October 20, 2020

The blocking of the ERTE table triggers legal uncertainty in companies




Four days after the expiration of the ERTE, companies and workers still do not know in what working conditions they will face what will undoubtedly be their Hardest fall in many years. The negotiation is still stuck and the council of ministers next Tuesday is already considered the last option. A scenario “in extremis” to which it was promised not to return in this extension, but which, nevertheless, repeats itself grimly, thus becoming the crudest reflection of Spanish politics. Meanwhile, legal uncertainty has skyrocketed, as has business discouragement.

Acting at the last minute also leaves very little room for maneuver for successfully perform a “surgical” ERTE to refine spending more and hit the companies that really need the help. Experts say that companies need an adaptation period to adapt to any legal change that affects their day-to-day life, so leaving thousands of companies and workers out of the umbrella overnight would generate unprecedented instability. Even more so when from the Government, especially from the Ministry of Labor piloted by Yolanda Diaz It has been insisted in recent days that no company would be left without aid at this time.

However, the negotiation remains frozen waiting for the Government to put a new proposal on the table, which could arrive this weekend. Within the Executive, the eyes are directed to the department of Social Security. Sources of the negotiation assure that Minister José Luis Escrivá is reluctant to give in and change his offer to restrict access to ERTEs of force majeure to the most affected sectors, although including its value chain, an end that is completely rejected by entrepreneurs. But the tension is on the rise.

Although the Minister of Economy, Nadia Claviño, is not directly involved in the negotiations, she would have been in favor of refining the use of these schemes. But not selecting by sector, but by companies and based on the impact of the pandemic on their income statement. Specifically, it would have been proposed that companies with drops in turnover of more than 50% could access ERTE. Employers are suspicious of the high bureaucratic burden that this proposal can generate and demand “clear protocols” to establish the way to proceed.

Unions, closer

In the CEOE environment, it is emphasized that no proposal that implies leaving sectors carried out will be accepted and that they will only return to the table if the sectorialization is outside the document. The unions, however, are closer to the pact, according to other sources. In addition to the limitation by sectors, the other two major sources of conflict are in the worker bonus reincorporated to their positions – which Escrivá claims to maintain – and in which it is the labor authority who decides which companies enter the aid scheme and which do not.

In the negotiation, however, there have also been advances in these two weeks. The flexibility of regrowth ERTE, for confined neighborhoods and cities, is one of the most valued by social agents. Although agreements have also been reached in other claims of the unions, such as the recovery of the so-called “Counter to zero” for unemployment benefit until January 1, 2022, which means that the unemployment consumed up to that date will be replaced in the event of a subsequent return to unemployment. And in maintaining the amount of unemployment benefits, to prevent them from being reduced after six months from 70% to 50% of the regulatory base.

The inclusion of a protection for permanent discontinuous workers, whose number has not yet been specified, is also part of the points of agreement.

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