- Diaz's Confrontation Charges Calviño for His Proposal to Reform Unemployment Benefits: "It's Labor's Responsibility"
The Ministry of Labor assures that the proposal they have prepared to reform unemployment protection in the country will go ahead and will come into force progressively from June 2024, so they assume that the contrary positions of the Ministry of Economy, which they describe as right-wing ideology, will remain a dead letter.
This has been pointed out to the press by sources in Yolanda Díaz's department, who accuse Nadia Calviño's team of having an ideological position that would be supported by the PP and Vox and whose main objective is to threaten the unemployed. Díaz's department assures that its proposal is already agreed with the PSOE in the investiture agreement.
Today, when an unemployed person runs out of the unemployment benefit to which he or she is entitled, he or she has the option of accessing unemployment benefit as long as he or she is over 52 years of age or over 45 years of age and has family responsibilities. This subsidy is equivalent to 80% of the current IPREM (480 euros) and lasts for a maximum of 30 months (2 and a half years).
As explained by the Ministry of Labour, what the Ministry of Economy intends is for this subsidy to last a maximum of 12 months - and not the current 30 - and that it is higher at the beginning (equivalent to 100% of the IPREM in the first three months, that is, 600 euros) and progressively decreases (up to 80% of the IPREM in the second quarter). €480; 65% in the third or €390 and 50% in the fourth, €240).
In total, the average subsidy would be equivalent to 73.7% of the IPREM, i.e. €442.5 per month on average, and would only last for one year.
The Ministry of Economy also wants the unemployed to have the obligation to go monthly to sign their activity commitment (which shows that they are looking for a job and willing to work) and wants to modify the Sanctions Law to establish a system of punishments that generates strong incentives for the unemployed to work and leave the underground economy.
Trabajo interprets this as a very serious conception, which is based on the suspicion that the unemployed in our country do not want to work or, if they do, they do so in the black, and that it seeks to threaten and harass them.
Faced with this proposal that they assure will not see the light of day, sources from the Ministry of Yolanda Díaz want to modify the unemployment benefit but to expand it instead of cutting it.
They are in favour of keeping it in force for 30 months and instead of lowering it they propose that the first 6 months it should rise to 110% of the IPREM (660 euros), that the following half year it should be 90% of the IPREM (540 euros today) and that from the second year it should remain at 480 euros. All these amounts will vary from January 2024 because the IPREM is expected to be updated upwards.
The Ministry of Labour also wants to expand the groups covered by this subsidy and that from now on those under 45 years of age without family dependents will also be included (which would mean incorporating some 150,000 people). The Ministry of Economy went so far as to propose that this subsidy should only be available to people over 60 years of age, but according to Labour they have already ruled it out.
They also want to include the eventual agricultural workers of the autonomous communities who are not currently covered, which would also imply adding 250,000 more people.
In addition, the waiting month that currently exists between the receipt of the benefit and the subsidy will be eliminated; the allowance shall be compatible with employment for the first 45 days of work; and when reviewing income levels, the potential beneficiary will take into account the family burden only in cases where it is most beneficial to them.
At the end of the 30 months in which the subsidy can be received, the unemployed person will be covered by the Minimum Vital Income.
It will be discussed with employers and unions
The government is going to take the reform proposal to the social dialogue soon, as the UGT and CCOO have requested, but it takes it for granted that it will have their support because it does not affect the employers directly and the unions are in agreement with Labour and against the Economy.
After agreeing on it at the negotiating table, Díaz plans to take the regulation to the Council of Ministers in the coming weeks, since the approval of this regulation is a sine qua non condition for Spain to be able to access the fourth disbursement of the European Next Generation funds that we are going to receive late.
The entry into force, however, will not occur until June 1, 2024 and will be transitory. In fact, all the subsidies that are in force at that time will continue as they have been until now and those that are newly registered in the system will change.
Labor assures that it has been preparing this reform since the summer of 2022, but that it has been delayed as friction with the Economy Ministry was created, and that it has been negotiated with the European Commission in many meetings. It does not yet have their endorsement, but it has been consensual, they say.
- Nadia Calviño
- Yolanda Diaz