goodbye to SEPE for a new 'Spanish Employment Agency'

The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday the Employment Law, which will now face the parliamentary procedure for its final approval. The regulation, included in the Government's reform commitments with Brussels within the Recovery Plan after the pandemic, aims to "modernize" the public employment services so that they are more effective, with "individualized" attention and advice to the population, has explained the Vice President and Minister of Labor Yolanda Díaz. The rule means goodbye to the SEPE (Public State Employment Service) that will become the 'Spanish Employment Agency'. A change that will take place in a period of "six months", said Díaz.

The Tax Authority questions the effectiveness of the 6,500 million spent on employment policies and subsidies

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“If there is a well-known public service in our country, it is the SEPE, and it is one of the great demands of the citizens of our country”, said the Minister of Labor, who added that the transformation of public employment services will include its greater digitization, modernization and incorporation of new technologies, such as Big Data (mass data crossing) to offer job offers more adjusted to the profiles of job seekers.

Better 'map' of vacancies

Although initially, Work wanted me to all companies were obliged to communicate their vacant positions to the new SEPE, the bill finally obliges only the "user companies", they indicate in the Ministry of Yolanda Díaz. That is, those who resort to public employment services.

The idea of ​​​​Work is to better map the vacant jobs, about 133,000, according to the latest data from the INE. The idea is that, through the use of new technologies, a better offer of all these employment opportunities in public services is facilitated through a large public employment portal, also thanks to better profiling and individualized knowledge of the citizens who go to the new Spanish Employment Agency.

The second vice-presidency has mentioned that public employment services will be strengthened, with new, more varied worker profiles, but has not specified how much the staff will increase. The current SEPE suffers from a lack of personnel, as has been seen in the pandemic and the unions denounce and have recognized in the Ministry, so this change and the modernization of the system are viewed with some skepticism, waiting for it to materialize in the necessary resources to carry it out.

Yolanda Díaz has pointed out that the new Employment Law "changes the look", so that it will not only be aimed at job seekers, but also active workers who want to improve their position in companies and favor their working life. For example, through the training of workers. The Council of Ministers has also given the green light today to the call for public subsidies worth 300 million euros for the execution of state-level training programs, aimed primarily at employed workers, between this year and 2024.

The minister explained that there are novelties in the "priority" groups in the attention of the public employment services, which with the law will include "people with limited intellectual capacity, people with autism spectrum disorders, LGTBI people, victims of violence of gender, people in social exclusion, people over 45 years of age, migrants, beneficiaries and applicants for international protection, Roma people, or people belonging to other ethnic minorities and workers from sectors undergoing restructuring”, the Ministry breaks down.

Waiting for changes in incentives

Yolanda Díaz has highlighted the importance of the renewal of the Employment Law, given that in Spain it has been proven that active employment policies are not very effective, with incentives and public aid that act as "dead weight". In other words, they do not really encourage hiring and are simply absorbed by companies that were already going to hire anyway. For example, The Tax Authority (AIReF) has questioned the effectiveness of the 6,500 million euros spent on employment policies and subsidies.

However, the current legislation still does not address all these deficiencies, with the reform of hiring incentives still pending "another law", they specify in Labor. This regulation must also see the light of day this year, to meet the times of the reforms promised in the Recovery Plan.

The Economic and Social Council (CES), which has the mandate to analyze the legislation, agrees with the Ministry of Labor on the objectives of the new Employment Law, but has considered that it is "insufficient insofar as it focuses fundamentally on the active employment policies and the institutions that manage them, but without putting into operation tools that are equally necessary and more adapted to the needs”, considers the body led by Antón Costas.

The CES also criticizes the lack of social dialogue in the preparation of the standard, contrary to what happened in many other regulations, as it also argued a few days ago in this medium the Secretary of Institutional Policy and Territorial Policies of the UGT, Cristina Estévez. "We need to improve, and a lot, the new Employment Law", indicated Estévez, who warned that there was still time "to fix the Law in the parliamentary procedure". In CCOO they recognize that there has not been a "usual" negotiation, but they specify that the Ministry has maintained bilateral contacts and that they have included contributions from the union. In addition, they remember that the rule also had to be discussed with the Autonomous Communities, "which are the ones who have the competence" in active employment policies.

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