Saturday 18 September 2021

New round of company support will be more flexible: FD

Closed cafes in Amsterdam. Photo:

The second round of support for companies hit by the coronavirus crisis will involve more tailor-made solutions, sources have told the Financieele Dagblad.

Ministers have been talking to employers and unions to thrash out the new agreement for several weeks and clarity is due next week, the paper said. The current package expires at the end of May.

The four coalition parties are known to want more support for sectors which have been hardest hit – hospitality, events and the fitness sector – the FD said. The two Christian parties in the cabinet also back more of a focus on paying fixed costs than wages.

Ministers have already said retraining will have an important role, as will the ban on dividends and bonuses. Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has also confirmed that companies which qualify for support will not be fined if they do go on to sack staff.

Despite union opposition, employers organisations say that companies needing to restructure must have this option available. ‘We do not want to lose all the jobs because companies cannot take action,’ D66 MP Steven van Weyenberg told the paper.

Pay back

Meanwhile, the FD reports that companies which have applied for help in paying staff wages under the NOW scheme could end up paying some of the money back – if they paid workers a 13th month or other incidental bonus in January.

Tax experts from KPMG Meijburg & Co have warned that the NOW payments are based on January’s wages, and if these have been inflated by one-offs, officials can ask for the money back.

Most 13th month payments, however, are made in December.

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