The Government has approved urgent measures in the field of agricultural employment. The main novelty is that it makes the system more flexible to collect unemployment benefits so that it is compatible with certain agricultural jobs. The objective of the text is to facilitate hiring for field campaigns and avoid labour shortages.
It aims to ensure harvesting on farms, the production flow for the later links in the chain of supply of the population, given the sharp decrease in the supply of labour that usually deals with agricultural work as a seasonal worker in the Spanish countryside, due to sanitary limitations on travel from their countries of origin as a consequence of COVID-19.
Temporal easing measures
This RDL allows the compatibility of unemployment benefits or other benefits of a social or labour nature, with the performance of agricultural tasks, so that sufficient labour is achieved in the current situation by the population near the places of cultivation. And the increase in disposable income at a time of special vulnerability, without undermining social protection and public health.
Those who, upon the entry into force of the Royal Decree-Law, are in a situation of unemployment or cessation of activity may be beneficiaries of these temporary flexibility measures; workers whose contracts have been temporarily suspended, as a result of the temporary closure of the activity, in accordance with the provisions of article 47 of the revised text of the Workers’ Statute Law (for economic, technical, organisational or production reasons), except for workers affected by ERTEs due to COVID -19; migrant workers whose work permit ends in the period between the declaration of the State of Alarm and June 30, 2020, the extension of which will be determined through instructions from the Secretary of State for Migration; and young third-country nationals, who are in a regular situation, who are between 18 and 21 years old.
Attention: This RDL limits the flexibility measures to people whose homes are close to the places where they carry out the work (in any case, there will be proximity when the worker’s home or the place where they temporarily stay overnight during the campaign is in the same municipal term or bordering the workplace).
Note from CAB: Agricultural Workers’ Unions have complained about this requisite, as it won’t enable them to contract the large amounts of unemployed in cities.
Obligations of the employer
The employer must ensure, at all times, the availability of appropriate means of prevention against COVID-19.
The competent Administrations and the social agents will promote the hiring of people who are in the circumstances described above, especially regarding proximity (see the section on beneficiaries).
The job offers that need to be covered in each locality will be communicated by the companies and employers to the competent autonomous public employment services, who will process them on behalf of the beneficiaries to give them urgent coverage.
In addition, and to ensure the correct application of the provisions of this Royal Decree-law, the delegations and, where appropriate, the government subdelegations will establish the precise coordination mechanisms with the National Employment Agency, Autonomous Communities and Social Agents.
With thanks to Noticias Juridicas for the summary of the Royal Decree Law.
Further info: Agricultural workers’ union ASAJA has set up a national ‘bolsa de trabajo’ to bring together farmers that need labourers, and those seeking work. Link to their website HERE.
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