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Spain – Subsidies for staffing to improve employability

27 November 2012

The Ministry of Employment is planning to allocate €20 million to private agency placement in order to improve the employability of Spanish workers, according to the daily newspaper El Mundo. The plan is to allow staffing firms to collaborate closely with the Spanish Public Employment Services (SEPS).

This is part of a €31 million package aimed to improve the quality of vocational training programmes, which would be run by a tripartite organisation composed of employer organisations, trade unions and the SEPS.

This would be the first time the Spanish government directly subsidised staffing firms. The labour reforms passed by the successive Zapatero and Rajoy governments opened the door to private employment agencies to provide their services alongside the public employment services. However, the Association of Large Temporary Employment Agencies, (Agett) warns that "the industry has not yet signed any agreement with the SEPE".

The collaboration agreement is likely to come in three phases: “Enlarge the employability and training of the unemployed target group; help differentiate between the doors open and th closed, and  ultimately achieve job security," explained Agett spokesman Lorenzo Rivares. The Agett expects to sign the cooperation agreement in the first quarter of 2013.

According to the Agett, the 300 temporary employment agencies operating in Spain are responsible for 15% of all temporary contracts; that is four times the number of placements achieved by the SEPE. However, their market has fallen by 50% since 2007, and by -8% last year.

The government initially forecast that the unemployment rate would reach 24.6% by the end of 2012, and 24.3% for next year. However, in the third quarter it was already over 25%, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).


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