The BOE of 29 September approved Royal Decree-Law 18/2021, of 28 September, on urgent measures for the protection of employment, economic recovery and improvement of the labour market, which, among other measures, includes the extension of the benefits of the Temporary Redundancy Proceedings (ERTE) until 28 February 2022.
This RDL 18/2021 entered into force on the same day of its publication in the BOE. In order to facilitate the transition of the ERTEs, the current model will remain in force during the month of October.
An extension is set in two phases:
- From 30/09/2021 to 31/10/2021: automatic renewal without the need for any formalities and with the same conditions.
- From 01/11/2021 to 28/02/2022: it will be necessary to apply for an extension in order to obtain exemptions on social security contributions.
The new regulation, in force until 28 February 2022, establishes, on the one hand, the extension of ERTEs in their current modalities until 31 October 2021 and, on the other hand, the new ERTE modalities as of 1 November, for which it is mandatory to apply for the extension to the labour authority between 1 and 15 October. Therefore, the new ERTEs will run from 1 November to 28 February 2022.
To be noted. The extension of the ERTES in force as of 30 September 2021 shall be authorised:
- Upon request by the company of an application to the labour authority that authorised or processed the proceedings, between October 1st and October 15th 2021. If the application accompanied by such documentation is not submitted within the established period, the temporary layoff plan shall be deemed to have been terminated and will not be applicable as of November 1st 2021.
- The application must be accompanied by the following documentation (art. 1.2 of Royal Decree-Law 18/2021, of 28 September):
- List of the hours or days of suspended or reduced work during the months of July, August and September 2021 for each of the workers, duly identified in relation to each of the work centres.
- In the case of ETOP ERTE’S COVID-19 (art. 23 of Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of March 17th), a report from the workers’ representatives with whom the ETOP ERTES COVID-19 was negotiated shall be attached.
New “training ERTEs”: from 1 November to 28 February 2022
From a model based on the so-called sectoral ERTEs, with special protection for activities that had shown less recovery after the impact of the pandemic, greater protection is given to companies that promote the training of their employees. Training in new ERTEs is thus encouraged by subsidising the bulk of the cost of training and applying exemptions to companies that train their workers in ERTEs.
Companies that train people affected by this type of ERTE will be entitled to an increase in the credit for financing training activities, depending on their size:
- From 1 to 9 employees: 160 euros per person
- From 10 to 49 employees: 240 euros per person
- From 50 or more people: 320 euros per person
The training actions may be developed through any of the types of training provided for in Law 30/2015, of September 9th, which regulates the training system for employment in the workplace. However, priority will be given to the development of training actions aimed at meeting the real training needs of companies and workers, as well as those that allow the latter to requalify, even if they are not directly related to the activity carried out in the company.
For the aforementioned purpose, Article 3 of RDL 158/2021 regulates the system of training to be provided, and it should be noted that its provision to persons included in the redundancy plan, without prejudice to the corresponding greater exemptions in contributions, will entail an increase in the credits available to companies for financing the aforementioned training.
The benefits, in the form of exemption from social security contributions and training aid, are greater depending on the size of the company and the training actions.
- The exoneration scheme between November and February will distinguish between companies with fewer than 10 workers and those with a workforce of 10 or more. Thus, for the former, the exonerations in Social Security contributions will reach 80% if they carry out training actions and 50% for the rest; if the company has 10 or more workers, it will have an exoneration of 80% if it carries out training actions, and 40% in the rest of the cases.
- The minimum number of hours of training for each person will be 30 for companies with 10 to 49 workers and 40 for those with 50 or more. And these activities must be carried out during the suspended working day.
- In addition, the ERTEs of impediment, linked to activity limitations, are maintained. Companies in this situation will be exempted from 100% of the company contribution accrued from November 2021, during the closure period, until 28 February.
Protection for workers
ERTE workers will continue to benefit from the exemption from the qualifying period for access to unemployment benefits. Also, the so-called “zero counter” will be extended extraordinarily until 1 January 2023.
The regulatory bases for workers, on which benefits are calculated, are increased from 50% to 70% for beneficiaries who have used 180 days.
Benefits are maintained for people affected by ERTE with a part-time contract and the extraordinary benefit for discontinuous permanent workers.
Guarantees from previous agreements are maintained, such as limits on the distribution of dividends and access to aid for companies domiciled in tax havens.
Companies covered by these ERTEs will have to respect restrictions on access to overtime and outsourcing of activity. The prohibition on dismissal is extended during the period of validity of the regulation and the maximum duration of temporary contracts for people under ERTEs is also interrupted.
The commitment to maintain employment will have a new additional period of 6 months.
Companies must apply to the labour authority for the extension of all files to extend the benefits of the ERTE until February 28th 2022. To process this request, they must submit the list of working hours or days suspended or reduced since July 2021. In the particular case of ERTEs for economic, technical, organisational or production reasons, the so-called ERTE ETOPs, a report from the workers’ legal representatives must be submitted.
The simplification of procedures to move from an ERTE of impediment to one of limitation and vice versa is maintained. A communication to that effect to the labour authority and to the workers’ representatives will be sufficient.
Extension of aid to the self-employed
The Council of Ministers has also given the green light to the sixth aid scheme for the self-employed of this type, following an agreement between the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration and the self-employed associations. With the aim of supporting the maintenance of activity, it includes exemptions from social security contributions for all self-employed workers who have been protected in the previous period (at the end of September there were 226,000) for the next four months.
This aid, in the form of exemptions, will be as follows: in October 90%, in November 75%, in December 50% and in January 2022 25%.
In addition, the extraordinary benefits in force to protect those who have a significant impact on their activity are maintained until February 28th.
Firstly, the extraordinary benefit for suspension of activity continues, aimed at those self-employed workers with a temporary suspension of all their activity as a result of a resolution by the competent administrative authorities to contain the COVID 19 pandemic. The amount of the benefit is 70% of the minimum contribution base. In addition, the self-employed will be exempt from paying Social Security contributions, although this period will count as having paid contributions and, if applicable, will be compatible with income from paid employment of up to 1.25 times the minimum wage.
Secondly, the benefit compatible with the activity is maintained for those workers who, while meeting the requirement for qualifying for the ordinary activity termination benefit, meet two additional requirements: one, that their turnover in the third and fourth quarters of 2021 falls by 50%, compared to the third and fourth quarters of 2019; and two, that they have not obtained taxable net income of more than 8,070 euros (which is 1.2 times the minimum wage in two quarters) during the third and fourth quarters of 2021.
Thirdly, those who do not meet the requirements for accessing this benefit or the ordinary termination of employment may apply for an extraordinary benefit. The amount of the benefit is 50% of the minimum contribution base and is also exempt from paying contributions and is counted as having paid contributions. The requirements are to prove a 75% drop in income (income in the fourth quarter of 2021 must be less than in the fourth quarter of 2019) and not to have a net computable income between July and December 2021 of more than 75% of the minimum interprofessional wage.
You can contact this office with any questions you may have or clarification you may need in this regard.