Ministers are working on a third package of support to shore up companies hit by the coronavirus crisis, but the terms are likely to be tougher than in the previous two deals, the AD and Telegraaf said on Wednesday.
Government insiders told the papers that the threshold for receiving help in paying wages will go up from a minimum of a 20% downturn in turnover to 30%. At the same time, the sources suggest, companies will only be able to claim 60% to 80% of wages from the state, compared with 90% in the current NOW scheme.
However, the papers say, the third support package is expected to last longer than the previous two, which ran for three and four months respectively. Ministers, unions and employers support an arrangement which will run to next summer, the Telegraaf reported.
‘There will be a stricter division,’ one source told the paper. ‘You can’t keep every company up and running and some will fold.’
Another source said: ‘The wage support provided by NOW will not be for everyone, only for sectors which are really suffering. The cabinet’s emphasis is switching from protecting jobs to protecting companies.’
The AD also suggests that the Tozo scheme for freelancers who earn less than the welfare minimum due to coronavirus will be extended in some form, as will TVL grants, which allow companies to claim help in paying for fixed costs.
Employers and unions
Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees and economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes are meeting unions and employers for talks about the third round of support on Wednesday. And the issue will also have a central role in the ongoing discussions about next year’s spending plans.
Everyone involved in the talks is well aware that reducing the scope of government support will lead to redundancies. At the same time, they are still struggling with ideas to ensure that people are helped find a new job quickly, another source told the Telegraaf.
The first two government packages have cost the treasury €20bn and €13bn respectively.