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New €618M economic aid package for workers and companies most affected by Covid-19

Catalan authorities announce benefits scheme after agreement with unions and business groups

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25 January 2021 02:13 PM

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ACN|Barcelona

Following a Monday morning meeting between unions, business associations, and authorities, the Catalan government announced it was putting forth a new €618M aid package for workers and companies most adversely affected by the pandemic and its restrictions.

While stressing Spain's "failure" to address the needs of those who have suffered financially due to the crisis—unemployment and furlough benefits are managed by the Spanish government—Catalonia's interim president, Pere Aragonès, explained that furloughed workers with lower salaries would be receiving €200.  

In addition to this, Catalan authorities have agreed to give €2,000 per furloughed worker to SMEs with under 50 employees as long as they maintain employment levels until at least December 31, 2021, as well as €2,000 to an estimated 140,000 self-employed workers. Another €25M will be set aside for training programs for furloughed workers. 

"The Catalan government will make an extraordinary effort despite only collecting 5% of resources," Aragonès stated, adding that Spain should not be the European country to have "allocated the lowest percentage of its GDP to direct aid."

€280M for self-employed workers

The labor department will spend €280M on €2,000-benefits for some 140,000 self-employed workers in Catalonia. To apply for this aid, their businesses will have to have at most 5 employees, they cannot have had a taxable income of over €35,000 in 2019, and earned more than €17,500 net in 2020.

Assistance for furloughed workers and companies

€208M will be given to small companies that have had to furlough workers over the past year, which, according to enterprise minister Ramon Tremosa, will help save 104,000 jobs at risk.

Besides having under 50 workers, these companies will have to have billed under €10M to receive the €2,000 per furloughed worker benefit, although they will still be able to receive up to €30,000 in subsidies.

The government will also spend around €105M on providing low-income furloughed workers with €200 each.

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  • (Left to right) Social affairs minister Chakir El Homrani, interim president Pere Aragonès, and enterprise minister Ramon Tremosa at a meeting on January 25, 2021 (Courtesy of the Catalan Government)

  • (Left to right) Social affairs minister Chakir El Homrani, interim president Pere Aragonès, and enterprise minister Ramon Tremosa at a meeting on January 25, 2021 (Courtesy of the Catalan Government)

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