One of the reforms that the Ministry of Labor is preparing, and which it considers one of the most important, affects the Active Employment Policies (PAE), to which Spain is going to allocate more than 3,500 million euros this year. For those who do not know them, they seek to facilitate the labor insertion of unemployed people and so far have had quite limited efficacy. In a country of four million unemployed people, its relevance is no less. In the redesign of the PAE, in dialogue with the Autonomous Communities and social agents, Work proposes to take an innovative step: to condition an important part of the funds to results. In other words, the Communities must demonstrate compliance with certain objectives in order to receive their entire budget in active employment policies.
What does the active employment policies that Iglesias has asked for in exchange for resigning from the Ministry of Labor move and how much money do they manage?
The Third Vice President of the Government and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, and the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey, explained this and other news about the new active employment policies this morning at a press conference, which they have been negotiating for months. with the Autonomous Communities and social agents and that they will address with the regional governments on April 28 in an important appointment. It is the date on which a Sector Conference will be held in which it will address the distribution of about 2,110 million euros for active employment policies between the different territories. To these, another 688 million from the European Recovery and Resilience Plan are also added.
Yolanda Díaz and Joaquín Pérez Rey have highlighted the large increase in money budgeted by the Government in this matter, so that the 2,110 million to be distributed represent “about 800 million more” than those previously assigned. The large investment of public money in this matter, explained the third vice president, must be linked to a greater exercise of “transparency” and “evaluation”, which contribute to improving the effectiveness of these policies, “poor” in the pastDiaz recalled.
45% of funds conditional on objectives
In this exercise of efficiency and transparency, the Ministry of Labor frames the novelty of including the conditionality of part of the funds destined to the PAE. Joaquín Pérez Rey has explained the intention to translate this conditionality into the future reform of the Employment Law, but for the moment Labor plans to start applying it already this year according to the compliance of each region with the past Annual Employment Policy Plan (PAPE) in agreement with the Autonomous Communities, with which it hopes to reach a consensus at the next Sector Conference.
Labor will propose to allocate an additional 800 million euros from this 2021 to the groups most affected by the crisis due to the pandemic, such as the training of workers in ERTE and young people
The proposal of the Ministry of Labor to the autonomies will consist in that the additional 800 million euros this year be invested in some of the groups most affected by the crisis derived from the pandemic, such as young people, training for workers in ERTE and women. With some 680,000 workers still included in ERTE, a year after the start of the pandemic, those responsible for Labor have highlighted the need to “prioritize” the training and requalification of those affected. Another fundamental group for the PAE are young people, who are also affected by the new Youth Guarantee Plus program that the Ministry will address at the aforementioned Sector Conference.
The remaining 1,300 million – which add up to the 2,100 that are distributed next week – are the funds on which the Ministry proposes to apply the new criterion of conditionality to objectives. Specifically, it will propose to the territories that approximately 45% of those 1,300 million is linked to the fulfillment of certain objectives.
The Secretary of State has explained that the design of these objectives is fundamental, with the need to reach an agreement on the indicators to be measured and the goals to be achieved. The idea of the Ministry is that these indicators are “objective” and that they take into account the differences of the territories, so that the same is not demanded from an industrialized region as from another agrarian, for example, but rather takes into account the context and the starting point of each region.
From the Ministry of Labor they trust in being able to reach an agreement with the Autonomous Communities on the conditionality of this important part of the funds, since they consider that it contributes to the greater exercise of transparency and evaluation that Spain is required by the European Commission and internal bodies such as the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIRef).
Precisely AIReF will be the body in charge of undertaking the evaluation and monitoring of the new active employment policies, said Vice President Díaz, “both those of the State and the Autonomous Communities.”
More personalized guidance and digitization
Yolanda Díaz has also presented other lines of the “modernization” of the PAE of the “XXI century”, such as a greater commitment to the orientation of unemployed people and those who intend to enter the labor market for the first time, as well as make it more personalized. To do this, Trabajo intends that guidance becomes a fundamental part of the PAE and not an additional and occasional task of these policies.
In this sense, the Secretary of State for Employment has affirmed his commitment to increase the network of counselors in the public employment offices of the territory, some 4,000 today between the SEPE and the regional public services. An increase in future staff, which Pérez Rey has not quantified, but which will begin with the stabilization of the 3,000 counselors who are currently temporary and have a temporary employment relationship with the Administration. “Those who must redesign the future of employment cannot be in a precarious situation,” said Yolanda Díaz.
The reform of the PAE will also include a review of aid to companies, which have been reflected in the past in many bonuses and exemptions to hiring, with little effectiveness according to AIReF. Joaquín Pérez Rey has not specified much in this regard, but has advanced that a large part of these bonuses will be reviewed since they acted as “dead weight”. In other words, they weren’t really encouraging hiring but were financing contracts that were going to be made anyway. Another key element of the reform, Yolanda Díaz has warned, is to promote training contracts, vocational training and dual vocational training, so that they are really attractive formulas for workers and companies.
In addition, the third vice president stressed that the reform will also include an important task of digitization and modernization of public services, in which artificial intelligence will be used for statistical profiling, for example. In addition, it is intended to implement a “real public employment portal” that links the territorial and state services and is available “on the mobiles” of citizens, Díaz explained.