Government, unions and employers begin negotiations for the extension of the ERTE on Friday
Government, unions and employers will meet this Friday, January 8 to start a new negotiation with the aim of extending the temporary work regulation files (ERTE), to which they are covered, with data at the end of December 2020, more than 755,610 people, a figure which is far from the 3.4 million workers who arrived in an ERTE in April.
Labor and Social Economy Minister Yolanda Daz has previously said she will summon social workers after Reyes to address this negotiation and noted that she will insist that negotiation deadlines are not exhausted. In fact, he asked that the negotiation not go beyond January 15.
He also said that ERTEs were a tool that “worked very well” and that they had “enormous flexibility”, while noting that he would like to ask for “more simplicity”.
This week, the Secretary of State for Labor and Social Economy, Joaqun Prez Rey, said that “huge changes” are not expected in the negotiation of extension of the files of regulation of temporary work. In fact, he clarified that the ERTE “has worked and adapted” and stressed that the key elements “are already well established”.
“We will surely try to work on a line of simplicity in the management of these elements of the job and their core elements, but the model cannot be revised, as it has been confirmed to work well in the months we have spent. “, he added.
For his part, the Secretary of State for Social Security and Pensions, Israel Arroyo, stressed that the ERTE model is “successful” and that “logically it will have to be subject to changes, but that these will be parametric or nuanced “. “It’s a model that has tended to focus and I think we’ll work in that direction,” he added.
The government, unions and employers agree that this tool is still needed, especially for sectors that have not been able to fully resume their activity, such as tourism, or that are subject to restrictions. to stop Covid infections, such as hospitality or commerce.
Indeed, the rescue plan in favor of the hotel industry, commerce and tourism, approved by the government a few weeks ago, has extended the number of sectors “ultra-protected” by ERTE to various activities, including commerce. wholesale of drinks, restaurants and food stands, activities in botanical gardens, zoological parks and nature reserves, drinking establishments and gambling and betting activities (casinos, bingo halls, lotteries and betting houses).
The current ERTE regulation will be in effect until January 31, and businessmen have long been asking to extend the next extension at least until the end of the state of alert decreed in Spain (May 9 ). The Ministries of Labor and Social Security do not talk about deadlines and limit themselves to ensuring that the ERTE is maintained until necessary.
It was expensive to sign the extension until January, in particular because of the differences that exist between the employers’ association and some members of the government as regards the sectors to be protected by the ERTE. In the end, an agreement was reached almost on short notice, which was presented in the form of a decree to the Council of Ministers.
The said decree, approved at the end of September, automatically extended until January 31 the procedures for force majeure for certain economic sectors, and created two figures, the ERTE of prevention of activity and the ERTE of limitation of activity, to which All companies are eligible, with fairly high exemptions, which in some cases can reach 100%.
ERTEs of force majeure with automatic extension are limited to the companies most affected by the pandemic whose activity is classified in one of the codes of the National Nomenclature of Economic Activities (CNAE-09) provided for by the standard, with exemptions quotas between 75% and 85%. These exemptions can also benefit companies which, although not part of these sectors, are in their value chain or whose activity depends mainly on it.
In the case of the new forms of ERTE in force, from which companies in any sector can take advantage, there are two types: ERTE due to an obstacle to activity resulting from restrictions adopted by the authorities (for example , night companies), and activity limitation ERTE, intended for companies that see their activity modified when a local, regional or state authority limits, for example, capacity and hours.
Activity limitation ERTEs come with quota exemptions of between 70% and 100%, while activity restriction ERTEs include exemptions between 90% and 100%.
It remains to be seen whether this ERTE device will be maintained in the new extension and whether there will be other changes in the list of CNAE activities, even if in view of the actions of the autonomous communities to stop the contagions, instruments will continue to be be necessary to protect workers and businesses affected by limitations and obstacles to their activity.
Workers at ERTE
According to Social Security data, the number of ERTE workers closed the month of December at 755,613 people, or 8,033 workers more than in November.
Since the worst moment of the crisis, at the end of April, the number of people in ERTE has been reduced by 2.8 million, which means that by the end of 2020, those affected by ERTE were 79% fewer than previously. in April.
The department headed by Jos Luis Escriv stressed that this figure of 755,613 workers at ERTE means maintaining the path of “stabilization” started in September despite the administrative restrictions adopted to contain the second wave of the pandemic.
On average, according to the series by release date, there were 782,915 people at ERTE in the month of December, up from 865,677 in the revised series of the previous month and 676,905 in October.
On December 29, during the last Council of Ministers in 2020, the government decided to extend, at the request of the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy, the royal decree by which a 5.5% increase in the minimum wage interprofessional has been established. (SMI), up to 950 euros per month for fourteen payments.
The intention was to give more space to negotiate social dialogue to agree on what the evolution of the SMI should be in this new year.
Thus, with the extension, legal certainty is guaranteed and the function of the minimum wage is maintained as a wage guarantee for workers who, thanks to the extension, will continue to be protected.
It remains to be seen whether social workers and the government will address the positions this Friday, which will be the first social dialogue meeting of the year. The minister made it clear last week that she was “a little sad” that they were arguing for 30 cents a day, although bosses continued to insist now is not the time to increase. wages and unions have called for the minimum wage to be increased. Civil servant salaries and pensions have done so (+ 0.9%).