Entrepreneurs become jointly responsible for the debt
Firms foresee high cost for employers
The Ministry of Labor and Social Economy has converted the claim of 'improper payments' in the Employment Regulation Files (ERTEs) during the pandemic into an additional punishment for companies. The department headed by Yolanda Díaz has changed the law so that the company is jointly and severally liable for the return of the amounts claimed by the SEPE and not only if the worker cannot pay them.
The Executive has taken advantage of Royal Decree-Law 1/2023 on urgent measures in terms of incentives for hiring and improving the social protection of artists to review the claim procedures.
The objective is to avoid the blocking of thousands of unemployment benefits due to the debts of former ERTE beneficiaries, but it also introduces a substantial change in the role of companies. According to the Government, the change only adapts the regulations regarding refunds of improper payments from SEPE to what is governed by the Law on Infractions and Sanctions in the Social Order. A pending update for decades.
The changes are justified by the way in which those ERTEs were processed, which were calculated by the data provided by the companies and not the workers, with which the former have a responsibility for errors.
The legal change coincides with a trend towards increasing surveillance of these processes and a greater weight of the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate, which acquires a collection and exemplary nature.
In any case, the Government has neither reported nor estimated the economic impact for companies. But yes: it includes other novelties that cover the backs of SEPE itself in the face of the blockage in the procedures, which have accumulated millions of cases since 2020. The first is to double the term for SEPE to notify the affected person of the amount to six months. unduly collected" that is owed.
The previous period of three months is the one established by the Law of Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations, but Trabajo considers that "it is proving insufficient to be able to carry out the complete processing of the procedures", especially those derived from the ERTEs .
In addition, it establishes that the appropriate way for the affected party to request the challenge is the appeal. Thus, it is equated to what is regulated by the Social Security Law, which establishes as a necessary requirement to formulate a claim regarding Social Security benefits, that the interested parties file a "prior claim before the managing entity of the same".