The Government extends the preference for teleworking until July

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It will allow ERTEs in essential sectors for non-essential workers and lower contributions to farmers with periods of inactivity this year.

The Council of Ministers approved this Tuesday a Royal Decree-law with more than 30 economic measures, including extending for two months the preferential nature of telework, as well as the right of workers with care duties to adapt or reduce his working day, as announced by the third vice president of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs and for Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño.

The regulation also contemplates access to unemployment benefits for workers who, being in a trial period, saw their employment contract terminated as of March 9, and those who voluntarily terminated their employment contract as of March 1 for have another firm job offer that finally declined.

“This completes the right of access to unemployment benefits for a group of workers who had been excluded from the previous Royal Decree-laws,” Calviño highlighted in the press conference after the Council of Ministers.

Likewise, the Government has modified the regulation of temporary employment regulation files (ERTEs) due to force majeure so that they can be accessed by those companies that belong to essential sectors but whose income has been reduced by the restriction of mobility. Now they will be allowed to present an ERTE to include non-essential workers for their essential activity.

Calviño has also reported that the decree also contemplates a reduction in contributions for certain agricultural workers who have periods of inactivity this year, as well as a simplification of the procedure to postpone Social Security debts.

“Telecommuting has been tremendously effective”

The priority of telework in the coronavirus pandemic and the impulse to the adaptation or reduction of working hours were approved by the Government in the Royal Decree-Law of March 17 of extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of Covid-19 .

Calviño stressed that the decision to extend the preferential nature of teleworking, whenever possible, is due to the fact that it has proven to be a “tremendously effective” measure to continue economic activity in an exceptional situation such as the current one. “It has been one of the main lessons of this crisis,” said the vice president.

To support this labor modality, the minister recalled that the requirements have been relaxed and different financing measures have been enabled by the Government to try to support companies in their start-up.

Article 5 of the decree of March 17 established the preferential nature of teleworking over temporary cessation or reduction of activity. Thus, with the aim of facilitating the exercise of the remote working modality in those sectors, companies or jobs in which it was not foreseen, the Government determined in said article that the obligation to carry out the evaluation of risks on an exceptional basis through a self-assessment carried out voluntarily by the worker himself.

The other article that the Government has approved to extend for two months is that it allows workers to adapt or reduce their workday to care for their dependents (up to second grade), making it possible to reduce the workday by 100% ( in that case without salary), without being punished or dismissed for it.

In the Royal Decree-Law of March 17, the Government indicated its intention to ensure that people with dependents, up to a second degree of consanguinity, are organized so that they can organize their work time in the most satisfactory way to be able to attend to their obligations of custody and care.

The norm considers as an exceptional cause the decisions taken by the governmental authorities that imply the closing of educational centers or of any nature. Thus, this article establishes that workers can reduce up to 100% of their working day or reorganize it in order to face this closure of educational centers or social care centers.

This right is open to workers employed by others who demonstrate care duties with respect to the spouse or domestic partner, as well as with respect to relatives by blood relationship, up to the second degree.

The reduction in working hours must be communicated to the company 24 hours in advance. This, according to the Government, “is a fundamental measure to promote conciliation and co-responsibility and will be understood as the individual right of each of the caregivers.”

“The modifications to the working day must be requested in a justified, reasonable and proportionate manner to accommodate the organizational needs of the company and will be limited to the duration of the exceptional period,” states the Royal Decree of March 17.



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