MADRID – The Spanish government has announced a significant increase in unemployment benefits. Ultimately, the amount that unemployed people will receive in the first six months after losing a job will be 570 euros instead of 480 euros.
The reform introduces a two-phase plan for benefits. After the first six months, that amount will drop to 540 euros and again six months later gradually to 480 euros. This initiative is designed to support people in the first, often most challenging, months of unemployment.
The decision has finally been taken after weeks of disagreement between the Ministry of Labour and the social partners. Even though the social partners have still not agreed, the proposal was submitted to the Council of Ministers on Tuesday. The deadline for the agreement w
as coming to an end because the government had to unblock this reform. It is part of section 23 of the recovery plan, on which work still needs to be done. Only then can the European Union (EU) approve the sending of the next 10,000 million European funds.
Benefit compatible with receipt of salary
The agreement also confirms – and improves – one of the points that was on the table: unemployment benefits will be compatible with the receipt of a salary for 180 days. This point aims to “facilitate the transition to employment.”
Payment immediately after discharge
The period for making use of the subsidy will also be shortened. People who lose their jobs will no longer have to wait a month (a kind of “punishment” applied until now, Díaz indicated during the presentation of the agreement). The support will be activated automatically as soon as they register as unemployed.
Better protection for seasonal workers
The reform also extends protection to seasonal agricultural workers and cross-border workers. The age limit for receiving benefits has changed. This allows persons under 45 years of age without dependents and persons over 52 years of age with dependents to receive benefits.
However, stricter controls will be introduced to prevent abuse of early retirement benefits. The details of the approved reform are still pending.
Benefits for the unemployed and the economy
El Economista writes that this increase in unemployment benefits is a direct support for individuals. Moreover, it also has broader economic benefits. By providing additional financial resources in the early stages of unemployment, the government hopes to stimulate economic activity and get people back into the workforce more quickly.
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