Spain’s draconian lockdown seems to be heading towards a slow conclusion, and with fines for breaking the lockdown laws ranging from €601 up to €10,400 the public are about to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
During the first month of lockdown from March 15th more than half a million penalties were issued by Government forces across Spain. Over 5,000 people were also arrested.
But the biggest fines of all are soon to come into place when movements are no longer restricted and the ‘new normal’ begins.
A New Normal
The new normal is likely to see the end of Spain’s traditional cash (or black) economy. This will entail an anticipated crackdown on the legions of unregistered workers who fill bars and restaurants, work on building sites, maintain pools and gardens, cut hair and paint nails, and transport various goods in an army of white vans.
It is well known that Spanish employment laws are strict. Tax, social security payments, creating a company and becoming ‘legal’ all have very high costs in Spain compared with the UK. There is no doubt that these are the reasons why many seek to work under the radar and participate in the black economy.
But with billions spent fighting the Covid-19 crisis, the government will need to claw this back somehow, and there will be few people who can begrudge the authorities attempting to claw back funds by enforcing what is legal.
Fortunately, this is not a concern for any of the team connected with Indalo Transport and Indalo Storage. All of our workers are correctly registered and fully legal. They are fully able to look after your treasured possessions whilst working within the laws of both Spain and the UK. In fact, we welcome the fact that there will now be a more level playing field, as we have always found it difficult to compete on price with illegal ‘man & vans’ who don’t care about having proper insurances or being legally permitted to work.
This paragraph is taken from a recent paper published by the Department of Labour Law and Social Security Law Faculty and sums up the Spanish view on illegal workers here in Spain.
“Undeclared work is fraud that has serious consequences for society as a whole, where those who comply with the established rules suffer the effects twice over:
firstly, because those who are working off the books do not contribute as they should to the sustainability of public finances, and in particular to the public social protection system, thus forcing those who declare their work to shoulder this financial burden; and
secondly, because those in regular employment receive fewer services than they would if everyone contributed their share to public spending”.
As we have seen with the fines under lockdown, the Spanish authorities are not afraid to impose large penalties when laws are broken. When employment laws are broken, there are even larger fines to pay, and also back taxes have to be repaid with interest, and the same thing happens with social security payments, too.
A civil penalty from €2,000 up to €200,000 per illegal worker can be imposed by the Central Office of Labour.
Payment in Cash?
Mates rates, working for a drink, and payment in cash is always tempting when you need a job done. But it is a sobering thought if you consider that It is also illegal for you to contract the services of those who wish to work illegally under the radar.
The Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family can impose fines of €5,000 for employing illegal workers.
Let me just repeat that – this means you, as a member of the public, can be fined €5,000 by the Spanish State if you employ someone who isn’t allowed to work in Spain.
During lockdown those able to work have been required to carry documentary evidence of their legal working status – called Autonomo.
These papers have been demanded at numerous roadblocks and checkpoints. Just so you are under no illusion of the scope of the fines at the moment, the full list is reproduced below.
As things change, with movements only being allowed within municipalities and then within provinces, these checks are likely to become more common. Who would argue against them becoming a regular occurence in the ‘new normal’, to help protect us until a vaccine is produced?
So, if you are considering a local removal within Spain or thinking about a trans European move between Spain and the UK you should always consider the legal status of your mover.
It’s in your best interests to ensure they are legally allowed to work for you.
Giving a mate a drink, or going for a cash price, might not cut it in the future.
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