The approval of a new Royal Decree Law (2/2022 of 22 February) proposes new measures to support companies and the self-employed to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
Today, 23/02, the Royal Decree Law 2/2022 of 22 February has been published in the BOE, adopting urgent measures for the protection of self-employed workers, for the transition to structural mechanisms for the defence of employment, and for the economic and social recovery of the island of La Palma, also extending certain measures to deal with situations of social and economic vulnerability. Tomorrow, 24 February, the regulation enters into force. As the title itself suggests, and as we are used to, the law has been used to include various regulations (COVID-19, volcano affectation, etc.), so we will limit the content of this article to review the main labour-related novelties.
Benefits and aid for the self-employed
Self-employed workers are exempted from the obligation to pay contributions when they have received any type of benefit for termination of activity under the provisions of Royal Decree-Law 18/2021, of 28 September, on urgent measures for the protection of employment, economic recovery and improvement of the labour market.
From 1 March 2022, self-employed workers included in the Special Social Security Scheme for Self-Employed or Self-Employed Workers (RETA), or in the Special Social Security Scheme for Sea Workers, who were registered in these schemes and were receiving on 28 February 2022 any of the benefits for cessation of activity provided for in Articles 10 and 11 of Royal Decree-Law 18/2021, of 28 September, will be entitled to an exemption from the obligation to pay Social Security contributions and for vocational training with the following amounts:
- 90 per cent of contributions for the month of March 2022.
- 75 per cent of the contributions for the month of April 2022.
- 50% of the contributions for the month of May 2022.
- 25% of the contributions for the month of June 2022.
For these contribution benefits to be applicable, self-employed workers must remain registered in the corresponding special Social Security scheme until 30 June 2022 .
The exemption will be incompatible with the receipt of the benefit for cessation of activity in any of its modalities. Article 2 of the regulation also establishes anextraordinary severance benefitforself-employed workers affected by a temporary suspension of all activity as a result of a decision by the competent authority as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19. T
his benefit will be payable as of 1 March 2022, and self-employed workers who are forced to suspend all their activities as a result of a resolution adopted by the competent authority as a measure to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, or who maintain for the same reasons the suspension of their activity initiated prior to the aforementioned date, will be entitled to an extraordinary economic benefit for cessation of activity.
The amount of the benefit will be 70% of the minimum base corresponding to the activity carried out, or in the case of several family members living together, 40% of each. During the period of suspension, the worker will remain registered in the special scheme with exemption from the obligation to pay contributions, although this period will be considered as having paid contributions.
Finally, the Royal Decree-Law introduces modifications to the previous regulation of the severance benefit, establishing the criteria for making theright to theseverance benefit compatiblewith self-employment.
For the purposes of accrediting the reduction in tax income from self-employment of more than 50% of the second half of 2019 (self-employed workers will be understood to have experienced this reduction provided that the average daily number of workers affiliated to the Social Security system in the corresponding economic activity according to their CNAE) during the period to which the benefit corresponds is more than 7.5% lower than the average daily number corresponding to the second half of 2019.
Extension of ERTEs and transition to the new ERTE models approved with the Labour Reform
The temporary labour force adjustment plans (ERTE) referred to in Article 1 of Royal Decree-Law 18/2021, of 28 September, and in force on the date of entry into force of this Royal Decree-Law, will be automatically extended until 31 March 2022 .
This includes the ERTEs of limitation and impediment and the ERTEs ETOP COVID in force on 28-2-2022. The Social Security contribution exemptions regulated in article 4 of Royal Decree-Law 18/2021, of 28 September, will apply to these automatically extended cases during the month of March 2022, although the exemption percentages in each case will be adjusted from 20% to 90%.
|ERTE of limitation|
|Staff||Without training actions for workers on ERTE||With training actions for ERTE workers|
|10 or more workers||20% (previously 40%)||60% (previously 80%)|
|Less than 10 workers||30% (previously 50%)||60% (previously 80%)|
|ERTE of impediment|
|Whatever the number of employees||90% (previously 100%) of the contribution accrued during the closure period|
As regards unemployment, the measures established until now continue to apply to workers affected by the extension of the ERTEs. Thus, unemployment benefit is extended until 31-3-2022 without the requirement of a qualifying period and in an amount equivalent to 70% of the regulatory base.
Likewise, until 31-3-2022, the replacement of unemployment benefit is maintained (counter at zero) and the extraordinary benefit is extended for people with discontinuous permanent contracts or those who carry out permanent and regular work.
Article 6 of Royal Decree-Law 8/2020 of 17 March, which regulates the MECUIDA Plan, is extended until 30 June 2022. Therefore, the prerogatives established by this mechanism to favour flexibility and the adaptation of the distribution of working time to the conditions caused by COVID-19 remain in force.
Care of sick children
The sixth additional provision provides that both workers and public employees who have enjoyed a reduction in working hours for the care, during hospitalisation and continuous treatment, of a minor in their care affected by cancer or any other serious illness and who have seen this reduction in working hours terminated because they have reached the age of eighteen before the entry into force of Law 22/2021, of 28 December, on the General State Budget for 2022, which raised the age limit to 23 years, may reapply for the reduction in working hours provided for.
This is provided that they continue to meet the requirements for accessing this right, and the child or person subject to permanent foster care or guardianship for the purpose of adoption in their care has not yet reached the age of 23; they may maintain the reduction in working hours while the direct, continuous and permanent care of this person continues to be necessary until, at the latest, they reach the age of 23.