Agreement reached to extend and adapt ERTE furloughing plan

Díaz explains the measures.
Díaz explains the measures. / EP
  • Bosses and unions have given the go ahead to the scheme running until 31 January and the Work minister has added that it could last even longer

After reaching an agreement this week for new ERTEfurloughing rules for workers, the minister for Work, Yolanda Díaz, added on Thursday that they could even be renewed again when the new extension period expires on 31 January.

After the eleventh-hour deal with employers and unions, new ERTE rules came in yesterday, 1 October, as the previous schemes had expired. The new measures also allow companies only partially affected to benefit.

There are now three types of ERTE scheme for bosses to furlough staff on, all of which see the government paying between 70% and 100% of social security contributions. In return, once again, firms are not allowed to sack furloughed workers within the first six months of being brought back to work.

In the first type of furloughing, all the existing ERTEs for worst-hit firms have been renewed automatically in certain sectors of the economy, with a drop of at least 65% in business activity and over 15%of the workforce mothballed. This essentially covers tourism, some transport, leisure activities and also other secondary sectors, such as jewellery and graphic arts. In addition, firms in other sectors who can prove that at least 50% of their income comes from other affected sectors can benefit.

Companies forced to close totally will get the highest rebate on their Social Security contributions.

There will also be different ERTE terms for those who have had to shorten opening hours or reduce their capacity.

For workers who are on an ERTE,they will continue to receive 70% of their basic salary from the government, even if they haven’t paid enough contributions. Receiving this payment won’t count against their future unemployment benefits right at least for this year.

“It’s a totally ambitious project that keeps safe and defends all firms and workers in our country,” Yolanda Díaz said.