Labor will encourage companies with problems to opt for such a formula, limit eventual contracts and develop discontinuous fixed ones
The Government continues to work with the social agents in defining the new labor reform, some of the most relevant aspects of which must be approved before the end of the year. And among these novelties, the ERTE (Temporary Employment Regulation File) constitute a fundamental pillar once the crisis has been overcome. The idea that ERTEs are here to stay, as the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, usually recalls, will be reflected in the text agreed upon by social dialogue. And, as is the case now, companies that make use of this protection for their workers, at the expense of the State, so as not to resort to other labor adjustments, must maintain the employment of the affected workers, as has been the case until now.
The Labor proposal, to which this newspaper has had access, clarifies that companies must maintain that job and will not be able to resort to overtime or outsourcing “in line with ERTE Covid.” In other words, the prohibition on dismissals, once the ERTE workers have been reinstated, would continue for six months, as at present.
Since the coronavirus crisis began, ERTE has been the system in place to protect jobs. Up to 3.7 million employees have found themselves under this umbrella, at the worst time of lockdown and economic activity. From the first decree that the Government approved to implement this mechanism, a clause was included that restricted layoffs. In the successive extensions approved, this obligation has also been maintained, together with that of reimbursing the amounts exonerated in social contributions by the companies if they do not comply with this requirement. This is an extraordinary clause that did not exist before the pandemic, since the ERTEs modified with the 2012 labor reform did not include this prohibition. In the proposal submitted by Labor, ERTEs are considered as a guarantee of structural protection “that allows companies to maintain employment to face difficulties due to technical, organizational or production economic reasons.”
They will be structural in nature, so that companies use them instead of opting for collective redundancies in crisis situations.
The Executive wants to limit their use, restricting it to a list of circumstances that would allow them to be used.
The idea is to promote this type of contract, especially in certain campaigns or sectors with irregular activity.
The cases in which companies can modify terms such as employee salaries, in certain circumstances of economic or business crisis, will be adjusted.
In addition, they will have to be approved by the Labor Authority, something that will actually give more strength to the unions because in practice the Administration will probably require the agreement to approve it. And companies must justify why they do not use this reduction in working hours through the ERTE and prefer to fire. They would have to demonstrate that this mechanism “is unfeasible to resolve in a proportionate and reasonable way the situation in which the company finds itself,” the proposal points out.
To finance them, an endowment fund for the Employment Sustainability Mechanism is created – to which employees and companies must make contributions – to cover the mechanism that will allow workers to receive benefits.
Limit the temporality
On the other hand, Trabajo insists on delimiting the use of the temporary contract so that it is limited to certain variables that are well defined in the standard. It could only be used for substitutions or unforeseen peaks in production. And they want to develop the discontinuous fixed contract to expand its use.
In addition, the Executive wants to “reformulate and simplify” training contracts. The Minister of Labor aspires to modify them to expand their use linked to the “seasonal needs of companies”, because, in addition, “the fixed contract of work will disappear.” Especially after the European Court of Justice has established that this modality cannot imply a chain of contracts that exceeds the provisions contained in the regulations.