ERTE: What you need to know about losing your job during Spain’s coronavirus crisis

ERTE: What you need to know about losing your job during Spain's coronavirus crisis
Photo: AFP
During the current coronavirus crisis, many companies are being forced to make employees temporarily redundant, most likely because their businesses couldn’t operate under the lockdown.

What is the ERTE?

There is a mechanism in place called the ERTE (expediente de regulación temporal de empleo) which allows companies to issue temporary redundancy to its workforce as a result of the force majeure which in this case is the coronavirus crisis.

It is a regulation that effectively suspends the contract of a worker – or reduces their working hours – for as long as is deemed necessary during the crisis.

What does it entitle you to?

Under the ERTE, workers are still technically employed by the company which still pays their social security contributions but does not have to pay their salary.

Instead the ERTE enables those who are entitled to it, to claim unemployment benefit – which will be up to 70 percent of their original salary.

When the period covered by the ERTE is over, the worker then resume their role under the same contract and subject to the same conditions.

How do you get one?

The employee will be told that the scheme is being enacted and the good news is that the worker doesn’t have to do anything about it. The company is legally obliged to apply to the Labour Authorities within 5 days. The Labour authorities will then authorize the process and assess whether unemployment benefit is due.

When will it end?

The ERTE scheme has now been extended until September 30th. If the company looks unlikely to survive the blow and goes bust then the ERTE can be turned into an ERE – collective dismissal.  

Useful links:

For more info visit the Citizens Advice Bureau Spain 

Spain’s Labour authority under the Ministry of Employment's notice on exceptional measures introduced during COVID-19 crisis. HERE

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