In the periodic information on unemployment data, one of the images most used to illustrate them is the queues of unemployed before the public employment offices. If we were to ask the people waiting their turn, surely a good part of them would say that they are for bureaucratic procedures how to manage the unemployment permit. Despite his name, the State Public Employment Service (SEPE), the old Inem, is not one of the most effective channels to find a job (the percentage that gets it is around 2%, according to INE data). This is one – but not the only one – of the great weaknesses of the labor system in Spain, the lack of really effective active occupation policies, although repeatedly the different governments ensure that they bet on them. The new employment law prepared by the Ministry of Labor, which EL PERIÓDICO advanced this Thursday, is one of the most ambitious in recent years, since it intends to reconvert the SEPE into a Spanish Employment Agency, which will have more autonomy, more functions and more resources than its predecessor. One of the most outstanding novelties prepared by the ministry he directs Yolanda Diaz is the creation of a digital platform with both public and private offers, state, regional and local. The greater participation of private placement agencies in this model, which keeps management in the hands of the public sector, could constitute a good example of public-private partnership to streamline processes and thus obtain better results.
To prepare the draft bill, Labor has consulted the social agents and the autonomous communities. The latter have a very relevant role in this area, since they are the ones that have the powers of active employment policies. It will affect the regional governments, among others, the homogenization It is intended with a “common portfolio of services” for all users of this state agency. Or the provision of sufficient personnel to cover the new tutor figure, a reference person who accompanies the unemployed throughout the training and job search journey, in the style of the Nordic countries model, whose ratio per user is yet to be defined. It will be necessary to see how the future law specifies this unification of services, as it is ultimately a autonomic competence. The text, which still has to be approved by the Council of Ministers, will have a parliamentary tour afterwards, and it cannot be ruled out that parties such as ERC, PNV and EH Bildu introduce amendments.
The improvement of active employment policies is one of the many reforms that Spain has pending with Brussels to fulfill its commitment on the European funds recovery. On paper, the future law points to great advances, especially in areas such as training and retraining of the unemployed to other sectors. Without a sufficient financial endowment, however, it will have little travel. The collapse and delays of the SEPE to process the covid deaths in 2020 can serve as an example that neither good words nor good intentions are enough, if they are not accompanied by resources.
Finally, better targeting the job search is only half of the equation: we must also ensure that the other side job creation is encouraged by companies. Creating a labor framework that facilitates recovery is also on the table of the Government and social agents.