What benefits have been put in place to mitigate the economic blow of Covid-19?
Check out Catalan News' guide to both Catalan and Spanish measures for those in need during these trying times
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had effects most people in Catalonia had never experienced before, and as dozens of thousands have fallen ill and thousands have unfortunately died, millions have been left reeling from the social and economic strain of the crisis.
Both the Catalan and Spanish governments have put in place a series of benefits in an attempt to mitigate the negative financial impact the public health emergency has been having on residents and which can be found, summarized, below:
- Self-employed workers: Up to €2,000 will be provided to some 4,000 freelancers who have not been able to work or earn as much money as usual due to the state of alarm. The application form for this benefit should be available in early April.
- Public transport: The Catalan government announced that all public transport in the Barcelona area would be free from April 2 for all essential workers that must continue carrying out their work under the enhanced lockdown.
- Self-employed workers: Freelancers throughout Catalonia and beyond were charged their monthly social security fee – generally around 270 euros – on March 31 and it seems like they will have to pay April's as well despite the fact that many have lost out on work or have not been able to work at all, incurring dramatic income losses. The government has, however, put in place a fee moratorium for May to July.
- Temporary layoffs: Known as ERTOs, they mean that employers temporarily suspend their workers' contracts but employees still receive pay. The government covers 70% of salaries up to 1,100 euros for six months and then 50% of them after that period while companies sometimes pay the rest, although they are not obliged to do so. Over half a million workers in Catalonia are under this kind of scheme due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rent: A) 700 million euros have been allocated in microcredits for people having trouble paying their rent. This money will have to be returned at 0% interest within 6 to 10 years and is available to the following vulnerable groups: unemployed workers, people affected by temporary redundancy schemes, or freelancers who have experienced an income drop due to the public health crisis.
B) All housing contracts that are about to expire will be extended for up to 6 months
C) There will be a rent moratorium for vulnerable renters in homes owned by major landlords.
Mortgages: People who have lost their jobs or self-employed workers with drastic income losses will be able to benefit from a mortgage-payment moratorium if they are in the process of buying their main residence, as will self-employed workers paying for other properties as part of their business.
Evictions: Whether due to failure to pay rent or a mortgage, evictions will be suspended for up to 6 months
- Unemployed domestic and temporary workers: domestic workers are entitled to a €400-subsidy if they are out of work, as are temporary workers who have lost their jobs during the state of alarm and who haven't worked long enough to receive full unemployment benefits.
- Utility providers will not be allowed to cut off water, gas or electricity supplies during the state of alarm.