The Government has reached an agreement with the employers and the unions to extend the validity of the ERTE (temporary lay-offs), which will last until January 31.
Antonio García, president of CECLOR, has taken the measure as a positive determination and has stated in this regard that it is necessary for the extension to reach its maximum possible while the pandemic situation remains. According to Garcia, it is imperative that the extension take place.
Lorca – the big casualty of the pandemic.
While when the pandemic began, its effects on companies were evenly distributed among the autonomous communities, today Lorca is the hardest hit by its consequences. It is precisely here that there are more ERTEs within the hospitality sector.
Why extend the ERTEs?
The extension of ERTEs aims to protect companies and allow workers to keep their day counter at zero with regard to their unemployment benefits.
How was the extension of the ERTEs achieved?
In order for the employers to finally accept the proposal by the Council of Ministers to extend the ERTEs, it was necessary that the exemption from social security contributions be increased. They are currently between 100 % and 70 %, so it was necessary that such exemption be increased for companies that are in ERTE and whose activity was harmed as a result of the resurgence of COVID-19.
According to Yolanda Díaz, head of Labor, the extension of the ERTEs was a measure taken to protect and defend both companies and workers in Spain.
The unions accepted the measure before the business sector did. The aid in the ERTEs increased thanks to CEOE and Cepyme, which managed the increase of such aid to give a respite to the companies that have been most affected due to the health measures taken by the Government.
A compensation for the Government measures
When the Government took the series of sanitary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a large business sector expressed its dissatisfaction due to the economic losses that these measures would represent both in the short and long term.
For this reason, the extension of the ERTEs appears to compensate the companies that had to suffer important economic losses as a consequence of the confinement decreed by the Government.
In turn, the hotel and catering industry had not been considered among the sectors most affected by the state of alarm, an exclusion that prevented them from accessing the ERTEs with the highest exemptions, which reached 85%, automatically, as could be accessed by the companies considered within the categories most damaged by such measure.
Given that other sectors that depend directly on tourism, such as transportation, travel agencies, hotels and entertainment venues, had been eligible for such exemptions because they were considered to be companies that were highly affected by the Government’s sanitary measures, the companies that also belonged to the tourism sector that were excluded put pressure on the employers’ associations and reduced the margin for negotiating with them.
In this way, the employers were included in the agreement that the unions had already reached the day before they became part of it and thus obtained their benefits.
A week before this agreement, UGT and CC OO had achieved that the benefits collected by the workers would reach a minimum of 70% of the regulatory base once the sixth month had passed. In addition to this, they had also managed to obtain the benefit that such extraordinary aid would not imply a reduction of the rights covered by unemployment insurance that they may have accumulated before having been included in an ERTE.
Benefits extend through 2021
This new BOE decree will be extended until January 31, 2021. What it pursues is to represent a continuity to the measure that the Government took in the labor field to reduce the effects of COVID-19 in the labor field.
Despite not having represented a significant help for entrepreneurs and self-employed, it has not been cheap for the Government to grant it. So far, twenty-two million euros have already been spent between exemptions, benefits and aid. To this must be added the more than twenty-one million that the EU has provided through the SURE, the fund in charge of financing aid of this kind.
The extension was granted to assure workers and businesses that they will continue to have the protection they need due to the damages that the pandemic has brought with it.
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