Late surge in claims for coronavirus wage support brings total to 77,000

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

Some 5,000 entrepreneurs put in a last minute claim for wage support at the weekend, bringing the total for the latest round of coronavirus funding to 77,000.

Entrepreneurs had until Sunday night to claim the NOW wage support package, which covers the period between January and April.

The number of claimants was slightly down on the previous round which saw 81,000 entrepreneurs apply for funding. The first round attracted over 140,000 claimants.

The measure, which is designed to prevent large-scale job losses, has now been in place for almost a year but is not without its problems.

An increasing number of businesses have received demands from the UWV employee insurance agency, which administrates the measure, to pay back part or all of the advance they have received.

The money paid out is based on estimated turnover and wage costs which are then offset against the actual amounts. This means businesses are either entitled to more of have to return (part of) the support.

Some 20,000 businesses have already been told they must pay although many more demands are in the pipeline. The UWV is starting its calculations over the June to September round on Monday but has yet to process tens of thousands of businesses form the first round.

Retailers umbrella organisation INretail said the UWV has been far too rigid in its final calculations. A spokesman told broadcaster NOS: ‘It’s very sad that no allowances are being made for exceptional cases.’

The spokesman blamed not the UWV staff who ‘are fed up with fobbing off entrepreneurs with a ruling they don’t support’, but social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees who ‘keeps repeating that there is no room for a tailor-made approach forgetting that processing appeals also takes time.’

Some 4,000 entrepreneurs have signed up for the payment scheme the UWV offers to businesses who have been paid too much.

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