Government measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic

The Government have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic and have introduced the following measures in order to try and ease the effects of such pandemic on businesses and their employees, as well as self-employed persons.

Such measures are being administered by Malta Enterprise, and additional information can be found on their website. Moreover, most of the measures are to be applied retrospectively as from 9th March 2020.

Below is a summary of the main measures introduced to date:

Parents Applying for Two Months Leave

Parents employed in the private sector who have children under the age of 16, whom they need to take care of, and cannot work from home may apply for such benefit after 8th of March 2020, provided they would have already exhausted all their paid vacation leave.

Such benefit entitles such persons (who are on unpaid leave) to €184.62/per week if one works full-time or €115.38/per week if one works part-time.

Disabled Persons who had to stop work

Persons with disabilities employed in the private sector, who due to COVID 19 are medically advised to stay home, and cannot work from home are eligible to apply for such benefit after 8th of March 2020, provided they would have already exhausted all their paid vacation leave.

Such benefit entitles such persons (who are on unpaid leave) to €184.62/per week if one works full-time or €115.38/per week if one works part-time.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Persons ending up unemployed

Persons employed in the private sector who lose their jobs due to COVID 19 after 8th March 2020 may apply for this benefit.

One would be entitled to receive €184.62/per week if they were working full-time before becoming unemployed or €115.38/per week if they were working part-time before becoming unemployed.

Quarantine Leave Grant

Employers are entitled to apply for a €350 grant per employee on quarantine leave. Applications for this have been issued.

Measures targeting Hardest Hit Sectors

Measures were introduced to aid the sectors which were mostly hit by the pandemic, being those forced to close, which include: (i) wholesale; (ii) retail; (iii) accommodation; (iv) food and beverage service activities; (v) vehicle rentals and leasing; (vi) employment activities; (vii) tour operators; (viii) travel agencies and other related enterprises; (ix) security and investigation services; (x) services to buildings; (xi) transport companies; (xii) creative arts; and (xiii) entertainment activities and personal services (like barbers, beauticians, hairdressers).

Businesses can confirm whether they fall in the above categories depending on their NACE code using their VAT Number on Malta Enterprise’s website.

The Government will finance €800/per month per full-time employees and €500/per month per part-time employee (to be worked out pro-rata depending on the number of hours worked by that part-time worker) of such businesses.

Where the employee’s wage is in excess of €800 per month, the employers are to top up the pay by a minimum of €400 per employee per month. In the event that businesses would not be in a position to finance the €400 top-up, agreement between the employer and employee would be required in this regard as well as the consent of the Director of Employer to such reduction.

The same amount will also be paid to self-employed individuals engaged in such sectors.

Employers who were constrained to lay off employees will be eligible for such payment if they re-engage the laid off employees.

The Government will make payments directly to the employer – who will be obliged to guarantee that such supplements are forwarded to the employee.

Applications for such schemes should be available as at 30th March.

Measures targeting less critical sectors

The equivalent of a day’s salary per week, with the possibility of increasing it to two days’, based on a full-time salary of €800 per month (or part-time salary of €500 per month), is being provided by the Government to to employees of enterprises, including self-employed, who have been less impacted by the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Such sectors include parts of wholesale, manufacturing, retail, warehousing and information. Lists can be found on the Malta Enterprise’s website.

Businesses operating in Gozo in such sectors will get a subsidy equivalent to two days’ pay.

Self-employed persons who have employees will be entitled to two-days’ salary per week.

Self-employed based in Gozo will be entitled two-days’ salary per week and will increase to three-days’ salary for those self-employed who employ staff, and the employees will be entitled to 2 days salary.

The Government will make payments directly to the employer – who will be obliged to guarantee that such supplements are forwarded to the employee.

pplications for such schemes should be available as at 30th March.

Tax payment deferrals, bank guarantees, and other measures

There will be a two-month deferral to enterprises, including the self-employed, on payments of provisional tax, employee taxes, maternity fund payments and social security contributions and VAT falling due in March and April 2020. Applications in this regard are up and are to be submitted by the 15th of April 2020.

Despite the above, tax forms should be submitted according to normal deadlines.

An extension of up to €900 million in bank guarantees for companies requesting operational loans with low interest rates and longer repayment periods.

Three-month moratoriums from banks for business or personal loans will also be granted. Persons are to get in contact with their personal banks in this regard.

Rent subsidies or increased rent subsidies to employees who lose their job and have rent to pay.

 

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