RD-Law 15/2020, which enters into force tomorrow, April 23, 2020, develops another package of complementary urgent measures to support the economy and employment, including measures to protect citizens and employment, measures to strengthen business financing and fiscal measures
The Council of Ministers yesterday approved a new package of economic and social measures focused on supporting companies and workers that reinforces, complements and expands the decisions adopted since the second week of March to counter the impact of COVID-19. These measures are specified in Royal Decree-Law 15/2020, of April 21, which has been published in the BOE today. The regulation incorporates more than 30 measures that reinforce the financing of companies, offer support in the fiscal field, facilitate the adjustment of the economy, and protect employment and citizens.
As reported by the Government, all these measures are aimed at responding to the support needs derived from the prolongation of this exceptional situation, protecting and supporting the productive and social fabric, minimizing the impact of the crisis, preventing the epidemic from leaving permanent scars in society and in the Spanish economy and facilitate the recovery of economic activity as soon as this public health emergency situation begins to subside.
The measures adopted will mean an injection of additional liquidity for the economy as a whole, which will especially benefit the self-employed and SMEs, and will help preserve economic activity and employment.
The main measures are, schematically, the following:
- Unemployment benefit coverage is extended to workers laid off during the trial period of a new job.
- The taxable bases of the taxes are adjusted to the economic situation, freeing up 1,100 million euros of liquidity for companies, particularly SMEs and the self-employed.
- The VAT applicable to the supply of sanitary material from national producers to public entities, non-profit organizations and hospitals is reduced to 0%, with savings of more than 1,000 million euros.
- The VAT on electronic books, magazines and newspapers is also reduced to align it with that applicable to paper ones.
- The ICO Guarantee Line of 100,000 million euros will make it possible to cover company promissory notes and strengthen the mutual guarantee societies of the Autonomous Communities.
- The Insurance Compensation Consortium is enabled to act as reinsurer of credit insurance risks, which will reinforce the channeling of resources for commercial credit.
- The scope of application of the ERTEs is increased due to force majeure to cover significant drops in activity in those sectors considered essential that have also seen their income reduced.
- The preferential nature of remote work is extended for two months, as well as the right to adapt the schedule and reduce the working day.
- A mechanism is established for the renegotiation and deferral of the rental payment of business premises.
- Notarial fees for the novation of non-mortgage credits are reduced.
- Flexibility measures are adopted to adjust to the current situation the regulations relating to certain sectors and activities, including those relating to ports, university research, technology centers, agricultural workers and cooperatives.
- A Sports Foundation endowed with funds from the sale of football audiovisual rights is created to help finance and provide stability to federative sports, Olympic and Paralympic sports.
Measures to protect citizens and employment
In order to continue protecting and providing coverage to people who in the current context do not have access to unemployment protection, the workers benefit coverage whose contracts have been terminated during the trial period for a new job since March 9 or those who have voluntarily terminated since March 1 due to having a firm job offer that has expired.
It also modifies the regulation of ERTEs due to force majeure, to cover the significant reductions in activity in those sectors considered essential, but which have been affected by the measures to reduce mobility and have seen their income diminish.
The protection of discontinuous permanent workers and the coverage established in Royal Decree-Law 8/2020 is extended to workers who have not been able to return to their activity on the scheduled dates as a result of COVID-19 and who do not meet the requirement of legal unemployment status, or do not they can access the unemployment benefit for lacking the necessary contribution period.
In order to facilitate the adjustment of the economy to the current situation and protect employment, different measures have been adopted, among which the suspension of deadlines in the field of action of the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate. Likewise, it reinforces control and sanction mechanisms to avoid fraudulent behavior in the perception of benefits, regulating sanctions and establishing a corporate responsibility that implies the return by the company of the benefits improperly received by its workers.
Extraordinarily flexible Fund for the promotion and education of cooperatives so that it can be used for any activity that contributes to curbing or alleviating the effects of COVID-19, through own shares, donations to other public or private entities or liquidity provision to the cooperative to guarantee the continuity of its operation.
Also the preferential nature of remote work is extended for two months, as well as the right to adapt the schedule and reduce the working day. Some of the requirements that allow public limited companies or limited liability companies to qualify as labor companies are temporarily and extraordinary adapted.
Finally, the approval reduction of contributions for certain agricultural workers during periods of inactivity in 2020 or the procedure for deferring Social Security debt is simplified.
In the area of citizen protection, the terms for the pension fund bailout, defining, among other issues, the accreditation of the circumstances that give the right to the availability of the plans, the term to which said circumstances are linked and the maximum amount that can be disposed of. Likewise, the notarial fees for the novation of non-mortgage credits are reduced by 50 %.
In order to implement the measures related to the moratorium on leases for vulnerable families due to COVID-19, the Line of Guarantees approved in Royal Decree-Law 11/2020 has an endowment of up to 1,200 million euros, to guarantee the loans granted by financial institutions.
Measures to strengthen business financing
In order to alleviate the operating costs of SMEs and the self-employed who have seen their income significantly reduced as a result of COVID-19, a mechanism is established for the renegotiation and postponement of the payment of rents of business premises to large holders or public companies. In the event that the owner is different from the previous ones, the use of the deposit is facilitated as a payment mechanism, and it must be replaced within one year.
In order to strengthen business financing, the coverage of the ICO Guarantee Line is extended to cover promissory notes of the Alternative Fixed Income Market, thus promoting the maintenance of the sources of liquidity provided by the capital markets. Likewise, the capacity of the mutual guarantee societies of the autonomous communities is increased, through a reinforcement of the re-guarantees granted by the Spanish Company of Refinancing, SA (CERSA) and it is guaranteed that the line may be released until December 31, 2020 .
It is enabled to Insurance Compensation Consortium to act as reinsurer of credit insurance risks, which will strengthen the channeling of resources for commercial credit, guarantee the continuity of economic transactions and provide security to commercial operations. On the other hand, the deferral of loan installments granted by the IDAE within the framework of its subsidy or reimbursable aid programs is allowed.
In the fiscal sphere, different measures are included aimed at align the taxable bases of the taxes to the current situation, which will free up more than 1,100 million euros of liquidity for companies, especially the self-employed and SMEs. With this objective, self-employed workers will be able to calculate the installment payments of the Personal Income Tax and the deposit on account of the simplified regime of the Value Added Tax with the objective estimation method, which will allow, during the period affected by the state of alarm, adjust the payment to actual income.
Also, it establishes a reduction in the installment payment of personal income tax and VAT, being able to discount in each quarter the days in which there has been a state of alarm. Companies will also be able to adapt the settlements of income on account to the estimated income forecast for 2020 and the possibility of making the payment of tax debts subject to obtaining financing through the Line of Guarantees is established.
Finally, the VAT applicable to the supply of sanitary material is reduced to zero percent from national producers to public entities, non-profits and hospitals, in line with the reduction of tariffs in the European Union and thus guarantee equal treatment and fast and effective supply, with savings of more than 1,000 million euros . The VAT on electronic books, magazines and newspapers is also reduced to align it with that applicable to paper ones.