Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, in a speech at the Congress of the Association of Independent Contractors, announced that the government has been working for the last two weeks on an action plan to tackle the situation caused by COVID-19. The plan, being prepared in collaboration and coordination with the social stakeholders, will be announced in the coming days.
Pedro Sánchez outlined the criteria that govern the government’s action in relation to the new coronavirus: All political decisions are based on scientific evidence and the criteria of experts; The situation will be monitored hourly, adapting the measures to the development of the crisis; Effective coordination will be headed up with all the regional governments, local authorities, European partners and the World Health Organization; and informative transparency will prevail.
Sánchez insisted that “all public powers must be at the service of experts and science”.
The announcement of the action plan comes on top of the decision to schedule a weekly inter-ministerial meeting, every Wednesday, to strengthen the government’s coordination, as well as to schedule two meetings each week of the Inter-territorial Committee of the National Health System (Spanish acronym: SNS), in addition to the meeting of the technical committee to be held each morning and afternoon.
Entrepreneurship, innovation and employment
In relation to independent contractors, Pedro Sánchez expressed his “firm determination” to resolve the main problems facing this group in this term of office, a group without which the economic and social fabric of Spain would be unthinkable. “Self-employment is synonymous with entrepreneurship, innovation and small companies that create jobs and wealth”. Pedro Sánchez pointed out that the self-employed represent one in every six National Insurance contributors, that almost 2 million individuals create their own job and that one in every five cases has salaried people working for them.
Sánchez also stressed the importance of this group for three of the government’s priorities: sustainable growth and dignified employment, territorial cohesion and digitalisation. He also advocated incentivising initiatives by women in this field to reduce the current gender gap.
Greater social protection for the self-employed
Pedro Sánchez announced that the government will strengthen dialogue with the self-employed through ATA and other representative associations such as UPTA, to continue bringing social protection in line for this group with contracted workers.
Firstly, the government will draw up a Workers’ Statute that takes into account new labour realities and addresses the challenges of employment in the 21st Century. Technology and digital platforms cannot lead to job insecurity or abuse, he argued.
Sánchez also announced other measures on which the government is working: a system of contributions related to real income, the constitution of the Work Council for Independent Contractors, a Plan to Boost Self-employment, the revision of the Late Payment Act and the evaluation of the current special system for cash accounting criteria for VAT. The government, he added, is also decisively committed to specialised training, innovation, internationalisation and the enhanced presence of digital skills in the education system.