The agreement between the Ministry of Labor, the unions and the employers’ association to extend the ERTE until June 30 was announced last Friday, but it was on Monday when the signing of the same took place. For this, five ministers and the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez together with the representatives of the social agents have attended.

The President of the Government, the Vice President and Minister of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda have participated in the signing of the agreement, Pablo Iglesias; the Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño; the Minister of Finance and government spokesperson, Maria Jesus Montero; the Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Diaz and the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá. On the part of the social agents, the UGT and CCOO general secretaries attended, Pepe Álvarez and Unai Sordo, respectively; the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, and the president of CEPYME, Gerardo Cuerva.

The Council of Ministers will ratify this Tuesday the agreement that extends the ERTEs by force majeure until June 30, 2020 for those companies that cannot resume their activity due to the coronavirus pandemic. The companies that can partially recover their activity may proceed to the incorporation of workers, affected by ERTE, prioritizing the adjustments in terms of shorter working hours. Companies must notify the labor authority of the total resignation, if applicable, of the ERTE within a period of fifteen days and the SEPE of the variations in the data of workers included in those files.

The pact includes the commitment of the maintenance of employment by the companies, within a period of six months from the date of resumption of their activity, understanding as such the reincorporation to effective work of people affected by the file, even when it is partial or only affects part of the template.

The agreement introduces two clauses that refer to the distribution of dividends and fiscal transparency. Companies and entities that have their tax domicile in tax havens will not be able to benefit from the extension of the ERTE due to force majeure.

The companies and entities that avail themselves of the benefits derived from the extension of these ERTEs will not be able to proceed to the distribution of dividends during the fiscal year corresponding to the application of the ERTEs, except if they return the part corresponding to the exemption applied to quotas of the Social Security.

The exemption from Social Security contributions is maintained for companies that continue in ERTE with total force majeure, which will be 75% for companies with 50 or more workers. For companies immersed in an ERTE due to partial force majeure, different tranches are established, depending on the month, the number of workers in the company and their involvement in the ERTE. For workers who resume their activity, the exemption will be 85% in May and 70% in June (companies with less than 50 workers as of February 29, 2020). In companies with 50 or more workers, the exemption will reach 60% in May and 45% in June. Regarding workers who continue with their suspended activities, in an ERTE of partial force majeure, the exemption will be 60%, in May, and 45% in June (companies with less than 50 workers) and 45% in May and 30% in June (companies with 50 or more workers).

To follow the evolution of the pandemic and the measures adopted in the labor sphere, a tripartite Monitoring Commission will be created between the Ministries of Labor and Social Economy, Inclusion, employers and unions. This commission will meet, on an ordinary basis, on the second Wednesday of each month.

The commission will study the possible extension of ERTE beyond June 30 in the case of the most affected sectors and that may see their return to activity such as tourism, culture or passenger transport delayed.

The Council of Ministers may, in view of the activity restrictions related to sanitary reasons that persist, extend beyond 30 June 2020 the ERTEs of force majeure and their quota exonerations, extend the quota exonerations to the ERTE by force majeure to the ERTE for objective causes and to extend the unemployment protection measures.

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