One day after the term expires, the council of ministers today approved the conditions under which the ERTEs will be extended until January 31. after one hard and long negotiation, the protection umbrella was born with the agreement of employers and unions, which this morning have validated in their governing bodies the offer that the Government presented at the last minute. The royal decree-law extends the files for temporary regulation of employment due to force majeure for certain economic sectors, although it also includes two other figures, the ERTE for impeding activity and the ERTE for limitation of activity, to which all may apply. companies, regardless of the sector, and which include very high exemptions, which in some cases reach up to 100%.
The Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, was the first to speak to explain the regulations. The minister has apologized for the delay in the negotiation, although she has been convinced that “it was worth it.” Díaz has remarked on several occasions that the expansion “protects all companies and all workers” in the face of a few months that can be complicated. This was precisely one of the red lines that separated the businessmen from the agreement, as they flatly refused to sign any proposal that would leave out some sectors, as proposed by Social Security. “We are facing an agreement of maximums,” he said.
The Galician woman has been aware of the seriousness of the economic situation that many companies are currently going through but has wanted to send a message of hope: “If we save autumn and winter we will fully enter into recovery,” he said. “Our only objective is to save the economy, companies and jobs,” said the minister, showing a more conciliatory speech than at the beginning of the pandemic and that has led her to find support among businessmen throughout this negotiation. For her part, Minister Escrivá has been in charge of the most technical detail of the standard and has specified the exemptions that companies that take advantage of any of the three planned models will enjoy.
ERTE of force majeure
ERTEs of force majeure with automatic extension will be limited to the companies most affected by the pandemic whose activity is classified in one of the codes of the National Classification of Economic Activities provided for in the standard, that is, tourism, transport, culture … These ERTEs will enjoy quota exemptions of 85% for each month of the period October 2020-January 2021 in the event that the company had fewer than 50 workers on its staff on February 29 of this year, and 75% if it had more than 50 employees, as Escrivá explained.
These exemptions will also apply to the value chain of the host company, even if these businesses are not part of the selected sectors. It would be the case, for example, of a dry cleaner that works for a hotel that is currently closed. To determine who is part of the value chain, it will be taken into account that in 2019 at least 50% has been invoiced with the company and must be requested from the labor authority. These exemptions are also maintained for companies that go from an ERTE of force majeure to one of economic causes (known as ETOP) and that are within the affected sectors or their value chain.
ERTE of impediment
One of the modalities are in the ERTE of activity impediment, those that can be used when the activity cannot be maintained as a result of restrictions adopted by the authorities (as has happened to nightlife companies). These ERTE will have exemptions of 100% if the company’s workforce was less than 50 workers in February of this year and 90% if this figure was higher.
The other new figure is made up of the ERTE of activity limitation, intended for companies that see their activity altered when a local, regional or state authority limits, for example, capacity and hours, as occurs with educational activities such as driving schools , academies, or gyms. These ERTEs of activity limitation will have retroactive effects from September 1, they will be accompanied by high quota exemptions, to be applied from October to January: if the company had less than 50 workers as of February 29 of this year, the exemptions will be 100% in October, 90% in November, 85% in December and 80% in January. If it had more than 50 workers, the percentages reach 90%, 80%, 75% and 70%, respectively, as detailed by Escrivá.
All of these figures imply compliance with certain limits, which were already included in the previous extension. As detailed by Díaz, while the ERTE is in force, no overtime, outsourcing activities or making new direct or indirect hires except in justified cases. In addition, companies domiciled in tax havens are excluded from this umbrella and will not be able to distribute dividends in the fiscal year in which the ERTE is applied.
Likewise, both the commitment to maintain employment for six months, which is extended for another six months after the expiration of the previous commitment, and the prohibition of dismissal for objective reasons are maintained. Temporary contracts, training, relief and are suspended, which means that the employer must necessarily extend them.
Unemployment benefits will also be maintained until January 31 and their amount will be 70% of the regulatory base even if six months have elapsed since their receipt (the reduction to 50% of the regulatory base is avoided) and the so-called “counter to zero »-That unemployment is not consumed while the benefit is collected- amounts from 180 to 196 days. It also improves the protection of discontinuous permanent employees and workers with periodic activities, who will have access to unemployment benefits, and of part-time workers. In addition, ERTE workers will have priority to access the training courses.