As we enter the third week of the lockdown, the economic toll of Spain’s emergency measures is becoming more and more pronounced. Millions of employees are at home, reliant on government assistance to survive for weeks without work.
The start of the crisis saw thousands of employers apply for temporary lay-off schemes known as ERTEs, which entitle contracted workers to 70% of their wage while they are not working. The employer is obliged to rehire the employee when the crisis is over, and the measure has been adopted widely on the Canaries, where tourism is the most important sector of the economy.
However, at least three million self-employed workers are not so well-supported. The stricter rules prohibiting non-essential workers from leaving their homes mean that nine out of ten self-employed workers are currently unable to work. The government has offered a one-off payment to those who could prove that their income had fallen by over 75%, but the paperwork is complicated, and the self-employed have strongly criticised the inadequacy of government measures.
Small business owners and the self-employed are strongly advised to contact gestores, accountants or financial / employment advisors if they have not done so already. The government’s measures are changing rapidly, and informed, professional guidance is essential.
No contract, no security
The most seriously affected workers, however, are casual employees who have never signed a contract. They have no employment rights or entitlement to benefits whatsoever, and must rely on whatever savings they have to survive. If they have none, then the options are bleak.
In the worst cases, this may mean having to contact the social services department of the local Ayuntamiento, which can inform local residents of food banks, emergency deliveries of supplies and other measures aimed at helping the poorest members of society. The British Government has, for several years, been advising British citizens to register on their local Ayuntamiento’s padrón (electoral roll) for precisely this reason.
If you are not registered as a resident in Spain, then the British Foreign office’s strong advice to return home remains relevant. The British Embassy Madrid’s Facebook page offers help, advice and flight information in this regard.
Social Services Departments:
Tias – 928 52 44 66 / 928 51 30 13.
Teguise – 928 84 59 26 / 928 84 53 55 / 928 84 53 39
Yaiza – 928 51 90 18 / 928 83 68 34
San Bartolomé – 928 52 01 28 ex 1233 / 928 82 03 08
Arrecife – 928 80 71 54