May 16, 2021

Sánchez analyzes the controversial 'Austrian backpack' of dismissal in his plan of reforms | Economy

Sánchez analyzes the controversial 'Austrian backpack' of dismissal in his plan of reforms | Economy



The Government of Pedro Sánchez wants to resuscitate the debate around the Austrian backpack, a personal saving fund for dismissal. The economic plan that you are preparing for several months This measure is included, as sources from several ministries have confirmed to EL PAÍS, which states that the measure is most likely to be presented to the Council of Ministers tomorrow or next Friday. The previous Socialist Executive already raised this idea in 2010, although I never got to develop it.

The Ministry of Economy has already prepared the economic plan with which the Government intends to recover the political agenda. In that plan, called Change agenda, There will be no concrete measures that will be implemented immediately, but basic lines with the direction that the Executive intends to give its economic, labor and environmental policy in the coming months. And there's that old well-known proposal for the labor market: the Austrian backpack,point sources from different ministries of the economic area. This consists of a kind of individual piggy bank, which is financed with specific contributions, to which the worker can appeal when he is dismissed.

Its inclusion in the reform plan started with Nadia Calviño's team in Economía, which had a specific wording. In Work, the department that Magdalena Valerio directs, did not have the same reception. Quite the contrary. Those close to Valerio fear that their announcement will distort social dialogue with employers and unions, where the proposal has never raised enthusiasm. The point of agreement between both departments has been a less committed wording that leaves room for negotiation with social partners, which augurs difficult delivery to the proposal.

Faced with misgivings on the one hand, there is the broad support that this initiative finds among parties and economists who see it as a useful tool to solve part of the problems of a sick labor market with high ups and downs in employment and high precariousness. The PSOE made it their own in 2010. In the labor reform that year included the commitment to study its development. The cost and the pension reform of the following year were crossed in the way of the initiative and made it derail. Later it has appeared in several electoral programs: the PP took it in 2011, and Citizens as well. In addition, it has been part of the pacts that Albert Rivera's party signed first with Sanchez's PSOE and then with Rajoy's PP in 2016.

The misgivings among social agents change according to who sees it. Business sources fear that the Austrian backpack is translated into an increase in labor cost through a new quote. The unions see it as a measure that can end up lowering the costs of dismissal.

In Austria, the backpack It came into force in December 2002 after two years of negotiations between unions, businessmen and the Government. A monthly contribution of 1.53% is paid on the gross salary of the worker that accumulates in a capitalization fund. Austria has no unemployment compensation. In Spain, that compensation is 20 days and copying the system would entail a high cost.

One solution would be to finance this system in two ways: reduce the contribution for unemployment benefit, now in surplus; and raise a little the contribution part of the worker.

Support from economists

Many economists support the start-up of the Austrian knapsack as it encourages labor mobility. It can serve to stimulate business changes among workers, something that is now discouraged by high severance rights for dismissal. This encourages transfers between companies, competition between them for skilled workers and talent and, consequently, productivity.

They also defend that it can be a good tool to attack excessive temporality. Having already paid part of the dismissal and only having to pay a portion of the current 20 days, companies in crisis could decide to keep the storm and not the indefinite. Thus, the difference between one and the other and the incentives for temporary hiring are diluted. However, this depends on the final design of the measurement.

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