Extend ERTO or improve employability?

Treballadors construcció

Tomas Rubió, Master in Human Resources Management professor

The structural deficits of the labour market will not be solved only with the aid received, if these are not accompanied by policies clearly aimed at improving skills, which would contribute to the templates being adapted to the requirements of new realities. I wrote this last April in Article Emphaging occupation ( Beyond ERTO).

In this regard I highlighted the need to invest much more in training (Fellowships, children's education and vocational training), given that Spain's current situation in this matter placed us in the queue of European countries.

In this line, another text, How to prevent ERTOs from falling into redundancies, of last June, highlighted the need to qualitatively improve our employment by means of concrete policies that would encourage a better adaptation of the workforce to the needs of jobs, because the reality of those jobs was changing very quickly.

It appears that the idea that ERTO-affected persons may take advantage of the time available to train will be partially put into practice

I also called for the need to change the prevailing philosophy of the mere subsidy, to a new version of the ERTO, in which these were the argument, and for those affected to take advantage of the time available to improve their skills through training. Well, it seems that this idea, after almost two years and even on the ERTO's final line, will be partially put into practice. 

Government and social partners (patronal and trade unions) have agreed to the renewal of the ERTO until the end of February, introducing training as a key element in having access to a larger percentage of social security reductions. Although these bonuses could have been further conditioned, the fact is that companies with more than 10 workers will have a 40% bonus if they do not provide training, but they will be able to increase the bonus to 80% in the event they provide training. For small businesses with fewer than 10 workers, they will have a 50% reduction if they do not carry out training, a percentage that would increase to 80% if they did training.

As we see, there is no very determined commitment to the issue, and there is still a wide margin for companies to take on or not. But the line is positive, even if it is on the final stage of the crisis. It is a good idea that the approach highlights the need to improve workers' capacities while they are unemployed. And it is to be hoped that the future use of ERTO will incorporate and improve this situation.

The polyvalence of certain groups of workers who may be affected in the future and who may adapt to other sectors would be the key to a rapid recovery of employment

The idea is clear, the ERTOs can now alleviate the serious crisis that we are experiencing, but if we do not want to see a large proportion of the workers in ERTO go to unemployment, only their best employability through specific training programmes and policies will solve one of the main problems that the labour market in that country has. The polyvalence of certain groups of workers who may be affected in the future and who may adapt to other sectors would be the key to a rapid recovery of employment.

The Vocational Training should be the way to recover employment. Protecting and modernising our workers' knowledge means taking action in different areas aimed at improving their employability, especially through the Dual VT, for the sectors that have suffered most precisely in this crisis, and which combines training with work in companies.