The ERTE will be automatically extended until May 31st without re-applying
The ERTE will be automatically extended until May 31st, so that neither the companies nor the more than 755,000 workers, who are currently affected by a suspension of employment as a result of Covid-19, will have to reapply like they did in October to keep it. The objective is to ease procedures for a smooth transition and so that SEPE doesn’t collapse again under the pressure.
The Government met again yesterday with the unions and business representatives and, although the agreement was not finalised, definite progress was made in a "climate of understanding", according to the Ministries of Labour and Social Security, in agreeing on how the files of employment will be regulated until May 31st.
One of the main points that has already been settled, is the deadline, although the general secretary of UGT, Pepe Álvarez, criticized that the Executive is setting a finishing date again, when what should be done is "to set a review date, not an expiration date”.
The conditions of the new ERTEs will be basically the same as the previous ones, with very few variations, Ministry sources are optimistic about closing the remaining points at the next meeting on Thursday, since the deadline for a new agreement has been set for January 15th so as not to leave, as is customary, the negotiations until the last minute.
There are two main obstacles to the new extension. Social Security contributions are once again the main stumbling block, since the employers insist that it is necessary to exempt companies from paying 100% of the workers' contributions in ERTE, since they are now in a far more complicated situation than at the beginning of the pandemic. At present, depending on the type of file, the exemption ranges from 70% to 100% and no major changes are expected in this regard.
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The other stumbling block is in the current clause for maintaining employment by companies under an ERTE, meaning that employers will not be able to dismiss any worker in the six months after their reactivation, or they face a penalty of having to return the exonerations of the entire workforce.
The Ministry of Labour, and the unions, are reluctant to change this condition, but the employers demand that it be softened or interpreted in another way, since the situation has changed and there will be companies that have no choice but to make adjustments to be able to survive.
The president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, thus requested that companies have to return only the fees of the employees who are fired and not those of all those who have taken advantage of an ERTE.
Also confirmed is that workers will retain in principle the same rights in the ERTE, and will continue to receive 70% of the benefit.