New government proposal for future ERTE with relevant changes. The Executive sent a new text to the unions and employers at the beginning of the week, somewhat in advance of the new meeting of the dialogue table, which takes place this Wednesday morning. The draft, which advanced The Information and in which the ministries of Social Security and Economy have already participated, it is much broader than the previous one of Labor. It also includes substantial modifications, such as giving more weight to the Calviño ministry when setting the conditions that must be met to benefit from the files, a new specific benefit (other than unemployment) is included for the affected workers and the reduction is prioritized. working hours against suspension, among others.
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The proposal modifies even the name of future ERTEs. Instead of the “Employment Sustainability Mechanism” (MSE), as collected in previous drafts, they are called the “RED Mechanism for Flexibility and Stabilization of Employment”. These would be new files, together with those already existing in the Workers’ Statute for objective causes and force majeure (Article 47).
The objective of the files of the Network Mechanism is to save jobs in the face of future crises and restructuring within companies or sectors, with a key role in training the workforce that is affected by these situations. In line with what happens in other countries, such as Germany, and that in Spain so far has basically resulted in layoffs.
The first substantial change is that the Government proposes to prioritize the reduction of the working day over the suspension of the employment contract in all ERTE (also in the existing ETOP or force majeure). In other words, the companies that avail themselves of these should first try an ERTE that allows employees to work a few hours and, if this option is not viable, they could file a file that suspends the contract throughout the day.
This would be the new ERTE of the Network Mechanism
Regarding future temporary regulation files, the Network Mechanism, the two causes that Labor had already raised are maintained:
1) For structural causes. They are now defined as sectoral changes involving structural modifications or the introduction of novel work methods and production processes, such as automation, that imply the need to reduce staff. They could also occur within companies, not just sectors, where companies choose to re-qualify staff to refer them to other functions or even refer them to “professional transition processes” in other companies or sectors.
2) For cyclical causes. This type of file would be activated when economic crises take place, derived from a general situation.
Depending on the case, the proposal provides that the Government could require companies to implement the irregular distribution of the working day in these files.
The Network Mechanism would allow companies to request from the labor authority the reduction of the workforce’s working hours (between 10 and 70%) or, if this is not possible, the suspension of their employment contracts, with aid in Contribution to Social Security and social protection matters. The provision for these aids had already been incorporated into the latest working draft.
Companies could receive contribution aid for workers affected by the Network Mechanism, but provided that they “develop training actions” in favor of these people. Companies would also receive more public money for training activities, something that has already happened in the last extension of the ERTEs due to the pandemic, which were presented as transition files to these future ERTEs. In addition, contribution aid is also proposed for companies that hire personnel affected by a structural Network Mechanism.
The maximum duration of these files is one year, in the case of agreement with the workers’ representation, and six months when the Network Mechanism is authorized by the labor authority in the absence of an agreement. In the case of files for structural reasons, a maximum of two extensions could be requested, of six months each, so these could reach two years.
As a relevant novelty, it is proposed that workers affected by a Network file have the right to a new social benefit, different from the unemployment protection they have received in the ERTEs so far. Its amount would be 70% of the regulatory base, with a maximum of 225% of the IPREM (now 1,271 euros). Workers would not consume the unemployment they have accumulated to date, but this time would not count as time contributed to Social Security either.
How would all this be paid for?
One of the key points of this new mechanism is to specify its financing. The Government proposes to create a specific fund, attached to the Ministry of Labor. The draft provides for the RED Fund to pay for the benefits and aid for companies’ contributions, as well as the costs associated with training.
In addition, the Government also incorporates FOGASA into the equation of the new ERTE in a movement that reminds some of the so-called “Austrian backpack”. In the Network Mechanism for structural reasons, the company would have to put into effect a relocation plan for the personnel, inside or outside the company, which would include training activities. When the worker went to another company as a result of this process, the company of origin would have to transfer to FOGASA 50% of the compensation that would correspond to the affected person in the event of unfair dismissal. The objective, the draft notes, is “to constitute a fund to finance the relocation processes.”
The worker would go to the new company thanks to the relocation process, without seniority and with new working conditions, but in case of being dismissed for reasons that are not attributable to the employee, FOGASA would pay him the compensation for unfair dismissal that he had received. corresponded in the company of origin.
More weight for the Ministry of Economy
Another of the most substantial changes, and which is somewhat disconcerting among social agents, is the new procedure set to activate future ERTEs, which require the involvement of the Council of Ministers.
It is proposed that the Network Mechanism requires “a prior activation by Agreement of the Council of Ministers, at a joint proposal” of the Economy, Labor and Social Security, “after a report from the Government Delegate Commission for Economic Affairs”, which it directs today today the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño.
The draft gives even more powers to the Ministry now headed by Nadia Calviño. It is proposed that Economy can establish conditions, “objective parametersautomization”, that determine the specific causes that grant the presumption that a company can avail itself of the Network Mechanisms.
In any case, prior to its elevation to the Council of Ministers, it is expected to be “essential” to inform the most representative trade union and business organizations at the state level. Sources of social dialogue point to elDiario.es that they expect the Government to explain this new activation procedure well this Wednesday, of which they show some mistrust.