Toma Nota

Spain’s Fast Food Trap

Knowing how to make a hamburger, serve customers, or prepare an ice cream or coffee shouldn’t take longer than a few weeks, or one or two months at the most, for a normal person. Nevertheless, for some large and well-known fast-food chains, the time it takes for a normal person to learn all of these tasks is 36 months—or at least that is what they want us to believe. 36 months? So long? Obviously there is a catch: training contracts. According to current law, businesses that help youths between 18 and 30 without work can obtain fiscal benefits like free Social Security costs that have to be paid per contract—as long as they are in a training program—up to a maximum of 36 months.

And here is the trick. Many businesses, not just these large fast-food chains, but other industries too, take advantage of those 36 months (3 years, we don’t want to keep talking about it as though it was a pregnancy) to save on Social Security costs while they have an employee that is obviously not in training anymore and is just one more in the chain. This solution, which initially seemed perfect to help get young people jobs, has become a double edged sword and has ended up being the opposite of helpful. Teams are made up entirely of young people in their training period, who, after those three years, will be re-contracted under the same terms in order to avoid paying Social Security.

Is it that these training contracts are the solution for young people without work, or are they merely another excuse to create precarious, temporary and poorly conditioned employment?