Extension for Spanish furlough scheme for tourism-related staff set to be negotiated

A worker at a hotel in Malaga this summer after reopening.
A worker at a hotel in Malaga this summer after reopening. / Francis Silva
  • Government, unions and business leaders will next week discuss new measures for ERTEs into the winter months

The government is negotiating with unions and business leaders how to extend the national furloughing programme (ERTEs) when the current Covid-19 scheme runs out on 30 September.

On the table at a meeting between the different sides in Palma de Mallorca on Monday will be allowing extensions in sectors linked to tourism.

On Thursday this week, the Minister of Work, Yolanda Díaz, said that the government is looking to "redesign a protective mechanism" that covers not just the tourism sector in the strictest sense, "but the whole chain [of supply]".

In her comments she mentioned as likely firms: travel agents, transport companies, leisure operators and cultural firms.

The minister also confirmed, "without a doubt", that the ERTEs would be extended in some form and that these measures would last, "until necessary". Firms in the tourism sector have been asking for an extension until Easter.

Among the issues being debated today is how much of a furloughed worker's salary should be paid out by Social Security. Currently it is 70 per cent, but the law reduces this to 50 per cent after six months. The government has said it is open to reviewing this.

Data released this week showed that in August, in Malaga province, eight of every ten workers who were furloughed were back at work. Now the peak tourist season is over, uncertainty about jobs is back again.