The management bodies of the employers and of the main unions ratified the agreement that their managers had reached at the last minute with the Ministry of Labor, according to which the ERTE designed by the Government after the declaration of the state of alarm are extended until the June 30th.
In this way, they are disconnected from the political decision to extend this exceptional situation and both the Ministry of Labor and the social agents undertake to evaluate its expansion beyond that date based on the economic conditions of the sectors and companies affected, according to the text to which the Government also gave the approval and approved in the Council of Ministers.
“This is a balanced agreement based on the value of social dialogue in which we all committed”, said the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, at the press conference after the extraordinary Council of Ministers, in which she also recognized the negotiating effort of the social partners. “They have demonstrated their commitment and that they are at the height of their country’s history at a time as difficult as this”, Díaz praised.
Along the same lines, the President of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, acknowledged that all the parties had to be flexible, and put social dialogue as an example of the effort that the country needs at all times in all its spheres.
It was not easy for the president of the businessmen to convince the CEOE leadership to sign the agreement. The stumbling block to the condition of maintaining employment during the six months after the end of the ERTE continues to be difficult in sectors especially affected by this crisis.
The CEOE wanted to erase the condition of maintaining employment the following six months
In the official statement issued by the employers following the meeting of its management committee, it is recognized that “a longer-term agreement would have been desired that would have given security and certainty to companies and workers, to accompany them in the process of full recovery of the activity”. But it also recognizes that “within the Government’s time and budget margins, the agreement improves the initial proposal”.
The truth is that the CEOE negotiating team has managed to initiate not inconsiderable changes for its interests. On the controversial issue of job maintenance, although the requirement to keep jobs for the six months after returning to activity remains, the employers have achieve an exception. Companies that demonstrate the risk of entering bankruptcy will not have this obligation.
On the other hand, Labor maintains the requirement that companies that have activity in tax havens or distribute dividends cannot access the advantages of ERTE due to force majeure, but at this point it has also made concessions. The requirement is maintained only for those who on February 29th, 2020 had more than 50 employees. In other words, it frees SMEs from this obligation and also establishes that large companies will be able to distribute dividends if they return the Social Security contributions from which they had been exempted, compared to the initial requirement that they intended to also return the benefits they would have received. your workers.
A commission is created to evaluate sectors that can continue in ERTE from July
Another novelty agreed by Labor and social agents is the possibility that ERTEs can be extended beyond June 30th depending on the sanitary conditions of economic opening of companies and territories.
To channel this possibility, a tripartite commission has been created in which Labor, unions and employers will work to define which sectors and companies meet the conditions that allow them to expand the ERTE.
Even so, the agreement contemplates incentives to return to business activity by lowering the exoneration of contributions and quotas for workers during the months of May and June for employees who remain in ERTE and expanding it for those who return to work.