularly throughout the year. This means that the number of hours per day or per week could vary depending on the workload, and starting and ending times should also be adapted to the needs of the job in a variable manner.


5. Telecommuting


The author points out that these changes should always be "perfectly compatible" with work-life balance and that "certain limits should be set to ensure adequate rest." Furthermore, he points out the need to promote telecommuting, thanks to technology that allows many people to do part of their work from outside of the workplace.


In conclusion, Del Rey notes that the current technological convergence is increasing the need to preserve the current diversity of contracts and to protect essential worker rights. "Only in this way can we prevent the regulatory framework" which is too rigid to guarantee the protection of certain groups "from becoming one of the main obstacles to the proper implementation of disruptive technologies," Del Rey says.


You may also like: Is the sharing economy contributing to job insecurity?

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