One in three self-employed workers indicated that their losses in 2020 were over 30,000 euros and two million self-employed workers estimated their losses at more than 15,000 euros, according to the latest autonomous situation barometer carried out by the National Federation of Self-Employed Associations ( ATA).
According to ATA, in total, Spanish independents lost on average more than 20,000 euros in 2020 due to the pandemic, which translates into more than 65,000 million euros.
The president of the ATA, Lorenzo Amor, indicated that “the extension of the cessation of activity of the independents can no longer be delayed” and allows those who had not requested it in March to access it more easily. .
“A disaster is looming for the self-employed, businesses and workers if it is not accompanied by an urgent plan of economic measures,” added Amor, who also stressed that 2020 has been “a horrible year” for people. thousands of independents who have had to reduce their workforce, have losses “from which they do not know if they will recover and must sometimes close in on the most absolute ruin”.
For Amor, “it is urgent” to establish an emergency plan now, “in view of a few very complicated months”. “We need liquidity and boost consumption and demand to cushion the decline in activity and avoid the closure of businesses and freelancers and, consequently, the destruction of jobs,” Amor said.
In this new edition of the barometer, it appears that 12% of those questioned have restrictions in their activity. In other words, some 400,000 freelancers are currently seeing their business or activities closed, 5.5% of whom say they have closed their business since March.
In addition, 56.6% say that although it has opened, it works at 50%, while 23.6% of respondents say that they are open and functioning normally, and only 1% admit that they are better. than before the pandemic.
When asked about billing, 83.6% said their business billing was reduced from the previous year, and for half of them, the decrease was more than 60%. 10.5% say they have maintained their income and 3.6% have increased.
It also emerges that 51.7% of the self-employed (1.7 million) who saw their turnover decrease did so by 60% or more compared to last year.
1.5 million self-employed people demanded dismissal
On the other hand, the barometer underlines that 50.2% of self-employed workers requested an extraordinary or ordinary cessation of activity at some point in 2020. In addition, 72% underlined that being able to receive this benefit is “essential” for don’t close your business in the current situation.
According to ATA, there are around 400,000 freelancers who are in need of funding at the moment and plan to apply for it in 2021. In fact, 12.7% of those surveyed say they have not applied for funding, but that ‘they think they will have to do it soon.
In 2020, one in three freelancers, 35.6%, requested some type of funding, either through ICO credits or from private entities.
ATA pointed out that the administrations helped with a little over 9,000 million, which translates into an average of 3,000 euros of aid per autonomous. This means, according to the Federation, that for every 100 euros that the independents lost, the administrations helped with 15 euros.
40% of the self-employed have requested Erte or are planning it
The barometer also underlines that nearly 40% of the self-employed who have employees have applied for a temporary work regulation file (ERTE) or plan to do so in order to continue their activity.
On the contrary, 37.4% (500,000 freelancers) say that, despite all this situation caused by the pandemic, they retain 100% of the workforce.
However, 12.4% of the self-employed with dependent workers, or some 200,000 self-employed workers, were forced to lay off.
Among those who have applied for an ERTE, nearly 20% still do not know whether they will be able to reintegrate their workers into their jobs soon. He also points out that 63.1% doubt their ability to keep all their jobs for six months after the first incorporation of the ERTE.
Almost 35% of the people questioned declared that if they were to face the dismissal of one of their employees, “they will not have enough cash to be able to finalize the hiring”.
Around 300,000 freelancers who will have to close
For this year, nearly 60% expect to incur losses, compared to 8.5% who believe their income will increase this year. Regarding the economy, nearly 70% say that the economy will take more than a year to recover, of which 28.4% think it will take more than two years.
In addition, ATA pointed out that some 300,000 freelancers believe they will have to shut down their businesses. In this sense, Amor explained that many of the self-employed who request cessation of activity will not join the labor market. “So far, many freelancers have been able to endure, but maintaining a business with assistance of 600 euros is very complicated,” he added.
When asked about their vaccination, 42.4% think it will be positive, while 40.4% think it does not help them resume their activity.
Regarding the negotiation of the Erte extension, Amor made it clear that it was necessary to reach an agreement as soon as possible and that Spain was in a third wave, “in which the companies , the self-employed and workers must be secure “. Regarding the cessation of activity, although he hopes there will also be an agreement soon, he says the government has not yet called them.