one for crisis and another sectorial

The Government has put forward a new proposal for future ERTEs in the negotiation of the labor reform. This “Network Mechanism” has two modes: cyclical, for future crises, and sectorial, for requalification and restructuring needs of certain activities. After what unions and employers will reject the previous draft, the Government has withdrawn some of the measures that generated the most opposition, such as the obligation of companies that relocated workers to other companies to pay part of the severance pay accrued by the employee to FOGASA.

The Government proposes a temporary contract for occasional jobs of a maximum of three months

The Government proposes a temporary contract for occasional jobs of a maximum of three months

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The meeting on the labor reform that has been held this Friday has had a new proposal document, which the Government sent to the social agents last Thursday night. The parties will continue debating next week, report sources of social dialogue, but some of the modifications raised regarding the ERTE have been welcomed with good eyes.

For example, it is not stated that FOGASA is the depositary of compensation for dismissal of workers in any case. This idea, which the unions criticized because they considered that it was trying to introduce some elements of the so-called “Austrian backpack” and that the employers did not like either because of its economic investment, has finally been eliminated.

The Network Mechanism, which is still called this way in this latest draft, would be activated by the Council of Ministers, at the request of the Ministry of Economy, Labor and Social Security, as has happened to date with the general conditions of the ERTE in the pandemic. The role of the Council of Ministers is limited with respect to the previous draft, something that the social agents had not liked either.

Once the general framework is activated by the Council of Ministers, companies affected by cyclical and sectoral crises could request the activation of the Network Mechanism from the labor authority, which should respond to the request within 7 days. Administrative silence would be considered a positive response.

Reduction of working hours is prioritized

The two causes that can motivate it, as said, would be: cyclical, in the event of a “general macroeconomic situation that advises the adoption” of this instrument; and sectoral, when “a certain sector or sectors of activity are seen permanent changes that generate the need for requalification and professional transition processes of workers”, includes the draft.

UGT has highlighted in a statement that the future ERTEs continue to bet, as in previous drafts, by prioritizing the reduction of the working day over the suspension. In other words, the company could only suspend the contract for the entire workday in the event that reducing the workday for just a few hours “is not feasible.” The reduction is proposed for between 10% and 70% of the day. This guarantees more income for workers affected by these crises.

The Network Mechanism for cyclical reasons could be extended by one year and the sectoral one, by one year, but with the possibility of benefiting from two extensions of six months each. That is, two years maximum. In the sectoral Network Mechanisms, companies would be obliged to present a relocation plan, with training and professional guidance measures aimed at enabling the employment of these workers in other companies.

Aid to companies

The future files of the Network Mechanism are also raised with contribution aid for companies, as has happened with the ERTE of the pandemic. Companies would also be eligible for more aid in the form of credits for training, as has happened in this last extension of Covid files.

In addition, companies that hire workers from companies included in the sectoral Mechanism could qualify for bonuses in social contributions “of 50% for 6 months,” says UGT.

The ERTE regulated in article 47 of the Workers’ Statute due to force majeure would also have “for the first time” the possibility of incorporating exemptions for companies, explain sources of social dialogue.

The social agents and the Government will continue negotiating the labor reform next week, which not only has to finish negotiating the future ERTE (Red Mechanism), but also the recipes to combat abusive temporality and the reconfiguration of training contracts, mainly. Social dialogue sources point out that the employers, with more differences before the Government’s proposals, have shown their willingness to present proposals next week.

The time for negotiation is nearing the end, with the Government’s commitment to approve the labor reform before December 31 of this year.


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