DETAILS OF TEMPORARY EMERGENCY BRIDGING MEASURE FOR JOB RETENTION ("NOW") ARE PUBLISHED

The Government has published the details of the NOW. The purpose of the NOW is to support employers by means of a subsidy to keep their employees employed as much as possible. In the event of a loss in turnover of at least 20%, the employer will receive a subsidy for wage costs for three months the amount of which is proportionate to the loss in turnover. It is expected that the subsidy can be applied for as of 6 April 2020. The application period runs until 31 May 2020.

The concept of 'wage costs'

The support consist of a subsidy for the wage costs of employees who are compulsorily insured for employee insurance schemes (“werknemersverzekeringen”). The scheme also covers wage costs for employees with flexible contracts and explicitly also applies to the wage costs of employees in respect of whom there is no obligation to continue to pay wages, such as employees with a zero-hour contract. Employers receive a subsidy for the latter group of employees if this group remains employed and receives wages during the period for which the subsidy is granted.

For the purpose of determining the wage sum reference is made to wage from current employment in respect of which social security contributions are paid (“socialeverzekeringsloon”). For each employee, a maximum wage of € 9,538 per month is taken into account. Additional charges and costs such as employer contributions, employee pension contributions and accrual of holiday allowance are compensated by means of a 30% surcharge.

Calculation of the allowance

The subsidy amounts to a maximum of 90% of the wage sum over a three-month period, starting on the first day of March, April or May 2020. The loss in turnover of at least 20% must occur during the chosen three-month period. To determine the loss in turnover, turnover during the chosen period is compared with 25% of the annual turnover over 2019. If an employer did not yet exist on 1 January 2019, a different method to determine turnover will apply.

The subsidy relates to the percentage of loss in turnover. In the event of a loss in turnover of 100%, a percentage of 90% of the total wage sum will be paid. If the loss in turnover is lower, the subsidy will be proportionally lower.

If the employer is a legal entity which is part of an affiliated group of legal entities, the loss in turnover will be determined at group level. However, in principle foreign legal entities are not taken into consideration in determining the loss in turnover at group level insofar as these do not employ employees who are compulsorily insured for employee insurance schemes.

Conditions

There are two conditions for participation in the scheme. First of all, the employer has a best-efforts obligation to maintain the same wage sum as much as possible. The advance payment that will be provided is based on the wage sum over the month of January 2020. In order to encourage employers to keep the wage sum unaltered, the amount of the ultimately awarded subsidy will be reduced by 90% of the amount by which the wage sum has decreased over the chosen three-month period compared to the wage sum over January 2020.

The second condition is not to submit an application for dismissal to the UWV for business economic reasons during the period between 18 March up to and including 31 May 2020. If such an application is nonetheless made, 150% of the wage sum of the employee concerned will be deducted from the total wage sum on which the amount of the ultimately awarded subsidy is based.

Advance payment and determination of the final subsidy

If the application is accepted, the UWV will grant an advance payment of 80% of the subsidy as calculated on the basis of the expected loss in turnover. The advance payment will be made in three instalments. In practice, the UWV aims to pay the first installment within 2-4 weeks.

Possible extension of the emergency measure

The government is considering extending the emergency measure by three months. A decision shall be made ultimately on 31 May 2020. However, further conditions may then apply.

HEUSSEN can assist you in the application for the subsidy for wage costs on the basis of the NOW. If you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact our Corona Helpdesk (corona@heussen-law.nl / +31(0)20 312 2800).

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