The regulation that governs the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE) linked to Covid-19 expires next Tuesday, June 30. Today, the umpteenth meeting of the social dialogue on the matter, was the day on which the Government, unions and businessmen were expected to finally reach an agreement to guarantee its extension until September 30. To obtain the endorsement of the social agents, the Ministry of Labor has come up with a new proposal that includes improving the coverage of the ERTE in the event of a virus outbreak, an option that employers and unions have begun to discuss this Wednesday internally and that will be continues to negotiate with the Ministry led by Yolanda Díaz.
In the new document, the Government has proposed assignments on its previous proposal. Among them, it offers to improve the exemption from Social Security contributions that companies with ERTE have, opening the door to maintaining those of total force majeure for companies that cannot resume activity or are affected by outbreaks of the virus, according to sources consulted by Efe. These last points were relevant for the CEOE employers who had been more reticent to the pact in the face of the latest government proposals that, in their opinion, did not provide a solution “to all situations in the different sectors.”
Thus, the Work proposal contemplates that to the ERTEs of total force majeure currently in force an exemption in business contributions of 70% in July, 60% in August and 35% in September in the case of companies with less of 50 workers. For companies with more than 50 employees, the fee exemption will be 50% in July, 40% in August and 25% in September.
These percentages are lower than those established until June 30, which were 100% for companies with less than 50 workers and 75% for companies with more than 50, but it means improving the previous government proposal, in which only Partial ERTEs were considered and not those of force majeure, as explained by Europa Press the secretary of Union Policy of the UGT, Gonzalo Pino.
In the case of companies that are currently active but that are forced to close as a result of a virus outbreak, the Government proposes that they may benefit from an ERTE of force majeure, which would have a quota exemption for companies of 80% if its staff is less than 50 workers and 70% if it has more than 50 workers.
“These resources provide many more guarantees for the ERTEs to continue acting as protection,” said Pino, who stated that a new meeting with the government will be held tomorrow morning to try to close the agreement.
For ERTEs of partial force majeure and ERTEs for objective causes (technical, organizational, economic and production), the exemptions to companies would be the same: for companies with less than 50 workers they would reach 60% for the workers who returned to the activity and 35% for those who continued in the ERTE, while for those with more than 50 workers it would be 40% for each worker who returned to his post and 25% for the one who continued in the ERTE, has Detailed Pine.
ERTEs with objective causes would thus have exemptions from quotas, previously only applicable to ERTEs of force majeure. The goal is to ease the transition from seconds to first now that the alarm state has ended. Thus, the companies and entities affected by ERTE of force majeure must proceed to reinstate the workers, prioritizing the adjustments in terms of reduction of working hours.
Unions hope to reach an agreement
The UGT general secretary, Pepe Álvarez, explained to Onda Cero that the meeting ended shortly after four in the afternoon – it started at 9:00 and included breaks – to “evacuate consultations”, but he confided that an agreement would be reached in a “short” period of time. Álvarez has pointed out that the “pitfalls” to reach an agreement are given by the invoice that the Government estimates that the extension of the ERTE until September 30 will mean. The union leader believes that this position is understandable because the extension has a “significant cost”. For his part, the secretary general of CC OO, Unai Sordo, has indicated in statements to the Sixth that in the negotiation to extend the ERTE there are “some discrepancies” that are “perfectly rectifiable” and he has hoped that the negotiations will end up reaching good port.
The government assured on Tuesday that if an agreement was reached, it would convene an extraordinary Council of Ministers on Friday to ratify it. In any case, if the pact does not happen, it is expected that it will be the Executive, unilaterally and in extremis, that will be set by the Council of Ministers next Tuesday –30 June and the day in which current conditions expire– the formula in which the ERTE will be extended until September 30.