Spanish government to extend leave programs by one year – EURACTIV.com

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The Spanish government has proposed to extend temporary dismissal schemes. This system has significantly protected thousands of jobs threatened by the pandemic, just for one more year. EFE reports, EURACTIV partner.

Over the whole of 2020, a total of 3.6 million Spanish workers from 550,000 companies – mainly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – benefited from the program, known in Spanish as ERTE ( Expediente de Regulación Temporal de Empleo), EFE reported.

The current system provides that the Spanish state pays workers around 70% of their normal salary and prohibits companies from firing employees.

In the event of fraud or layoffs, companies must return exemptions from contributions to the social security system and face severe penalties. Beneficiaries of ERTE schemes are officially considered as employees.

A new mechanism to protect jobs

Last week, the left-wing Spanish government proposed replacing the current ERTE system with an employment sustainability mechanism (Mecanismo de Sostenibilidad del Empleo, MSE) for a maximum of one year if an agreement is reached with the workers’ representatives, and only for six months if there is no agreement.

This week, Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz (Unidas Podemos) will meet with the country’s main unions – Comisiones Obreras, CC.OO, and Unión General de Trabajadores, UGT – and with the Association of Primary Employers (CEOE) to discuss details of the new leave scheme, likely to be implemented from January 2022.

According to the text of the draft proposal, as seen by the financial daily Cinco Dias, Spanish companies will only be able to implement the new post-pandemic temporary layoff regimes if they can prove that they have suffered heavy economic losses and if they have been forced to retrain their workers with new skills and competences to retain their work.

The text specifies that Spanish companies and workers affected by one of these new schemes will have access to “benefits in terms of contributions and protection against unemployment”.

Benefits in terms of company contributions to Social Security will be conditional on the continued employment of the workers concerned for up to six months after the introduction of the new leave scheme.

Social security contribution exemptions will be conditional on the development of training programs. If the device is applied in the process of professional transition to other companies or sectors, the reclassification of at least 20% of the workers concerned must be guaranteed, official sources indicated. Cinco Dias.

Likewise, overtime, outsourcing of activity and new recruitments will be prohibited during the implementation of the new system.

The document also proposes to limit the weight of interim contracts in structural positions to 15% of the workforce as a measure to limit temporary work, which currently stands at 25%.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]


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