The impending end, on 30 September, of temporary redundancy schemes (ERTEs) based on COVID-19 force majeure as well as the support measures for these schemes prompted the government to pass, in extremis, Royal Decree Law 30/2020, of 29 September, on social measures to protect employment, pursuant to which a range of measures are adopted to ensure that existing ERTEs are extended and new ones approved if circumstances justify them. The regulation is based on Social Agreement to Protect Employment III, which was reached by the government, trade unions and companies. It will enter into force on 30 September 2020.
Although the regulation introduces a variety of measures – social assistance, Social Security measures, changes to the minimum living wage, and so on – the key new developments in employment matters introduced by Royal Decree Law 30/2020 are as follows:
- Already existing ERTEs based on COVID-19 force majeure are automatically extended, while ERTEs based on COVID-19 economic, technical, organisational or production grounds are kept in place until 31 January 2021.
- Exemption from paying Social Security contributions for these ERTEs will only be available from October for force majeure ERTEs for companies that have been particularly affected by the pandemic (depending on the National Classification of Economic Activities, CNAE), and in the case of ERTEs based on economic, technical, organisational or production grounds, if these are also ERTEs transferring from or continuation of a force majeure ERTE. This essentially concerns companies in the tourism, leisure, transport and retail sectors.
- New ERTEs may be applied for if the authorities adopt new restriction and pandemic containment measures that hinder or limit business activity.
- These new ERTEs are also exempt from paying Social Security contributions.
- Bans on dismissals on COVID-19 grounds, dividend distribution, working overtime, new hiring or new outsourcing are kept in place.
The commitment to maintain employment for six months is kept and new commitments to protect employment for the same length of time are imposed if companies benefit from further exemptions from October 2020.
In the following link you will find the key points and a summary of Royal Decree Law 30/2020.
Click here to access the Spanish Version.