The ERTE due to covid are extended for another month, until March 31 | Economy

The Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, at a press conference on January 5.
The Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, at a press conference on January 5.Javier Lizon (EFE)

Companies that have workers within a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) for reasons derived from the covid will be able to keep them under this protection scheme during the month of March, after the Government and the social agents have agreed a new extension for four weeks, that is, beyond February 28, the date on which they expired. During this exceptional period (until April 1), companies must adapt to the conditions governing the new structural ERTE to request inclusion in the RED Mechanism, as detailed in the labor reform.

Despite the fact that the ERTEs due to covid are maintained, there are slight changes in the exemptions from the quotas that companies must pay to Social Security for the affected workers. In these four additional weeks, these bonuses will go from 80% to 60% for those companies in which training plans are proposed for suspended employees (crypt key of the ERTE); while in those where there are none, they will be 20%, if they have 10 or more workers; and 30% where 10 or fewer employees are computed. This cut represents a reduction of 20% with respect to the conditions that prevailed until now. The exoneration due to force majeure will be 90%. The conditions of people in an ERTE situation, however, will remain the same: they will continue to receive 70% of the regulatory base of their salary during the first 6 months, and 50% from the seventh month.

Along with this extension of the ERTE due to covid, the activation of the RED Mechanism for the travel agency sector was also agreed at this Monday’s meeting. However, the procedure will not begin this Tuesday, but in the following Council of Ministers, scheduled for the month of March. The Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV) requested the Government to initiate this procedure (which as a rule must be supported by the Council of Ministers), since this body considered that the travel agencies would not be at the beginning of March “in willingness to resume its activity under normal conditions.

The decision to agree on a new extension has been formally taken during the meeting this Monday, but the Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, had already advanced after the previous meeting, that the Government’s plan would be to extend the transition period “for that companies can change the model and directly apply the labor reform”. Despite the fact that the labor reform came into force on December 31, the extension of the ERTE due to covid had been previously agreed, in the month of September, so there was a period of legal vacancy in which companies initially had two months (which have now become three) to adapt to the new modality included in the current regulatory framework.

The Government’s will since these two meetings were agreed upon, hence Diaz’s words, has always been to agree on this extra ball before the end of the month, so that there would be no empty space in which thousands of affected workers They could be left without coverage. The Council of Ministers this Tuesday – the last of February – will agree to continue it until March 31, and from the following day the RED Mechanism will be in force for all those companies in crisis that wish to request it.

Two modalities

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As stated in the royal decree where the labor reform is framed, for the RED Mechanism to be activated, it must be approved by the Council of Ministers. And for this to be the case, it must be analyzed whether the motivations given for this are due to situations in a sector “that produce organizational, technical or structural productive changes or the introduction of innovative work methods or production processes such as automation that generate losses of competitiveness associated with the maintenance of the workforce”.

From April 1, companies in crisis will be able to resort to the RED Mechanism for Flexibility and Stabilization of Employment, which has two modalities: one cyclical, for situations in which there is a macroeconomic situation that advises the adoption of stabilization instruments (it has a maximum application of one year); and another sectoral, to which companies may benefit when a sector appreciates changes that generate needs for requalification and professional transition (it has a maximum duration of one year with the possibility of two extensions of six months each).

In the case of the cyclical modality, the exemptions in the payment of Social Security contributions will range from 60% from the date on which the activation occurs, and until the last day of the fourth month after said date of activation; 30% during the four months following the end of the previous term; and 20% in the following four months. In the case of the sectoral ones, the aid will be 40%, as long as the companies offer the workers training actions.

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