Companies which get help to pay wages, and sack staff, will face fines after all


Firms which get government support to help pay wages and then go on to sack at least 20 members of staff will have to pay a fine after all, sources have told broadcaster NOS.

The new measures to shore up industry against the impact of coronavirus, announced by ministers on May 20, removed the threat of a fine if companies let staff go, much to the fury of trade unions.

Now, NOS reports, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees will fine firms up to 5% of the total wage support they have received if more than 20 workers lose their jobs, as long as there is no agreement with the unions.

In addition, the new NOW support package is being extended to run to October 1, the sources said.

Companies will also be able to apply for up to €50,000 to pay fixed costs during the next four months, up from the €20,000 mooted on May 20 under the revamped TOGS scheme, NOS said. The exact amount will depend on how much turnover has gone down by.

The national statistics agency CBS said on Thursday around one in four small and medium-sized companies in the Netherlands had applied for the earlier €4,000 TOGS grant to help pay fixed costs by May 15.

Cafes and bars

Cafes, bars and restaurants accounted for the bulk of the claims, and 60% of hospitality industry firms with fewer than 250 workers have applied for help, the CBS said.

Nearly 200,000 claims for a grant under the TOGS scheme had asked for help by May 27.

MPs will debate the package of measures to help industry with ministers later on Thursday.

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