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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure ES-2020-20/880 – measures in Spain

Tripartite agreement to extend the special unemployment protection scheme associated to temporary collective redundancy or short-time work regulation

Acuerdo Tripartito para ampliar la vigencia de los ERTEs, mejorar la proteccion por desempleo y otras medidas relacionadas con la crisis del coronavirus

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 13 May 2020 – 30 June 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Tripartite agreements
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Flexibilisation and security
Author Carlos Molina (UAB)
Measure added 05 June 2020 (updated 11 January 2021)

Background information

Following intense negotiations in the context of the health crisis and the business standstill, the government and the social partners (trade unions CCOO and UGT and employers' organisations CEOE and CEPYME) reached an agreement to extend until 30 June 2020 the temporary short-time work scheme due to force majeure, which was implemented at the COVID-19 outbreak and the start of the lockdown.

The agreement provides for additional measures aimed at keeping the protection for workers affected, exemptions from the payment of employers contribution in case of partial resumption of the business activity.

The Agreement was transposed to legislation the day after through the Royal-Decree 18/2020 of 12 May.

This case is strongly related to the following ones:

For more information on the temporary layoff scheme see the following cases:

Content of measure

The agreement, encapsulated in a Royal-decree law 20/2020 the next day of the signature, establishes the continuation of the measure applied to safeguard jobs adopted at the beginning of the health crisis. It contains the following measures:

  • Extending the timeline for the temporary short-time work scheme applicable to firms that invoked the situation of force majeure until 30 June. In this regard, it is considered an accompanying measure to facilitate resuming of business activity according to the de-escalation plan approved by the government.

  • In doing so, the partial unemployment benefit received by the employees is also extended and the time consumed in this situation will not be deducted from future entitlements to unemployment protection. This protection is extended until 31 December for seasonal workers under specific employment contracts in the tourism sector.

  • Employers will be exempted to contribute to the social security when they start to operate again, assuming that the resumption of the business activity will not be immediate. State funds 85% of due employers' social security contributions in May and 70% in June for firms returning to work with less than 50 employees and 60% and 45% respectively for those with more than 50 employees. These percentages will be lower in the case that the firms partially return to activity with only part of the staff.

*The obligation to keep all workers and do not make any redundancies within six months once returning to business activity is relaxed for the tourism sector and for those companies at risk of insolvency or bankruptcy.

Use of measure

Between January and September 2020, the number of workers affected by Temporary Collective Dismissals was 967724


  • Employment retention

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Social partners negotiated the extension of collective dismissals and unemployment protection for those workers affected. After reaching an agreement, it was transposed into law

Views and reactions

Social partners and the government discussed the content of the agreement and agreed the final text


  • 11 May 2020: Royal-Decree law 18/2020 of social measures to protect jobs
  • 11 May 2020: Tripartite Agrement to protect jobs


Eurofound (2020), Tripartite agreement to extend the special unemployment protection scheme associated to temporary collective redundancy or short-time work regulation, measure ES-2020-20/880 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.