9 Apr, 2020 @ 21:35
5 mins read

COVID-19 GUIDE: What self-employed expats in Spain’s different regions need to know about being autonomo during coronavirus crisis

Olive Press Covid 19 Guides A

DESPITE the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Spain’s 3.2 million self-employed workers still had to pay their €283 social security contributions at the beginning of April.

Despite many having their businesses shut down during the coronavirus lockdown, the self-employed (‘autónomos’ in Spanish) will have to cough up again at the beginning of May.

Self-employed workers who are receiving benefits for cessation of activity can ask for their social security contributions back, but only 360,000 are in this situation, or 11.2%.

A moratorium will come into effect for May and June monthly contributions, according to the Royal Decree-law 11/2020

Self-employed workers can apply for an ‘extraordinary’ benefit for cessation of activity (prestacion extraordinaria por cese de actividad), which is separate to the grants discussed in this article.

Anyone whose work or business has been directly suspended, or has seen a 70% loss in income over the last month (compared with average monthly income over previous semester), can apply.

This benefit can be applied for online via Spain’s State Public Employment Service, the SEPE.

These contributions will have to be paid within six months of an application, and will have an interest of 0.5%.

But if you have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain and need urgent help, here we take a look at the financial assistance available in Spain’s expat hotspots:

1. Andalucia

The Junta de Andalucia has agreed to pay 150,000 autonomos (self-employed workers) each €300 in April.

The move is intended to cover Social Security contributions for April.

A €40 million fund has been set aside to cover these payments, the regional government announced on its official website.

This aid is intended to support those freelancers not covered by state aid from the central government.

At the end of March, 538,251 autonomos were registered in Andalucia, making the region Spain’s second-largest in terms of the number of Social Security contributions after Catalunya.

The announcement comes a week after the Association of Autonomous Workers of Andalucia (ATA) calculated that 40% of autonomos were not able to pay their contribution on March 31.

LEADER: Junama Moreno, President of the Junta de Andalucia

The organisation and the Junta both described the central government’s help for autonomos as ‘insufficient’.

Around 80% of autonomos in Andalucia have to pay €283 in Social Security contributions.

The other 20% own companies and pay about €310.

Who is eligible?

You will NOT be eligible if you are already claiming unemployment benefits during the current crisis.

You will NOT be eligible if you are classified as an ‘essential worker’ under Royal Decree 10/2020 published on March 29 in the government’s BOE.

How to claim it?

The Junta has not announced the exact mechanism for claiming the 300 benefit, but its autonomos portal is available here.

But you MUST present a written statement to the Junta, proving that you are self-employed, pay taxes in Andalucia and are registered in the Spanish Social Security system.

You will also need to provide a certificate to state that you have paid the fee for April.

2. Comunitat Valenciana 

Self-employed workers and business owners (‘autónomos’ in Castellano or ‘autónoms’ in Valenciano) may apply for a direct grant of up to €1,500 until May 4.

These measures were decreed in the Valencian Generalitat’s Decreto 44/2020 on April 3.

The Comunitat Valenciana’s employment arm, Labora, at 9am today, April 8, opened its online doors to applications (employment secretary Enric Nomdedeu announced by midday these had reached over 102,000).

Nomdedeu said the grants are to ‘mitigate the difficult situation’ caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Spain’s state of alarm announced on March 14.

The Generalitat has earmarked €57 million to fund the applications, which appear to be one-off grants given that the state of alarm is due to end on April 26.

The €1,500 is for the self-employed whose work has ground to a complete halt due to Spain’s Royal Decree 463/2020, which first announced the state of alarm.

Meanwhile, €750 will be given to those who have seen a 75% loss in monthly income due to the state of alarm measures (see below).

These grants are compatible with cessation of activity benefits (see above), and applications for the moratorium on social security contributions (see above), if already requested.

How to claim it:

Applications are made online via the Valencian Generalitat’s webpage for employment, Labora.

The correct procedure is entitled ‘EAUCOV 2020 Ayuda extraordinaria a personas trabajadoras autónomas COVID19’.

Self-employed workers must ask for a ‘cita previa’ (appointment) even though offices are obviously closed – all applications will be processed online.

Who is eligible:

You will NOT be eligible if your net profit exceeded €30,000 in the previous fiscal year.

You will NOT be eligible if you were receiving a prestacion por cese de actividad (unemployment benefit) up until March 14.

You MUST have been registered in Spain’s Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos (RETA) since at least December 31, 2019.

You MUST have seen a loss of 75% of your monthly income (month prior to application) as compared to your average income over the last semester (six months). If you haven’t been registered for that long, the losses can still be calculated on the average income over however many months you can declare.

You MUST have a fiscal residence in the Comunitat Valenciana.

You MUST keep working for at least three months after work restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been removed.

You MUST declare any other benefits, grants or other financial help received.

Useful information:

Santa Pola’s Agencia de Desarrollo Local have released a table with all this information, if you can understand the Spanish.

3. Balearic Islands

As per the Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, self-employed workers in the Balearic Islands will be able to access a special benefit.

Those who can prove a 75% loss in earnings over the previous month compared with the last 180 days will be able to apply.

The benefit will be calculated with 70% of the regulatory base over the last 180 days, or 70% of their minimum income if they haven’t been registered as self-employed for this period of time.

The benefit will last for a month, with the possibility of being extended until the state of alarm is over.

These workers will also be exempt from paying social security contributions while the state of alarm is in place, however all debt will be accumulated. 

How to claim it:

The special benefit can be requested by completing an electronic form from the official Mutua Balear website.

Once the form is completed, it must be sent to the appropriate office alongside evidence showing loss of earnings.

– Palma de Mallorca and surroundings: [email protected]

– Inca, Alcudia, Muro and surrounding areas: [email protected]

– Manacor, Felanitx and surrounding areas: [email protected]

– Menorca: [email protected] 

– Ibiza: [email protected]

The application deadline is currently set on April 30, with the possibility of being put back if the state of alarm is extended.

Who is eligible?

You MUST be affiliated as self-employed and be registered in the Spanish Social Security system.

You MUST demonstrate a 75% loss in earnings as stipulated above.

You MUST be up-to-date with your Social Security payments, and in the case of not being so, you MUST pay off your debt within 30 days.

Other regional measures:

The Government of the Balearic Islands has also put in place a series of measures to help the self-employed during the state of alarm.

The self-employed will be able to access low-interest loans and temporary deferrals in loans or credit card payments owed to their banking providers.

The requirements to access a loan will be broadened to ensure the maximum number of people can be accepted. 

Those that are interested in applying should speak with their financial advisor. 

In addition, a €50 million fund has been set aside for the self-employed through guarantees with the non-profit ISBA Reciprocal Guarantee Society.

These loans are intended to cover the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis with options to borrow between €6,000 and €300,000, which can be paid off between 12 and 60 months. 

Those that are interested in applying should complete an electronic form from the official ISBA website

Specific questions can be answered by calling +971 461 250 or sending an email to [email protected]

Staff Reporter

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