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Eight in 10 Spaniards temporarily laid off now back at work – second-highest figure in Europe
18 January 2021 @ 11:43

A GLOBAL economic slowdown caused by the pandemic may in fact sound more frightening than it is – in Europe, at least: Eight in 10 Spanish workers temporarily laid off, or 'furloughed', are now back on the job, according to latest figures.

And although The Netherlands is doing better still, most of the rest of the continent is not far behind Spain.

Statistics from the ministry of work show that over 3.6 million employees in Spain were simultaneously affected by what is known in the country as an ERTE, or temporary redundancy, referred to as a 'furlough' in the UK.

But as at January 2021, a total of 2.9 million, or 79.1% of them, are now back at work.

Those who are not are mainly employed in tourism, hotel and catering industries, ranging from major hotel resorts to small, family-run local bars – these businesses are still suffering from the restrictions in place across the country, with very early evening closures imposed upon them, limited access to outside terraces and often as few as 30% allowed inside, with towns that have shut their borders due to high contagion rates having ordered all bars and restaurants to close completely.

Around 350,000 of the approximately 700,000 who are not yet back at work are in these industries, but Spain's government remains optimistic about their recovery.

Given that the temporary job losses are due to a health crisis rather than a purely financial one, as soon as the vaccine roll-out makes it safe, it is likely that more people than ever will want to take holidays and meet up with friends and family for drinks and meals, and possibly pour even greater energy and resources into doing so.

As one of the earth's top destinations for travellers of all tastes – from beach breaks and family holidays through to rural, active, or culture and city tourism – Spain is confident that once the pandemic is under control, it will be welcoming foreign visitors again in droves.

In The Netherlands, 85.7% of employees temporarily laid off are now back in their jobs – the highest figure in Europe, and the only country where these numbers are superior to Spain's.

Otherwise, Spain has beaten many of the continent's more affluent, northern nations.

In the UK, 73% are back at work and in Germany, 72.1%; elsewhere, the figure is under seven in 10 and even under two-thirds.

Austrian employees are back on the job in 69% of cases, whilst only 65.7% of those in Belgium are, 65.5% of French workers, and just 44.3% of those in Ireland.

In Italy, 'furloughed' employees are now working again in 56.4% of cases, but these figures are based on those temporarily laid off as at June, rather than March like the other countries listed.



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