COVID-19 – Additional support measures
As expected, the Government announced additional measures to alleviate the financial burden due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These additional measures follow the order of the Superintendent of Public Health to close non-essential businesses as from Monday 23 March 2020.
The Government will provide for a monthly subsidy to employers consisting of:
- €800 for each full time employee within the private sector who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers are expected to top up the remaining part of the monthly wage up to a maximum of €400 for each employee. Employers who are not in a position to pay the remaining wage must reach an agreement with the employees through the involvement of unions and the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations. Pro-rata subsidies are also available to part time workers with a maximum subsidy of €500 per month. The list of businesses that fall within this wage subsidy are listed here – Annex A.
- One day’s salary per month based on a monthly salary of €800 per employee for adversely affected businesses. Pro-rata subsidies are also available to part-time workers with a maximum subsidy of €100 per month. In the case of Gozo based businesses, this will increase to two days’ salary per week equivalent to €320 per month for full time employees, and €200 per month for part time employees. The list of businesses that fall within the ambit of this wage subsidy are listed here – Annex B.
The above measures apply also to self-employed persons working within the applicable sectors. All measures are subject to the approval of the Malta Enterprise.
Apart from the above, the Government will also be providing business guarantees from the National Development and Social Fund and EU funds for operational loans with low interest rates and longer repayment periods whilst commercial banks are processing a three-month moratorium on business or personal loans.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in various countries around the globe and Malta is no exception. The hit on the economy is expected to be significant given that one of the main drivers of the Maltese economy, tourism, is currently at a standstill and it is still unknown how long this situation will prevail.
Last week, the Government announced a Tax Deferral Scheme to postpone the payment of taxes payable in March and April 2020 by submitting an application before the 15 April 2020 to Malta Enterprise. The taxes due must however be paid within the end of August 2020. Whilst this may alleviate some of the cash burden on taxpayers and particularly employers for the months of March and April 2020, it is unlikely that businesses will be in a better cash position in the months to follow given the effects of this pandemic will continue to be felt for various months. Full details are available online. https://cfr.gov.mt/en/News/Pages/2020/Fiscal-Assistance-Postponement-of-Payment-of-Certain-Taxes.aspx
Following the closure of various outlets as well as a number of offices, various employers felt the need to strengthen their resources to ensure that their employees may continue working remotely. The Government recognised that this resulted in additional costs for employers and therefore Malta Enterprise launched a call under the Business Development and Continuity Scheme which may provide a cash grant of up to €500 per teleworking agreement with a limit of €4,000 per undertaking. The grant shall be awarded against 45% of the eligible cost which must be incurred after the 1st of March 2020. Applications must be submitted by 30 March 2020. Full details are available on https://www.maltaenterprise.com/sites/default/files/Call%20for%20the%20Facilitation%20of%20Teleworking%20Activities%2015-03-2020_0.pdf.
Earlier this month, the Government also announced the introduction of quarantine leave which adds additional paid leave days to the employee should mandatory quarantine be imposed on the employee. This adds to the financial burden most businesses are facing and therefore it was announced that a €350 cash grant will be given for each employee on Quarantine leave. An application for such grant is to be launched online through the Malta Enterprise website as from 25 March 2020.
The Malta Financial Services Authorities have informed regulated entities that they will consider extending the deadlines for the submission of regulatory reporting falling due in March and April 2020. This extension will be made by case by case basis and therefore regulated entities must contact the appropriate unit within the Authority to submit their request for an extension. Full details are available on https://www.mfsa.mt/news-item/mfsa-extends-regulatory-reporting-deadlines-for-firms-due-to-outbreak-of-covid-19/.
Malta Enterprise has extended the deadline for the submission of the Mirco Invest Applications for self-employed persons to 30 April 2020 due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19. Full details are available on https://www.maltaenterprise.com/extension-microinvest-submission-deadline-self-employed.
It is expected that other support measures will be announced in the coming weeks due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.