In his appearance at the Labor, Inclusion, Social Security and Migration Commission of the Congress of Deputies, Escrivá recalled that the crisis of COVID-19 has had a "strong impact" on the affiliation to Social Security, since in On 21 days of March and April, as many jobs have been lost as in the 102 days of greatest job destruction in the 2008-2009 crisis.
However, Escrivá has underlined that, after a phase with intense job destruction, "since March 24 we have entered a stabilization phase, which continues during the first half of April." After the fall of more than 600,000 affiliates to Social Security in the days surrounding the alarm decree, it can be seen that, starting on the 24th, "we have not seen the falls in affiliation of the levels of the previous and subsequent days. to the alarm decree (March 14) ", with the only exception of March 31, although in this case, the evolution is conditioned by the usual end of contracts at the end of the month.
This stabilization trend has continued during the first days of April, in which there have even been several days with job creation. In addition, the Minister of Inclusion has indicated that this trend towards stabilization in the labor market is common to the entire Spanish geography and has highlighted that there are eight provinces where membership grows in the first half of April (Badajoz, Huelva, Cádiz, Murcia , Albacete, Baleares, Huesca and Tarragona).
Employment protection measures
José Luis Escrivá stressed that the change in the trend in the labor market "is due in part to the employment protection measures taken by the Government as of March 17. In this sense, he stressed that the measures approved" are They are very extensive and will be able to protect the incomes of 6 million people, more than 30% of the employed active population. "This income protection" is the absolute priority of the Government at this time, "he said.
In this sense, he highlighted that the Executive's response has allowed the protection of more than 5 million people, among the almost 4 million people admitted to ERTEs, the almost million self-employed workers who are estimated to be able to receive the benefit and the employed people household and temporary without entitlement to benefit, which will be covered by the latest approved measures. In addition, it must be remembered that there have been more than 400,000 people benefiting from Temporary Disability benefits assimilated to a work accident by COVID-19, which represent greater protection. For this reason, Escrivá has underlined that the Spanish response has been one of the "most ambitious and the fastest" among the countries around us in terms of income coverage, above Anglo-Saxon countries and in line with countries such as Italy or France.
ERTEs and exemptions
Of the measures put in place to guarantee incomes and maintain employment, the one that has had the greatest effect are the Temporary Employment Regulatory Records (ERTEs), which in the event of being considered as force majeure associated with COVID-19, entail a exemption from the payment of social contributions. The minister has pointed out that almost 4 million people, 16% of the active population, are included in ERTEs and more than 50% of these files have already been exempted from the Social Security contributions of their workers.
Extraordinary benefit for self-employed
Escrivá has stressed that the bulk of the job loss has been in the general regime and has fallen, in particular, on workers with temporary contracts. On the contrary, the self-employed regime has had a more positive behavior, with a loss of 56,000 members since March 12. Specifically, while the general regime registers a drop of 6%, that of the self-employed does not reach 2%.
In addition, the Minister of Inclusion has highlighted the reception of the extraordinary benefit for cessation of activity launched for people whose activity was suspended by the alarm decree or with a drop in turnover of 75%, which has already registered almost 950,000 requests. This benefit, which represents a minimum economic benefit of 950 euros per month, will be received this Friday by more than 800,000 beneficiaries. The benefit is being granted to almost all the people who have requested it, with an acceptance of 97% of the requests.
Deferrals and moratoriums
In addition, to promote liquidity for companies, two measures have been approved. Firstly, the possibility of deferring contributions to Social Security with an interest of 0.5% (seven times lower than usual) for the contributions payable in the months of April, May and June. As of April 12, more than 92,000 deferrals had been requested, of which 30% corresponded to self-employed workers.
This measure, which can be requested by any company that does not have another deferral in force, also entails an increase in the amounts of deferrable debts exempt from guarantees to favor the liquidity of the productive fabric.
Second, the Government has approved a six-month moratorium on contributions to be paid in April, May, and June. In the next few days, a Ministerial Order will be published detailing the sectors that may benefit from this measure.
The minister has also underlined the simplification of the administrative procedures that have been carried out to facilitate access to public services by citizens at a time, such as this one, when travel is restricted. In this sense, it has indicated that it is allowed to operate with Social Security without an electronic certificate and that alternative tests are allowed to obtain benefits. For example, to request the birth benefit, if you do not have the Civil Registry documentation, the hospital's maternity report is provisionally accepted.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration has adopted several measures to favor the incorporation of health professionals in these exceptional circumstances. On the one hand, the reinstatement of retired health professionals has been made more flexible, maintaining the pension they received, and, on the other hand, the treatment of the files in the Immigration Offices has been streamlined to accelerate the residence and work authorization of foreign health sector professionals. in a regular situation, prioritizing those files whose process was already open before the state of alarm came into effect. Thanks to this last measure, nearly 400 health professionals have the necessary authorizations to be hired.
Escrivá has also pointed out other measures taken in the migration field, such as making hiring in the agricultural sector more flexible, authorizing the incorporation of young people from third countries between 18 and 21 who are in a regular situation, as well as the extension until June 30 and without any additional paperwork for the residence and work authorization of those migrants who need it. Likewise, to meet the demand for labor in the field, the work and residence authorizations of the 7,028 Moroccan temporary workers who arrived in Huelva before the establishment of restrictions at external borders are being extended.
In addition, due to the pandemic, various measures have been taken, such as the reception of people who have left the CIES (around 250), the blocking of approximately 15% of the places in the National Reception System to attend eventual isolation needs, as well as the suspension of administrative deadlines for immigration procedures already started so that "no foreigner falls into an irregular situation due to the expiration of the documentation" during the state of alarm.
Balance of measures
In general, José Luis Escrivá stressed, "the response to this crisis has been broader and faster than it has happened on previous occasions." Thus, he underlined that the benefit for the self-employed is novel and there was no similar measure in the previous crisis to help maintain the businesses of the self-employed.
The postponement and moratorium measures are also much broader than on previous occasions, when they were applied due to natural disasters or sectoral crises and not as a consequence of a health crisis with generalized economic effects. In this way, the number of possible beneficiaries is much higher now. In the same way, the protection of sick or isolated workers during influenza A was also less than the current one, since they were considered common leave and not temporary disability assimilated to an accident at work as now.
The Minister of Inclusion stressed that the health crisis is "temporary" and, while it lasts, "the Government's priority must be to guarantee incomes, as it has done so far. In addition, he stressed that the" protection scheme is very broad and is having an effect. "In this context, Escrivá has indicated that the" objective is to generate certainty in extraordinarily complex conditions. "