Government Resumes Negotiations This Thursday To Extend Ertes Beyond May 31

Once the Government has renewed the main measures of the shield in terms of housing and supplies , it is the turn of the ertes and the aid for self-employed workers .

This Thursday, May 6, the negotiators of the Ministries of Labor and Social Security have summoned the employers and the unions to resume negotiations and extend the incentives for temporary files beyond May 31 (current expiration date) . Some 665,000 workers currently in employment depend directly on the renewal of this social protection mechanism.

The Government has already pledged, both publicly and in writing to the European Union, to extend this protection mechanism for the remainder of the year, although how it remains to be defined.

Ministers such as José Luís Escrivá or the second vice president, Nadia Calviño , have positioned themselves in favor of introducing changes in the incentive system, rewarding more those companies with the possibility of reactivating erte workers. While the third vice president, Yolanda Díaz , and the social agents are more inclined to maintain the current model with little change.

This Thursday the social dialogue table is scheduled to kick off a new extension of the ertes. The first point that must be closed is the date: Until when will the conditions be renewed? On the last occasion, a period of four months was chosen and until now that has been the predominant format.

When the parties addressed this issue at the end of January, at the first meeting they managed to pre-agree on the new date. It will be necessary to see if they reissue that speed in the new ‘deadline’, although there are already six extensions of the ertes and in no case has the Government moved from that format of three or four months per window.

While the ‘until when’ is not expected to be conflictive, the ‘how’ can generate greater dissent. One part of the table will presumably defend increasing incentives for those companies that maintain their strength, but reactivate a higher proportion of workers.

Previously, this scheme was in force during the de-escalation last summer and consisted of granting more aid to companies for their active workers and less for those suspended. An approach that employers and unions do not like, who prefer to pour resources into giving more aid to companies that either have all their workers on duty or have part of their staff, but always giving priority to suspensions.

Performance and ‘counter to zero’
The incentive scheme will not be the only point of debate and that is that there are several more edges that the social agents and the Executive must polish. One of these is the ‘prohibition of firing’ for companies that are in erte and during the six months after the end of it.

The employers want to eliminate this clause, the unions advocate maintaining it and until now the Government has been extending it. The renewal of the ‘ counter to zero ‘ of the unemployment benefits of the affected workers and guaranteeing a minimum of 70% of the benefit are two aspects that the parties must also agree on.

The Government has budgeted an expenditure of 7,972 million euros in 2021 to maintain this scale of the social shield throughout the year. A substantially lower proportion than the 29,311 million it made available for it during the previous year.

In view of the reduction in the number of affected people, since there are currently about 665,000 workers in erte throughout Spain and during the previous year, at the time of greatest confinement, the peak of 3.5 million suspended employees was reached.

The aids for self-employed workers, which currently benefit some 450,000 RETA affiliates, are also pending to be renewed beyond May 31. Usually its scheme has followed a script parallel to that of the ertes and the agreement with the social agents has been concluded in parallel.

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