The Ministry of Labor, the employers and the unions have reached an agreement to maintain the ERTE by force majeure until June 30, being detached from the state of alarm. After reaching a consensus on Thursday night, the Executive, the CEOE and CCOO and UGT have ratified the commitment to extend the ERTE in order to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Although it is not the best agreement for all parties, at least for employers, all have “given in” and reached a consensus on the protection of companies and workers during de-escalation. The agreement supposes the extension of the ERTE until June 30, although the state of alarm declines earlier. The Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz, has celebrated the pact and has announced that its department, with the employers and the unions, will form a commission to follow up on the agreement and study the possibility of extending these measures if necessary.
Díaz has affirmed that the document, which will be approved by the Council of Ministers in the near future, makes it possible to protect large and small companies, the self-employed, workers and the country’s economy at a very delicate moment. The minister has indicated that the pact responds to the commitment of the representatives of the employers and the unions with their country: “They have known how to leave the differences that they have in the legitimate defense of their interests in order to reach an agreement and try to save our country of a crisis that is economic and social. “
The minister stressed that the agreement is balanced because, in its fair measure, it weighs the protection of workers with their gradual return to economic and labor activities, and takes into account the sectors that are in a more delicate situation.
Workers affected by ERTE maintain their ‘counter to zero’, with regard to the time of the right to unemployment and the guarantee of unemployment benefit, despite not having the minimum contribution, until June 30. In the case of discontinued bonds, unemployment protection extends until December 31.
Companies must maintain the commitment to maintain employment six months after ERTE, with the exception of those that are at risk of bankruptcy. Companies whose tax domicile is not a country classified as ‘tax havens’ will be eligible for the extension of the ERTE.
“We are extending the conditions of the ERTE, which are very extensive; there is a lot of flexibility,” said the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, at her appearance in Moncloa. And is that in addition to maintaining the conditions, the ERTE may continue to apply either fully (when the activity cannot be restarted) or partially (recovery of part of the activity).
The exoneration of contributions is maintained, with an eye toward the return of economic activity, so that for companies that partially maintain the ERTE, the exoneration will be 85% in May and 70% in June for companies with less than 50 workers, and 60% in May and 45% in June for companies with more than 50 workers, in the case of ERTEs in full, which have not resumed their activity, exemptions will be 60% in May and 45% in June for companies with less than 50 workers and 45% in May and 30% in June for those with more than fifty employees.
The Minister of Finance, Maria Jesus Montero, has described as “effective” the measures put in place so far to protect the self-employed, SMEs and companies. As he has said, 442,000 self-employed and SMEs have availed themselves of the possibility of making a deferment of tax payment of 30,000 euros for 6 months, without paying interest the first three. “To date 2,440 million euros have been deferred,” the minister explained. According to a Bank of Spain survey to which the spokesperson has referred, companies consider that the possibility of postponing the tax debt has been one of the most useful measures in the current situation.
1.2 million freelancers have accessed the extraordinary benefit for cessation of activity, the ICO lines of guarantees have injected 40,000 million liquidity. For its part, the ease of applying the force majeure test has benefited more than 3 million workers.