The Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Diazyesterday gave the first clues about the reactivation schedule of the economic pulse, once the restrictive measures to contain the pandemic begin to relax. Diaz warned that in the Government they start from a plan in two times, with the gradual recovery of “the productive sectors until the summer” and others such as tourism, leisure and culture whose reincorporation “will extend until the end of the year”.
With these words, Diaz largely lost the tourism campaign and postponed the beginning of 2021 the return relative to normal of key sectors for the economy in Spain such as tourism – responsible for around 12% of the GDP and 13% of employment. Tourism, culture, leisure, air navigation, maritime …, explained the Minister of Labor in an interview on TVE, “they are going to have enormous difficulties, that is why we are designing with the social agents how to guide the measures, to provide social cushioning for this process ”.
Faced with the indisputable handicaps of resuming certain activities now paralyzed, the main axis of action is to maintain job protection beyond the state of alarm. For this reason, Work analyzes the extension of the conditions of the temporary employment regulation files (ERTE) due to force majeure. Thanks to the economic measures package of mid-March due to the Covid-19 crisis, in the ERTE due to force majeure all affected workers – regardless of contribution time – receive an unemployment benefit, while the company is exempt from the payment of the social contributions of its staff. These extraordinary conditions are currently linked to the duration of the alarm state.
Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Employment and Social Economy, Joaquin Perez Rey, addressed this issue at the table of social dialogue with employers and the majority unions. Along with CEOE, Cepyme, CC.OO. and UGT, Rey laid the foundations for an agreement on the de-hibernation of economic activity.
“Government, employers and unions are aware that when the state of alarm ends there are companies that are not in a position to be operational the next day. Some will take a few days, others a few weeks, and a part, more time ”, explain sources of social dialogue. Hence the importance of setting the conditions to “adapt” the
ERTE by force majeure.
More than half a million temporary files have already been filed, affecting four million workers. The unions claim that the vast majority are due to force majeure and doubt that they all meet the requirements set by law. Even so, they demand that the extension of the special coverage of this type of ERTE be clarified and take into account the behavior in each sector and even apply more specificity (activity by activity).
Work looks for a pact with the social agents on the ERTE by force majeure
From Work they explained that the meeting with the representatives of the employers and the workers had as objective to treat the impact of this process of reactivation of the economy in two phases, analyzing which sectors are going to need more aid during de-escalation. According to Diaz’s department, “the good harmony” presided over the meeting.
Now the Government has committed itself to the employers and the unions to put in a document the main lines of the reactivation. And it is not ruled out that the conversations take the form of an agreement with the social agents in “a few days”. Informed sources further advanced that, in the case of hotels and accommodation in general, it is very likely that the extension of the protection of the ERTE due to force majeure can last up to six months.
The Executive prepares to serve the most affected sectors
Among the activities most affected, those related to tourism are without question. The minister spokesperson, Maria Jesus Montero, assured yesterday that the Executive is working on “how to protect tourism in a planned way”, to admit straight away that “the tourist activity will not begin until it is safe for visitors and workers of the sector ”. In addition, he recalled that there must be coordination with the rest of the EU countries to proceed with the lifting of the borders. The most prudent voice within the Government was once again the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, who recalled that the containment measures had not yet been lifted and, therefore, avoided discussing plans for the recovery phase of economic activity.
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