Many workers in the Canaries will not receive ERTE unemployment benefits in April, as the system was “just not ready” for this unforeseen situation.
Thousands of workers in Spain affected by temporary employment regulation files (ERTE), will not receive unemployment benefit this month due to the delay with which the Government issued the decree, that regulated the conditions in which companies must communicate to the Public State Employment Service (SEPE), the data of the affected workers.
The Government issued this decree on Saturday March 28th, and from that date, companies only had five days to give SEPE information on their employees, including bank account numbers.
But, as the labour professionals warn, it is impossible that if the information is provided in early April, that payments can be executed by April 10th, the date on which SEPE makes the payment of unemployment benefits.
Close sources assure that SEPE itself has recognized that possibly only 400 of the more than 150,000 Canary workers affected by an ERTE, will receive unemployment benefits in April.
The spokesperson for the Equipo Covid-19 collective, made up of 170 labor professionals (including social graduates, economists, advisers and lawyers), Carlos Talavera, said “It is impossible for benefits to arrive by April 10th if SEPE is still recording the data. This month there will be people who will collect from their company, what they earned for the first half of March, but nothing will come from the state until May 10th.”
Talavera also warn of the problem these people are going to have by not having any income, by adding “Those people have to eat and pay expenses. What is going to happen is indecent.”
Talavera also explained that labour professionals have acted quickly, but it has been the administration that has not been so fast. “We began to process ERTE from the first day, but we could not give the information with the data of the workers until the decree of March 28th came out giving permission.”
From this group, it is considered a priority that the administration articulate measures to guarantee that all workers affected by an ERTE, receive the benefit. “I do not know what formula they will be able to choose, but they have to do something to avoid leaving these people unprotected,” explains Talavera, who on behalf of the group he represents, criticizes the “obsolete system” with which the administration works, and with little capacity they have to attend to the high volume of procedures in recent weeks.
As he points out, when submitting an ERTE, the procedure is “nineteenth-century”.
“We have to enter the data of the companies at least three times, and then they ask you for all the data of the workers in a little operational computer application,” says the tax advisor, who wonders why the administration is not capable to share all the data they have to speed up and facilitate the procedures.
“Every month we send the contribution bases, all the personal circumstances of the worker, and that is held by the Social Security Treasury, and SEPE supposedly has access to that data. They have everything but also a problem: the bureaucratic burden to access their database” he says.
Furthermore, accessing the main headquarters system to file an ERTE is itself a problem.
“You have to try it at least five times because it crashes. It does not have the capacity to handle requests, and then it gives lots of errors, but they are not your fault, they are the servers. It’s a disaster. The administration was just not prepared for such a situation, “he concludes.