"The Balearic government has already signalled that more ERTE may be necessary." | R.L.


On February 28 next year, it will be two weeks before the second anniversary of the declaration of the state of alarm. On that last day of February, hopes the president of the CEOE, Spain’s employers confederation, the ERTE furlough scheme will come to an end.

In April 2019, over three million workers were covered by ERTE for force majeure. There are now some 250,000. Antoni Garamendi hopes, the Spanish government and unions hope that this essential lifeline will no longer be required in five months time.

If so, then economic recovery can truly be said to be with us, although the full ramifications of the damage may yet remain to be revealed, as ERTE is but a T away from ERE - redundancy.

The government has attached conditions preventing dismissal to the furlough provisions. For the latest extension, other terms have been added - training plans with varying levels of social security exemptions depending on whether there are plans or not.

This is something else for businesses to get their heads around, another factor that may just tip the balance when the government’s veto of dismissal is finally lifted.

Garamendi notes: “Whether we like it or not, companies will have to restructure in some cases.”

But let’s look on the bright side. Normality will genuinely have been regained by the end of February. Yep, but the tourism season won’t activate on March 1.

The Balearic government has already signalled that more ERTE may be necessary. Might it then all be over by Easter?