ERTE has been applied to various sectors. | Archive

Spain's social security minister, José Luis Escrivá, said on Monday that the ERTE furlough scheme will, "with all certainty", be extended beyond May 31. He indicated that the extension will be in line with previous ones - of three to four months - arguing that this will not add "uncertainty" but will give the government and business and union representatives the flexibility to analyse the situation with the pandemic and make necessary adjustments.

At the beginning of next month, negotiations will formally start regarding the extension, Escrivá adding that the ERTE model has always been about moving between protection of businesses and workers and incentives for the reintegration of workers on ERTE into the labour market. The government, he said, will be placing an emphasis on these incentives.

Currently, the minister noted, for ERTE due to "impediment to activity", there are 100% exemptions for companies with fewer than fifty workers and 90% for more than fifty workers. For ERTE due to "limitation of activity", exemptions are decreasing. By May, therefore, there will be 80% exemption for businesses with fewer than fifty employees and 70% for those with more than fifty.

According to social security figures, there were 743,628 people on ERTE terms in March.