On 18th March 2020 and 24th March 2020 respectively, the Government announced the financial packages which would be available to businesses operating in certain sectors with the main scope of preserving employment as much as possible.
A benefit of €800 per month per full-time employee to businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and which were subject to a forced closure by the Government
Summarily, the financial assistance being made available consists of the following:
- Government to cover €350 per employee on two weeks’ quarantine leave. It is noteworthy that the quarantine leave payable must cover the full wage of the employee with the difference paid by the employer;
- Tax, VAT, National Insurance and Social Security payments are to be deferred for the months of March and April;
- An unemployment benefit of €800 per month to employees who have been made redundant with effect from 9thMarch 2020;
- A benefit of €800 per month to persons with disabilities who have to stay at home due to health concerns that may arise as a consequence of COVID-19 and cannot telework;
- A benefit of €800 per month to a parent, when both parents work in the private sector, who must stay at home to take care of children (under 16) whilst schools remain closed and such parent cannot telework;
- Rent subsidies or increased rent subsidies to employees who lose their job and have rent to pay;
- A benefit of €800 per month per full-time employee to businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and which were subject to a forced closure by the Government. The critical sectors are: wholesale, retail, accommodation, food and beverage service activities, vehicle rentals and leasing, employment activities, tour operators, travel agencies and other related enterprises, security and investigation services, services to buildings, transport companies, creative arts, entertainment activities and personal services (such as barbers, beauticians, hairdressers);
- The same amount will also be paid to self-employed individuals engaged in such sectors. If the salary due to the employee is in excess of €800 per month, the employers must top up the salary by €400 per employee per month, without prejudice to the payment in excess of €400, at the employer’s discretion. In the event that businesses would not be in a position to finance the €400 top-up, then the appropriate discussions must be undertaken between the employer and employee with the guidance of Department of Industrial and Employment Relations;
- The aforementioned benefit also applies to part-time employees at a reduced €500 per month;
- A benefit equivalent to one day’s salary per week shall be granted to businesses operating in less critical sectors such as parts of wholesale, manufacturing, retail, warehousing and information with the possibility of increasing it to two days’ salary, based on a full-time salary of €800 per month (or part-time salary of €500 per month).
It is noteworthy that no new work permit applications shall be accepted by Identity Malta in respect of third country nationals, with the exception of applications for persons in the healthcare profession and highly skilled workers.