Spain's furlough scheme to be extended beyond May 31, minister says

by Reuters
Thursday, 8 April 2021 12:45 GMT

(Adds comments from Minister and details)

MADRID, April 8 (Reuters) - The Spanish government will extend its ERTE furlough scheme for people unable to work due to COVID-19 restrictions on businesses beyond May 31, Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said on Thursday.

Workers from small and medium-sized companies have benefited most from the scheme, Diaz said in a speech, adding that the government would now negotiate with unions and employers' representatives over the ERTE conditions from June.

"We will keep doing that from May 31, in a similar formula to the current one," she added, without saying for how long.

The ERTE program was crucial to cushioning workers in sectors such as tourism and transportation, which were particularly hard hit by lockdowns and travel restrictions.

The scheme, which has supported millions of workers since Spain imposed its first lockdown in March 2020, has already been extended several times. The scheme was last extended in late January, until May 31.

As many as 3.6 million people were enrolled in the programme at the peak of the pandemic in April last year, when almost all Spaniards were confined to their homes and most of the economy was paralysed.

Data released earlier this week showed nearly 750,000 people were being supported by ERTE. (Reporting by Inti Landauro and Belen Carreno, editing by Andrei Khalip, Nathan Allen and Gareth Jones)

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