"The social security contributions are linked to the salary in all the countries of the European Union. This measure is a perversion of the system, since what it allows is to be able to buy the pension ", says Jordi García, director of the labor relations department of the CEOE. In his opinion, the fellows do not perform the role of a worker, but are in a period of training and, therefore, "it makes no sense" to quote. The practices are, in his opinion, a mechanism to access the working market that works and the "fraudulent" cases are "minor". García believes that the monthly fee of 51 euros can throw back many companies, because "they are students that must be trained that do not usually generate many benefits."
The spokesman of the CEOE believes that the Government is unwilling to reach agreements and criticizes that it has approved this measure "without warning", when they were in the middle of a negotiation – the last meeting was held before Christmas – to work on creation of a scholarship statute that regulates the figure.
The opposition also comes from autonomous communities governed by the PSOE. Miguel Soler, regional secretary of Education of the Valencian Community (with a coalition government of PSOE and You commit), believes that the quote "loads the concept of training". In the case of Vocational Training, the practices – some 400 hours that normally take place during the last three months of the degree – are compulsory to obtain the degree, and there is a tutor in the educational center and another in the company that must be coordinated to determine the training program that the student will follow in the company.
"They are not working, they are learning. Three or four months more of contribution will not solve the problems of this country, "he says. On the contrary, he believes that finding companies willing to train students for three months is not easy and that the measure may cause their flight, especially in the case of small and medium enterprises, "the essence of the country's industrial fabric."
During the last weeks they have received "numerous" calls from institutes and companies that have shown their concern. Valencia and the Basque Country have asked the Ministry of Education that mediates to demand the withdrawal of the decree. Other communities, such as Aragón (PSOE) or Castilla y León (PP) have also come out against it.
534,000 university and vocational training students will benefit from the 2019-2020 academic year, according to the Ministry of Labor. Currently, only about 80,000 are quoted, according to data from CC OO, which are those who perform paid non-work practices. "This is the only way to fight fraud, there are a large number of companies and universities that are substituting structural jobs for fellows and in this way we will have control," says Carlos Gutiérrez, secretary of new work realities CC OO.
The decree comes after the Inspection forced the Autonomous University of Madrid to pay the contributions of 376 scholars. The labor police concluded, according to eldiario.es, that the campus covered with them jobs and that these practices had "nothing to do with the degree taken by the students."
In the next three months, the Executive will prepare the regulation that will accompany the decree, which will specify the amounts to be paid and other details of the measure. At the moment, the Government only rewards the quotation of the remunerated curricular practices (the obligatory ones to obtain the title). The rectors of the Spanish universities (CRUE) they say that, if the companies do not assume the cost, they will not be able to do it because of their structural deficit. "We already spent 100 million in helping disadvantaged students," they said in a statement in which they asked the government to rebarate the contributions to 100%.
Last Wednesday, the rectors met with leaders of the Ministries of Labor, Science and Education, and managed to remove the commitment that they "will work" to prevent universities from bearing added expenses "due to the application of the regulations.
The Government will not 100% subsidize the contributions, and it will be the companies and the receiving entities that will pay, as it appears in the decree, as confirmed yesterday by Labor sources to this newspaper. Once the demands of the rectors are heard, the only novelty that is contemplated is that the implementation of the measure will be "progressive" and "gradual": the first year the contribution will be less than 51 euros. There is no pursuit of a collection effort, but rather to "dignify" the figure of the fellows, said those same sources.
Adrián Todolí, professor of Labor Law at the University of Valencia, affirms that the companies that pay for the scholarship recipients – be it remuneration for their work or Social Security contributions – "value them more and make them better". That is the conclusion of a study by the Italian Institute of Statistics. "It's logical, if you pay, it's because you see it as an investment. Then there are the companies that use them to replace workers and save costs, "he explains.
Todolí, who participated in the preparation of the Commission's report European Quality Framework for Traineeships, which was published in 2014 and includes a series of recommendations to improve the quality of the practices, believes that the decree of the Government is positive because it will help to leave out companies that intend to "use" students. "It will be a good filter because if they are not willing to pay 51 euros, they will not put many resources at their disposal," he says. According to the report of the European Commission, the years of crisis aggravated the fraudulent situations in the companies and institutions of the countries of the EU, where, increasingly, students were used to cover structural positions. A situation that harms unemployed graduates and students. In this study, it was not included the recommendation to obligate the quotation of the scholarship recipients because some countries, such as the United Kingdom, did not consider it pertinent, says Todolí, author of the blog Arguments in labor law.
Another problem detected, says the researcher, is that students perform more and more practices, not with a formative purpose, but to increase their curriculum and have more possibilities of finding a job. The companies, at the time of choosing their candidates, opted before for those who have more hours of practices. "It's a vicious circle," says Todolí. That generates inequality between students with more economic resources, who can afford to do long periods of work experience, and those who are forced to look for low-skilled jobs to join the labor market quickly, the report says.