Artists must return Covid grants for working part-time

Archive - Demonstration called by the association 'Red Alert Events' in Madrid (Spain), on September 17, 2020.

Archive – Demonstration called by the association ‘Red Alert Events’ in Madrid (Spain), on September 17, 2020.
Ricardo Rubio – Europa Press – Archive

The platform formed by more than 200 associations, unions and professionals from the entertainment and events sector, Red Alert, has denounced that at least twenty people, although it foresees that “there will be hundreds”, have received a letter from the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) to return the extraordinary unemployment benefit they were receiving for making it compatible with a job part time.

Red Alert has ensured that the SEPE, dependent on the Ministry of Labor, had allowed artists to combine said extraordinary unemployment benefit with part-time jobs. “The SEPE always confirmed that this aid was fully compatible with part-time work,” they say from the platform.

“They are practically telling us either not to work or to work in black. Those people with the benefit do not live and if they have the opportunity to work legally and collect a little money it is a small help to be able to pullr “, the president of the Galician Association of Musicians and Entertainment Professionals (AMPROEGA), Diego Grande, told Europa Press.

The associations of the entertainment sector and events attribute this situation to “errors” of SEPE officials who “say that the help of artists is compatible with part-time work and it is not”. Specifically, Alert Roja insists that the SEPE “allowed hundreds of artists to combine their extraordinary unemployment benefit with part-time jobs.”

In addition, the platform highlights that artists “now cannot return the money with which they have survived for more than 16 months without having other income.”

“It seems very strong to us that they tell us that for not doing their job well, right now they are complaining to many who are badly living for money that they do not have”, has criticized the president of AMPROEGA, who has stressed that an artist is being asked to return 5,000 euros.

In this context, Diego Grande has explained that the SEPE She told a worker that she could reconcile her extraordinary benefit with an eight-hour-a-week contract at a music school: “Months later he receives a letter saying that he has to return the benefit received.”

“From the SEPE office itself they reported that it could be reconciled and the answer now from the SEPE is that since it began the pandemic, thirteen royal decrees have been approved and that officials cannot be aware of everything“, has denounced the president of the association.

In a letter sent on June 3 to a worker, the SEPE indicates that article 282.1 of Royal Legislative Decree 8/2015, of October 30, establishes the incompatibility of the receipt of unemployment benefits with the performance of work for others, except when this is done part-time, in which case the portion proportional to the time worked will be deducted from the amount of the benefit or subsidy.

In another letter, to which Europa Press has had access, sent on June 27, the general director of the SEPE, Gerardo Gutiérrez Ardoy, regrets that “incorrect information may have been produced in specific cases”, in reference to the suspension of the benefit for part-time jobs.

The regulatory complexity, coupled with the exponential increase in workloads experienced by the SEPEWithout being an excuse, they have made the work of the managers of this Managing Entity especially difficult “, Gutiérrez Ardoy indicates in the letter.


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