The ERTE and the aid to the self-employed, pending a new extension

The Plenary of Congress votes this Thursday the decree law that extended until February 28, 2022 the system of special protection for the employment of ERTE (temporary employment regulation files) and the aids for self-employed.

The extension is a consequence of the agreements reached by the Government with the CCOO and UGT unions and the CEOE and Cepyme employers, on the one hand, and the self-employed organizations ATA, UPTA and Uatae, on the other. It is the sixth decree law approved by the Government after the agreement with the social agents on ERTE since the beginning of the pandemic.

1,200 IN BENEFITS AND EXEMPTIONS

In force since its publication in the BOE, each decree law must be submitted to a vote in Congress within a month to be validated or, otherwise, be repealed. In any case, the groups can approve to process it as a bill to propose changes through amendments.

According to government estimates, the extension of all the measures contained in the decree law represents about 1,200 million euros in the field of Social Security, the extension of the ERTE scheme and the benefits for the self-employed between October this year and February 2022 This amount must be added to the 21,000 million euros that the previous extensions have cost.

The extension of the ERTE means taking the current modalities until October 31 and, from there, a new modality with training as the central element until February 28. To access them, it is mandatory to request their extension from the labor authority between October 1 and 15.

THE ERTE LINKED TO TRAINING COME INTO PLAY

As of November 1, a new ERTE scheme will come into force in which the largest exemptions will be linked to companies providing training to workers suspended from employment. Along with these training ERTEs, the disability ERTE modality will be maintained, linked to the limitation of activity in the event of possible restrictions.

Companies in an ERTE of impediment will have a 100% exemption of the business contribution accrued as of November 2021, during the closing period, and until February 28. In the case of the new ERTE, the exemptions will be greater if the companies offer training actions – between 30 and 40 hours of training per person, depending on their size, when the day is suspended.

These training activities, which must be carried out before June 30, 2022, are linked to an increase in the credit used to finance the scheduled training set out in the Law on the vocational training system for employment.

Despite the fact that the ERTEs extend until February 28, the Government contemplates that the companies that are subject to this extension will have to avail themselves of the new structural internal flexibility mechanism that is being negotiated within the framework of the labor reform once it is enters into force, which is expected to happen before the expiration of the extension.

COUNTER EXTENSION TO ZERO

On the other hand, the decree law extends the so-called ‘counter to zero’ until December 31, 2022, so that the time consumed by unemployment by the worker who is in ERTE since September 2020 will not count when a dismissal occurs for any cause after January 1, 2023.

An extraordinary unemployment benefit is also established for people with permanent-discontinuous contracts, aimed especially at the tourism sector and concentrated singularly in the Balearic Islands; the ‘counter to zero’ is guaranteed for this group, which was not guaranteed before; and the amount of the benefit to be received by ERTE workers is maintained at 70% of the regulatory base throughout the term of the extension.

Likewise, the conditions of access to the benefit are maintained, even if the required time is not paid, as well as the commitment to maintain employment for an additional period of six months; the prohibition of firing; the interruption of the computation in temporary contracts; the prohibition of overtime, of operating in tax havens and of entering into new contracts, and the impossibility of outsourcing activity while enjoying the benefits of ERTE.

The decree also contemplates the extension of the Mecuida plan and the extraordinary benefit for professionals in the arts until February 28, 2022.

AGREEMENT TO EXTEND THE BENEFIT OF THE SELF-EMPLOYED

Likewise, it extends the benefits for self-employed workers affected by the crisis derived from Covid, maintaining the extraordinary benefit of cessation of activity for the self-employed until January 31, 2021.

In the case of this extraordinary benefit, a 75% drop in billing will be required and the income limit will be raised to 75% of the current minimum wage.

Gradual exemptions are also maintained for those self-employed who had been enjoying some of the benefits until September, which will be 90% in the first month, 75% in the second, 50% in the third and 25% in the fourth month . The ordinary benefit is extended as before.

SPECIFIC ERTE FOR THE CANARY ISLANDS

Finally, it also includes the measures agreed with the social agents to implement specific ERTEs for companies affected by the volcano eruption on the island of La Palma and in the Canary Islands as a whole. These ERTEs are also subject to the maximum deadline of February 28, but leaving the door open to extend these measures beyond that date.

As agreed, workers will have protection and companies will benefit from exemptions of up to 100% of social contributions in the event of their activity being totally impeded and of up to 90% in the case of limitation of activity. At the same time, an extraordinary four-month benefit has been approved for the self-employed on La Palma affected by the eruption.

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