The government of Rio Grande do Sul is proposing the temporary suspension of employment contracts and the offer of qualification grants to employees of companies in Vale do Taquari hit by the September floods. The measures will guarantee the maintenance of jobs while companies restructure, and will be forwarded to the Ministry of Labor next week. According to a survey by the Secretariat of Labor and Professional Development (STDP), heavy rains and floods affected 1,428 companies of different sizes and activities.
The proposals have been debated among representatives of around 40 business entities, trade unions and state and federal government bodies over the last two months. Last Tuesday (10/31), the state secretary of Labor, Gilmar Sossella, presented during a meeting in Encantado how the initiative should work. Created in 2001 as an alternative to avoid m layoffs, the qualification grant was adopted until then for situations of economic crisis. Now, says Sossella, the benefit is now used in cases of public calamity.
The idea is that employment contracts will be suspended for up to five months and companies will be exempt from paying FGTS and INSS. Already employees will be entitled to receive a qualification grant with resources from the Worker Support Fund (FAT). The value of the scholarship will vary between a minimum wage and R$2,230.97 and the worker must take an online qualification course. “The worker will be protected and the work card will not suffer any losses in the future. He will be receiving the benefit, which will be considered for the purposes of social and social security contributions”, he explains.
To make the proposal viable, It will be necessary for the unions in each category to sign a convention or collective agreement. From then on, companies interested in adopting the suspension of contracts must sign the agreement. This Monday (6), the Working Group set up to debate the measures must deliver a list of categories and companies interested in joining. The survey will then be forwarded to the Ministry of Labor for approval. “We estimate that 11 thousand workers can benefit and will be entitled to the qualification grant”, projects the secretary.
According to Sossella, several issues involving the procedures for the benefit have been simplified, including the reduction in the time of qualification courses. “For each month of qualifying scholarship, you needed 60 hours of course. Anyone who had the scholarship for five months would need 300 hours. How can we talk about qualifications for workers who lost their home? We reduced it to 40 hours in total”, highlights the secretary.
Another facility is the possibility for companies to register employees who will be entitled to the qualification grant directly in the Empregador Web systemwhich is part of e-Social.
The secretary emphasizes that the Suspension of contracts and the qualification grant will give companies in Vale do Taquari a breath of fresh air to recover and resume activities. “Some companies took collective vacations and we saw cases of people who have worked in the same place for 40, 50 years and want to continue. The region has little unemployment, but now we need to take urgent measures”, he reinforces.
The State Department of Labor made a selection of Caged data from September in the 20 cities in a state of calamity in the Taquari Valley. The data shows the impact of the flood in cutting vacancies in some municipalities. Among the ten cities that cut the most jobs in the region in September are Lajeado (-1,535 vacancies), Estrela (-459), Encantado (-399), Arroio do Meio (-290), Taquari (-219), Roca Sales (- 165), Muçum (-156), Bom Retiro do Sul (-147), Cruzeiro do Sul (-100) and Santa Tereza (-6).
Industries in Vale do Taquari are still awaiting the release of resources from the federal government
The tragedy in Vale do Taquari completes two months this weekend. Since the heavy rains that raised the Taquari River, causing floods, death and destruction, industries, commerce and services in the region are counting the losses and awaiting help to resume activities. Outside the credit range released by BNDES to date, large companies in the region fear the discontinuity of operations and spend the “last fat” to be able to honor commitments.
This is the case of the Fontana industry, in Encantado. Founded 89 years ago, the manufacturer and distributor of hygiene and cleaning products and chemical oils had a loss of R$52 million. One dossier prepared by the company details the losses caused by the flood: water invaded industry facilities, causing damage to raw material and weighing equipment and processors, laboratories, generator units, water treatment plants, buildings and facilities.
“Companies are not looking for handouts or free money. We need resources that may have interest and correction, but with a grace period and a good period to pay, with a guarantee fund that helps us get back on our feet”, says Ângelo César Fontana, from Fontana’s Board of Directors, pointing out that so far, aid to larger companies has only been promised.
This delay compromises the financial health of companies. “We didn’t fire anyone, there are 270 direct jobs, but I haven’t produced anything for 60 days. I paid my salaries last month, but my fat is disappearing. I invested R$60 million this year and lost R$52 million, how am I going to recover?”, asks the industrialist.
Fontana participated last week in the meeting in Encantado, which was attended by business entities, workers and the State Department of Labor. He considers the proposal presented for the suspension of contracts and the employee qualification grant to be positive. “They achieved greater flexibility in the courses, which will last 40 hours, and with less bureaucracy and more ease for workers to complete”, he esses, also praising the climate of unity involving the employer cl and workers in favor of a solution to the problem that affects to all.
Regarding the claiming lines of credit for larger companiesFontana says that businesspeople will continue to follow the measures adopted by the federal government and press for them to be actually implemented.