The Council of Ministers has already approved the extension of the ERTE and the aid of ‘unemployment’ of the self-employed until September 30. After the ‘in extremis’ agreement with employers, which have resisted until the end as has been customary in these negotiations, the Executive has given the green light to this extension of social protection for companies and workers until after the summer, when a significant economic improvement is expected thanks to the advance in vaccination . Among the novelties of this fifth extension of the ERTE, it is worth highlighting the incorporation of three new sectors in the category of “ultra-protected” activities, with direct aid to the listing, while five sectors are emerging.
Agreement to extend the ERTE and the ‘unemployment’ aid for the self-employed until September 30
The Ministry of Social Security explains in a press release the entries and exits in the list of ultra-protected activities. On the one hand, three new sectors are included: Manufacture of other clothing and accessories, Wholesale of coffee, tea, cocoa and spices and Photography activities. On the other hand, there are five activities in this more protected category: Graphic arts and related services, Manufacture of optical instruments and photographic equipment, Retail sale of computers, peripheral equipment and computer programs in specialized establishments, Space transport and Rental of means of navigation. The full list can be consulted here.
“Those companies whose CNAE between the end of April 2020 and the end of May has recovered the activity in a percentage lower than 75% and have a percentage of affiliates covered by the ERTE equal to or higher than 15% have been included in this list,” he explains the Ministry. This definition has been slightly altered, since at this time a recovery in activity of less than “70%” was taken into account, which left out sectors such as land transport, which was of great concern to employers.
What does being considered an “ultra-protected” sector imply? Their companies are entitled to aid in social contributions in ERTE, both for suspended workers and for those who join the activity. These are also very high, between 95% and 75% in the coming months. In fact, the latter are older, according to the “incentive” model for the activity that the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, has defended and recovered in this extension.
Companies that leave the list of ultra-protected sectors can keep their ERTEs if they are still necessary, but they no longer have rights to these direct aids in the listing. In addition, there are two other types of ERTE that have exemptions in social contributions: ERTE of impediment and those of limitation, these for all sectors, which are the consequence of administrative restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. Here you can consult the aid to the quotation of the different ERTE modalities until the end of September.
As regards workers, unemployment protection is maintained for people affected by ERTE, as well as the six-month job maintenance clause after an ERTE and the MeCuida Plan is extended, which regulates the preferential nature of the worker to reduce or adapt your day to care for family members.
Changes are included for discontinuous fixed. The norm establishes, for this very numerous group in the tourism sector, “the obligation for companies to proceed to their effective incorporation during the theoretical periods of call of workers”. The theoretical call period for 2019 will be taken as a reference. In the event that they cannot carry out their activity during the call period, they will be affected by the ERTE in force on the date of entry into force of this rule or authorized later. The idea is that the people who have to receive the extraordinary subsidy for this group are reduced to a minimum.
“Recoveries can be fair”
The Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, and the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, have appeared after the Council of Ministers to explain the details of each matter in this new extension. Díaz has highlighted the new protection package for companies and workers, more than a year after the start of the pandemic, with which he believes that the Government is showing that “recoveries can be fair.” The vice president stressed that “there are different ways of tackling crises”, referring to the past financial crisis in which the PP ruled, which resulted in enormous job losses.
José Luis Escrivá has expressed himself today in the same terms by highlighting what has been achieved to date with the ERTE, something “extraordinary”. The unprecedented fall in economic activity due to the pandemic did not end, as usual in Spain, with a drop in employment in the same terms. Most of the employment affected by the crisis resisted in the ERTEs and in the aid for the self-employed. Escrivá highlighted the high percentage of incorporation of ERTE workers into the activity, 85% compared to the worst moments of the crisis. The minister considers that the design of the ERTE, and specifically of the aid to the listing for the companies, explains part of this “success”.
The minister has normalized the tensions to reach an agreement with the businessmen, that took the negotiation to the limit, forcing the Government to convene an extraordinary Council of Ministers. Escrivá recalled that the negotiations have already taken place ‘in extremis’ in previous extensions and has denied that the Prime Minister had to intervene to bridge the differences between his Ministry and the employers. Escrivá reached the final agreement with the employer’s leader, Antonio Garamendi, at the beginning of Wednesday afternoon in a video call, in which the dilemma raised was to agree on the last improved offer of aid or take less favorable exonerations to the Council of Ministers , according to sources of the negotiation.
Vice President Yolanda Díaz has not responded as to whether she had to intervene to smooth things over, although she recalled that the negotiation involves both the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Social Security in the tripartite table of the ERTE.