ECONOMY

Gov’t announces more support

govt-announces-more-support

The new package of government measures for easing the effects of the pandemic provides for the expansion of contract suspensions, a special program for supporting businesses in specific sectors hurt by the new wave of the coronavirus, and the suspension of the January tranches of debt payment plans.

The restrictions the state has imposed over the last few weeks have created significant problems in dozens of professional categories. In order to soften the blow, the government announced on Friday additional support measures, at least for January, estimated at a cost of some 80 million euros to the budget.

Therefore, from January 1 to 31, the businesses affected can put up to 100% of their staff on furlough if they belong to the categories of nightclubs, bars, concert halls and other enterprises related to music. Workers that have their contract suspended will receive a special-purpose compensation of €534 for this month – depending on how long they are furloughed for. For that period the state will also cover their full social security contributions, based on their nominal salary.

As of Friday, Jnauary 14, and up until the end of the month at least, the same right to place their entire staff in furlough has been extended to companies in the sectors of staged events, wedding and events planning, playgrounds, and event and spectacle venues. Also as of Friday companies in a wide range of sectors may also furlough up to 25% of their staff. These sectors include food service, catering companies, hotels, travel and booking agencies, cinemas, conference and exhibition organizers, gyms and sports facilities, dance schools, casinos and recreation and theme parks.

The government is also launching a special funding program for supporting select sectors that have been hit particularly hard. They are conference, event and fair organizers, catering companies, dance schools and nightclubs, as long as they can prove a 50% turnover reduction between 2019 and 2020. The support will amount to 8% of each company’s turnover in 2019, with a ceiling set at €400,000.

Finally, workers on furlough can get their payment plan tranches for this month postponed till the end of their plan.