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By Brett Allan King
The Spanish government is transforming professional training with the imposition of new regulations specifying what counts as worker training, how training can be developed through collective bargaining, and what companies need to know when training their employees (Royal Decree 694/2017, effective July 6). To fund the new program in 2017, the Public State Employment Service has budgeted 1.086 billion euros ($1.24 billion) for training employed workers and 897 million euros ($1.02 billion) for unemployed workers.
Under the new rules, companies will have access to an annual “training credit” funded through a reduction in their social security liability. The government will regulate job training programs and accreditation and implement an integrated information system to track training nationwide. A policy of “zero tolerance for fraud” will be applied to the management of training funds and an inspection unit created to implement the policy. Employers not compliant with the rules may be excluded from subsidies for up to five years.
“The goal is to encourage and extend, among companies and employed and unemployed workers, training that improves employability and professional and personal development,” said government spokesman ÍñigoMéndez de Vigo July 3.
According to some observers, however, the new rules may have unintended consequences.
“What the regulation basically does is harden the requirements when it comes to using subsidized training,” Luis Pérez, director of Institutional Relations at Randstad in Madrid, told Bloomberg BNA by telephone July 12.
According to Pérez, new rules intended to prevent fraud—which include extensive recordkeeping obligations, government oversight, and detailed criteria for qualifying for government subsidies—may actually hamper companies trying to achieve the government's twin objectives of raising the employability of workers and increasing the competitiveness of employers.
“This is not a flexible model for companies,” said Pérez, adding that the new requirements don't let companies “breathe.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Brett Allan King in Madrid at email@example.com
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The text of Royal Decree 694/2017 is available in Spanish here.
For more information on Spanish HR law and regulation, see the Spain primer..
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