The Dutch government has had to implement drastic measures in connection with the outbreak of the COVID-19 Corona virus. Companies have closed in several sectors, which means that some work is no longer being carried out. Measures have been implemented not just in the Netherlands but also abroad, which have had an impact on business activities and employment in the Netherlands.
You have had until 17 March to apply for reduced-time working on behalf of your employees due to the reduction in work. That reduced-time working scheme did not account for the unprecedented reduction in work that has confronted Dutch companies and organisations as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 Corona virus. Therefore, on 17 March 2020, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment has decided to withdraw the reduced-time working scheme with immediate effect and no longer grant any exemptions. You can read more about this on this page.
Please note: this page has been updated at 09:00 hours on 19 March. Naturally, the facts and specific situation play major roles where they concern the formulation of correct answers to your questions. If you would like to be certain about which rules apply or what you should do in a specific situation within your organisation, please get in touch with us by using the contact details set out at the bottom of this page. We are pleased to help you!
The reduced-time working scheme (Dutch: werktijdverkorting) has been stopped as a ‘Corona measure’. Why has this scheme been cancelled?
- Over the past weeks, the outbreak of the Corona virus has resulted in unprecedented reliance on the reduced-time working scheme for employers.
- This scheme is not tailored to the drastic consequences of the Corona outbreak for Dutch companies and organisations. Therefore, the reduced-time working scheme has been withdrawn.
- The Dutch government wants to provide more employers with a financial allowance, and to accomplish this faster than the withdrawn reduced-time working scheme can allow. The government will accomplish this by way of the new allowance scheme.
What measure replaces it?
The government has introduced the Employment Bridging Emergency Fund (Dutch: NOW) as a temporary measure.
Can I still apply for reduced-time working?
No, this is no longer possible. Have you already submitted an application for reduced-time working? It will be considered as an application for the new allowance scheme. You will be asked to provide additional information, and you will be contacted further about this.
What does the new scheme involve?
The implementation of this scheme is currently being discussed with the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). The main features of this scheme are already known:
- A new scheme will be introduced separate from the prohibition on reduced-time working and the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW).
- As an employer, in this instance, you have the right to submit an application for a substantial allowance towards the wage costs and to receive an advance payment from UWV.
- This will allow you to continue to pay your employees who have fixed contracts as well as those with flexible contracts.
- The allowance can be applied for at least 3 months with the possibility for an extension of another 3 months, which may be subject to different conditions.
What conditions do I have to satisfy in order to qualify for an allowance towards the wage costs?
- As an entrepreneur, and in advance, you commit on your application that you will not apply for the dismissal of your employees on the basis of commercial reasons during the period in which you receive the allowance.
- You expect a loss of sales of at least 20%.
- The application applies to a period of 3 months, which may be extended one time by another 3 months. Further conditions may be imposed on the extension.
- The scheme pertains to sales decreases as of 1 March 2020.
The amount of the allowance towards the wage costs depends on the reduction in sales and is at most 90% of the wage bill.
Example 1: The allowance amounts to 90% of your wage bill if sales are reduced by 100%.
Example 2: The allowance amounts to 45% of your wage bill if sales are reduced by 50%.
Example 3: The allowance amounts to 22.5% of your wage bill if sales are reduced by 25%.
The UWV will provide an advance of 80% of the expected allowance based on your application. The actual decrease in sales will be determined at a later moment.
An auditor’s report is required for funding applications above a specific amount. We will discuss this with you and, if necessary, contact your relationship manager in regards to drawing up the audit report.
Even after the allowance has been determined definitively, an adjustment can still be made if there has been a decrease in the wage bill.
When will the new scheme enter into effect?
The Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure to Preserve Employment (NOW) will be made available as soon as possible. It is not known exactly when the new scheme will come into effect. Great efforts are being made to incorporate this measure, and its release date will be announced as soon as possible. The period for which you will be eligible for an allowance does not depend on this date. Sales losses as of 1 March are eligible for the allowance.
We will keep you informed about developments so that we can take action immediately at the moment more information becomes known, and prepare your application for submission.
Please note: from now on, you will no longer be able to submit applications for reduced-time working.
What should I do if I have already applied for reduced-time working?
Have you already submitted an application for reduced-time working and not yet been issued with a permit? Your application will be handled on the basis of the new scheme. If this is the case, you will have received an email message from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment .
If you have not yet submitted your application for reduced-time working, you will be required to submit the application on the basis of the new scheme.
When will my current reduced-time working scheme end? And if I have to extend, what will I need to do if a different scheme is introduced?
If you have already been awarded a permit under the reduced-time working scheme, your permit will remain in effect. You will be required to apply for the new scheme if you use the reduced-time working permit and you wish to renew it after it has expired.
What can HLB do for me?
If you would like to make use of the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure to Preserve Employment (NOW), you will have to submit an application to the UWV as soon as possible. We can do this for you if you so wish. Please reach out to us by using the contact details below. We are pleased to help you!