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Royal Decree-Law 18/2020 of 12th May on social measures and the protection of employment entered into force upon its publication in Spanish State Gazette on 13th May 2020. Given the need to reactivate the economy in a progressive manner following weeks of inactivity since the enforcement of Royal Decree-Law 8/2020 of 17th March, the purpose of this new Royal Decree-Law is to establish a series of measures, taking into account the de-escalation and the progressive resumption of economic activity, so that companies adopt the dynamic adjustments necessary which allow them to pass to a scenario of “new normal”, safeguard employment and protect workers.
The main measures introduced by this RDL are as follows:
- PROLONGATION OF THE “FORCE MAJEURE” PERIOD.
As from the enforcement of this RDL, that is to say the date of publication in the Official Gazette, those companies which (i) have pursued a dismissal procedure (ERTE) based upon article 22 of RDL 8/2020, and which (ii) were affected by the causes referred to in said provision, which impede the resumption of their activity, shall continue in a situation of total force majeure derived from COVID-19 until 30th June 2020.
- PARTIAL DISMISSAL PROCEDURE (ERTE – Expediente de Regulación Temporal de Empleo) AND OBLIGATION OF STAFF REINSTATEMENT
Those companies which have pursued a dismissal procedure (ERTE) based upon article 22 of RDL 8/2020, shall find themselves in a situation of partial force majeure as a result of COVID-19 until 30th June 2020, from the moment in which the causes reflected in said provision allow the partial recovery of their activity (partial ERTE). These companies must proceed to reinstate those members of staff affected by the dismissal procedure (ERTE) to the extent necessary for the development of their activity, prioritising adjustments in terms of a reduction in working hours.
In order to transform a full dismissal procedure (ERTE) into a partial one, companies must notify the employment authorities of the total or partial waiver of the authorised dismissal procedure (ERTE), within 15 days from the date of such waiver. In addition, companies shall have to notify the Public State Employment Service (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal – SEPE) of any changes that are related to the conclusion of the application of the ERTE regarding the total or partial number of persons affected, either with the number thereof or the percentage of part-time activity in respect of an individual’s working hours.
- CHANGE OF TYPE
In the event that a company has to change the type of dismissal procedure (ERTE) from one that has occurred due to force majeure to one due to objective causes (economic, technical, organisational and production) instead of transforming a full force majeure ERTE into a partial one, said companies may initiate the procedure for the change while the force majeure ERTE is in force. When an objective causes ERTE is initiated upon the finalisation of a force majeure ERTE (COVID-19), the effective date shall be rolled back to the date of finalisation of the force majeure ERTE. In this way, the different ERTE procedures shall have consecutive dates.
- EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES REGARDING CONTRIBUTIONS.
Those companies who do not resume business activity and whose ERTE procedure remains unaltered, shall be exempted from contributions accrued in May and June 2020, provided that they have less than 50 employees as of 29th February 2020. If said companies have 50 employees or more, the exemption of the obligation shall be 75% of the company contribution.
Companies which pass from a full ERTE to a partial one, shall be exempt from company social security contributions, in terms of the following percentages and conditions:
a) Regarding employees which resume their activity:
– 85% in May and 70% in June (companies with less than 50 employees)
– 60% in May and 45% in June (companies with 50 or more employees)
b) Regarding employees who continue their activities:
– 60% in May and 45% in June (companies with less than 50 employees)
– 45% in May and 30% in June (companies with 50 or more employees)
Related articles: MEASURES REGARDING EMPLOYMENT DURING THE STATE OF ALERT (I)
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Barcelona, 22nd May 2020