Organisations such as the Exceltur alliance are wanting ERTE to remain in place until the end of 2022. | P. PELLICER

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February 28 is an important date. It is the deadline for the Covid passport in the Balearics and for the ERTE furlough scheme in the whole of Spain.

The Balearic government appears minded to withdraw the Covid passport requirement before the end of the month. There has been no suggestion that it might seek another extension. Employers and unions are meanwhile pressing for a further extension to ERTE.
Non-extension of the passport but extension to ERTE, both would be welcome. But while one speaks to a return to a certain normality, the other does not. Organisations such as the Exceltur alliance (president, Gabriel Escarrer of Meliá) are wanting ERTE to remain in place until the end of 2022. Others are saying end of June at minimum.

January employment figures showed that some 105,000 employees were on ERTE nationwide and that there were 5,600 in the Balearics. Small numbers by comparison to what they once were, employers nevertheless argue that the scheme must remain until recovery is consolidated. This won’t happen until the summer.

The hope was that, with Easter coming, an extension would not have been necessary. Omicron dashed that hope and forced businesses back to ERTE. Uncertainty continues therefore, reflected by a general lack of first-quarter business confidence.

Given this, and as the numbers aren’t great, the Spanish government should accede to an extension until the end of June at least. ERTE can seem like it’s never-ending, but eventually it will end.