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Spain to stop exclusion of newly registered people from social services

The Spanish government aims to ensure that residents recently registered on the padrón can no longer be excluded from essential social services, as well as outlining rules for social care provisions for people who move between regions.

Spain to stop exclusion of newly registered people from social services
Spain’s Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP

On January 17th, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a preliminary draft bill reforming the country’s social service provisions. 

Though ultimately the legal and organisational remits will remain, as before, in the hands of Spain’s regional governments, the proposed legislation seeks to establish a common framework of services, including minimum standards that all autonomous regions must comply with.

Crucially, among them, the regions will be compelled by law to provide ‘essential social services’ to all residents regardless of how long they have been registered on the padrón.

READ ALSO – Padrón: 16 things you should know about Spain’s town hall registration

The padrón certificate is basically proof that shows where you are living. Your town hall – or ayuntamiento – uses it to find how many people are living in the area and what their ages are. If you plan on staying in Spain for more than three months and becoming a foreign resident in Spain, you are required by law to register for your padrón within this time.

Spain’s social service system, headed by Minister for Social Rights, Ione Belarra, provides support for the disabled, families, infants and teenagers, residential care and the homeless community, among many other disadvantaged groups.

As part of the draft bill, the requirement for a minimum time of registration or residence to access basic services will be removed, which will benefit not only Spaniards who have moved from one region to another, but foreigners who have recently become residents in Spain.

READ ALSO: Can I get my padrón online in Spain?

With this legislation, the Ministry of Social Rights aims to make Spain’s social services “more personalised, more comprehensive and inclusive” and remove barriers to care, according to sources within the Ministry.

“The aim is to lay the foundations for a new model of social services, a path that some regional legislations have already embarked on, far from a welfare-based approach and focused solely on emergencies,” the source added.

The bill is still in the draft stage, and the final text must be formally approved first by the Council of Ministers and then pass through the Spanish parliament. Once, and if, it is green-lighted by both those bodies, the Ministry will then have to agree with the regions which social services are specifically considered essential, and outline a catalogue of services that all regions will be obliged to guarantee to all residents, regardless of when they carried out their padrón registration.

The draft bill establishes that “all persons with effective residence in Spain are holders of the rights contained in this law, without any distinction or exclusion”. 

Moving around Spain

Although the regions will no longer be able to set minimum registration times to be ‘empadronado‘, that is, registered on the local census, as a requirement for access to social services, their power to make access to social services conditional on registration in their region looks set to remain.

Fortunately, however, that will not prevent or interfere with another of the new rules proposed in the legislation: the right of access to social services for people who spend seasons or periods outside their region, elsewhere within Spain.

In that sense, the social services model could become similar to public health in that all residents maintain their access rights, even if they are not registered in that region. For example: if a person who is registered with and receives social services in one region spends the summer in a beach house located in another region, the proposed law will establish that second regional administration (the one being visited) will take on the responsibility for social service previsions while they are there.

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Spain mulls paying workers who commute by bike

The Spanish government wants to promote a cycle-to-work scheme and is considering various incentives for those who commute by bike, including paying workers.

Spain mulls paying workers who commute by bike

The so-called ‘En bici al trabajo’ scheme is part of the government’s ‘State Strategy for Bicycles’, which aims to promote and encourage the use of bicycles as a means of transport, being beneficial for both the environment and human health.

Among the possibilities to help encourage the scheme, the government is considering the idea that companies should pay employees who bike to work, a plan which has already been rolled out in some European countries.

“The bicycle is not just another mode of transport. Its use produces value for society, not only in terms of mobility but also habitability, health, the environment, equity, sociability, etc. And it produces benefits for those who travel by bicycle and for those who do not, by freeing up space and reducing air and noise pollution”, the Spanish government said in a recent statement.

Spain’s Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda has outlined its ‘Bicycle Strategy’ from all angles “from mobility to its benefits for health, through to its recreational and sports use, for business development, or as a basis for bicycle-based tourism”.

The government wants to involve companies to commit to initiatives that encourage the use of bicycles to travel to work. To do this it is considering modifying the tax regulations so that companies can consider paying their employees extra if they bike to work, in a similar way that businesses pay for company cars.  

Countries such as France and the Netherlands already have similar schemes in place. In France, employees can earn up to €800 extra a year if they bike to work, and in the Netherlands, up to €1,500.  

In Spain, however, this would require a change in the legislation, which is currently not planned, so it may have to be worked out in a slightly different way.  

In the UK for example, tax incentives or discounts are given instead, which may also be partly paid by the company. There are also incentives to exchange old vehicles for bicycles.

In Spain, the ‘Bicycle Strategy’ is currently limited to promotional campaigns and this is the first of its 15 points. 

The city of Bari was the first Italian city to pay its citizens to cycle to work. The city established a limit of €25 per month and up to €0.20 per kilometre can be earned.

Some Spanish companies in fact already have initiatives in place to promote biking to work and the popularity of cycling has already reached historical highs, where 57 percent of residents between the ages of 14 and 70 prefer to pedal to get around, according to the general secretary of the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE), Jesús Freire.