The Council of Ministers approved Royal Decree-Law 4/2013 on measures to support entrepreneurs, stimulate growth and create employment

As announced during the Debate on the State of the Nation, on Friday the Council of Ministers approved Royal Decree-Law 4/2013, of February 22, 2013, on measures to support entrepreneurs, stimulate growth and create employment, which was published in the Official State Gazette on Saturday, February 23.

Royal Decree-Law 4/2013 contains a series of measures aimed at restoring economic growth and creating employment, including most notably:

1. Labor and social security measures

- The establishment of measures to stimulate hiring, such as the creation of a new temporary employment contract for young people in their first job and the establishment of different scenarios for reductions and deductions in social security contributions, including reductions linked to work experience contracts executed with people aged under 30.

- The adoption of measures to foster enterprise and self-employment, including deductions and reductions available for young self-employed workers, provisions on the option to combine the receipt of unemployment benefits with self-employed work or the new provisions on the receipt of benefits in a single payment.

- The improvement of labor intermediation mechanisms and provisions on a Single Employment Portal to assist jobseekers with their search for employment.

- An amendment to the Law on Temporary Employment Agencies, allowing manpower supply contracts in the cases provided for contracts for training and apprenticeship.

2. Tax measures

- The establishment of a reduced tax scale for newly created entities formed since January 1, 2013 where, among other requirements, they are not part of a group of companies and the same activity has not been performed previously by other related persons or entities or by an individual holding an ownership interest above 50% in the entity. This reduced scale will apply in the first year in which the entity records income and in the following year.

- The potential 20% reduction in the net income of individuals who start to carry on an economic activity on or after January 1, 2013 and who determine that income under the indirect assessment method. This reduction cannot be higher than 100,000 euros in a year and will apply in the first tax period in which they record income and in the following tax period.

The elimination, also for personal income tax purposes, of the quantitative limit for the exemption on unemployment benefits received as a single payment.

3. Measures to foster business:

- Amendment to the private insurance regulations to allow the investment of technical provisions in securities listed on the Alternative Stock Market (MAB) or another multilateral trading system specified by Royal Decree, subject to certain limits.

- Amendment to the same effect of the regulations on pension plans and funds to allow investments by pension funds on the MAB.

- To facilitate access to non-bank lending, elimination of the upper limit on issues (paid-in capital stock plus reserves) for debentures or other debt securities, established in article 405 of the Corporate Enterprises Law (LSC), where the securities (i) are targeted at qualified investors; (ii) are targeted at investors who acquire a minimum of €100,000; or (iii) are issues in which the unit par value of the securities offered is at least €100,000.

4. Financing measures for payments to suppliers by local authorities and autonomous communities

A new phase for the mechanism implemented last year has been established, its scope of application has been broadened in terms of parties and subject matter and some specific features of the procedure have been established.

5. Measures to combat late payment

Law 3/2004 on measures to combat late payment in commercial transactions has been amended, mainly to bring it into line with Directive 2011/7/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011.

6. Measures in the rail industry

Measures have been put in place to rationalize the rail industry in order achieve maximum efficiency in the management of services and boost the deregulation processes already underway, including the transfer to ADIF of the state-owned rail network and certain amendments to Railway Industry Law 39/2003, of November 17, 2003.

7. Measures in the oil and gas industry

The aim is to safeguard price stability for vehicle fuels and adopt direct measures with an immediate impact on fuel prices, to allow the market to operate more efficiently. Amendments have been made mainly to Oil and Gas Industry Law 34/1998, of October 7, 1998, and Royal Decree-Law 6/2000, of June 23, 2000, on urgent measures to increase competition in markets for goods and services.