The wage subsidy in the third support package that will take effect on 1 October will be slightly adjusted. In the so-called NOW 3 scheme, employers are encouraged to help find a new job if they fire someone. If an employer fails to do this, a 5 percent fine will follow the NOW benefit.
Minister Wouter Koolmees (Social Affairs) wrote this to the Lower House on Wednesday.
The cabinet was urged by PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher to give a job guarantee to employees who lose their job at a company that receives state aid.
There is no guarantee that the cabinet went too far. This is now replaced by a “best efforts obligation” for employers to guide dismissed personnel to other work.
An employer who in one way or another makes use of state aid and yet fires someone, must contact the benefits agency UWV to make arrangements about guidance towards other work.
According to Asscher, the employer knows much better what the talents and possibilities of an employee are than, for example, the UWV.
If the employer does not contact the UWV, a fine of 5 percent will follow on the NOW benefit. The dismissal fine from the first two aid packages will disappear.
Companies are given room to restructure
Koolmees gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to “restructure” because the economy is simply changing, without this having any effect on the level of state aid. This can be done through lower wages, for example.
“In this way, companies and employees have the opportunity to prepare for the new economic situation together: after all, not all employment can be maintained”, Koolmees writes.
Phasing out and bonus ban will remain
What remains is that the NOW benefit will be phased out every three months. In the first two support packages, employers could get back up to 90 percent of the wage costs, in the latest package that percentage is reduced in steps to a maximum of 60 percent.
At the same time, the eligibility threshold for NOW funding is being raised. Up to and including December, the turnover loss must be at least 20 percent to apply for wage subsidy, from January to June this will be at least 30 percent loss of turnover. According to the cabinet, companies must adapt to the new economic reality.
Finally, the prohibition on bonuses, dividends and the purchase of own shares remains in force. Employers must do everything in their power to strengthen their financial position in order to secure employment in their company and to build a buffer for the future, says Koolmees.
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