This Wednesday 22nd April, the Royal Decree Law 15/2020 of 21 April on urgent complementary measures to support the economy and employment was published.
In this article we will review, in a summarized and schematic way, the main novelties in labor matters that have been included in this new RDL.
Thus, we begin by referring to Article 15 of the text which establishes an extension of two additional months of the preferential nature of distance working and the right to adapt the schedule and reduce the working day.
It should be remembered that the first point is intended to reinforce safety and health protection measures in addition to being able to carry out remote work in those activities that allow it.
With respect to the second point, workers will continue to be allowed to adapt and/or reduce their working hours for a further two months, which may even be 100%, when exceptional situations arise in connection with the actions required to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and their presence is necessary to care for another person (up to the second degree) who, for reasons of age, illness or disability, requires direct personal care.
The application of the ERTE due to force majeure is also extended, in accordance with the regulation of article 22.1 of RDL 8/2020, on the understanding that a situation of force majeure also exists for those companies with activities that, although they must be maintained (because they are essential) in accordance with the declaration of the state of alarm, have been affected in certain parts of their activity.
Another significant measure is set out in Article 22, which extends the coverage of unemployment benefits. To this end, legislation has been passed so that the termination of employment relationships during the trial period at the request of the company, which occurs after 9 March, will be considered a legal situation of unemployment regardless of the reason for the termination of the previous employment relationship.
It is also established below that workers who have terminated their last employment relationship by voluntary severance from 1 March 2020, because they have a firm commitment to an employment contract from another company, and that company has ceased to employ them as a result of the crisis arising from the COVID-19, will be legally unemployed and in an equivalent situation to that of the employer.
The legal situation of unemployment will be accredited by means of a written communication from the company to the worker desisting from the subscription of the committed labour contract as a consequence of the crisis derived from the COVID 19.
Similarly, and following the pattern of giving as much coverage as possible to workers so that they do not lose their income, the unemployment protection of permanent-discontinuous workers is extended in different ways, the most significant being that those who prove that, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19, they have not been able to return to their activity on the date planned and were beneficiaries of benefits at that time, will not have their right to the benefit or subsidy they were receiving suspended.
On the other hand, if on the date on which they should have resumed activity they were not receiving unemployment benefits because they had exhausted them, but they were able to prove the period of contribution necessary to obtain a new contributory benefit, the company’s certification of the impossibility of resumption will constitute a legal situation of unemployment for the recognition of the right to this benefit.
Another section of RDL 15/2020 that should be noted is the suspension of deadlines in the area of action of the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate. In other words, the period of validity of the state of alarm declared by Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14 March, as well as its possible extensions, will not count for the purposes of the duration of the verification actions of the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate.
Exceptions are made for verification actions and requests and stop orders derived from situations closely linked to the facts justifying the state of alarm, or those which, due to their seriousness or urgency, are indispensable for the protection of the general interest.
Linked to this context, in the second additional provision, there is a new emphasis as in previous RDLs, clarifying aspects of the sanctioning regime and the reimbursement of undue benefits.
To this end, it is established that the conduct of the companies will be punishable when there are false or incorrect data provided by them and provided that they give rise to the generation or receipt of undue benefits or the application of undue deductions in Social Security contributions.
Consequently, it is established that the undue recognition of benefits to the working person for a cause not attributable to him/her, as a consequence of having requested measures in relation to employment that were not necessary or had insufficient connection with the cause that gave rise to them, will give rise to the refund of the benefits unduly generated. In such cases, the company must pay the amounts received by the employee to the management entity in accordance with the provisions of the revised text of the Law on Social Security Violations and Penalties.
Lastly, the procedure for agreeing to deferment of social security debts is specified in such a way that companies and self-employed persons, provided they have no other deferment in force, may apply for deferment of payment of their social security debts for which the statutory period of payment is between April and June 2020 with interest of 0,5 %.
Requests for deferment must be made before the first ten calendar days of each of the above-mentioned regulatory periods of entry and will be granted by means of a single resolution, regardless of the months involved. The deferment will be amortised by means of monthly payments and will determine a period of amortisation of 4 months for each monthly payment requested as from the month following that in which the request was made, without exceeding a total of 12 monthly payments.
The request for this postponement will determine the suspension of the collection procedure with respect to the debts affected by it and that the debtor will be considered to be up to date with his Social Security obligations until the corresponding resolution is issued.
The postponement will be incompatible with the moratorium. Requests for postponement for periods for which the aforementioned moratorium has also been requested shall be deemed not to have been submitted, if the applicant has been granted the latter.
The Labour Department of AddVANTE is at your disposal to provide further information or to answer any questions that may arise in relation to this article.