Malta Enterprise has been inundated with requests for information following the announcement of two financial aid packages for businesses.

The agency says that hundreds of people have been trying to access a new dedicated website at any given time, and multiple calls are coming in every minute.

Although Prime Minister Robert Abela gave a vague list of which businesses would be eligible for the different schemes during his announcement on Tuesday, many are unsure if they can get their hands on the financial assistance or not. 

Here's a guide, based on the information available so far.  

What is the full wage supplement?

Full-time employees of businesses operating in drastically affected sectors or had to suspend operations after being instructed by the authorities, will be entitled to a monthly salary of €800. This doesn't mean everyone will actually receive €800, because it will only cover the days that businesses were impacted.

This includes all self-employed in the category.

Part-time employees will be eligible for up to €500 per month.

Am I eligible?

A list of the types of businesses that fall under this category is available here. The number beside each type of business is called a NACE code. Every registered business has one.  

What is the other wage supplement?

Full-time employees of businesses in other adversely affected sectors will be entitled to one day’s salary per week, equivalent to €160 per month.

Part-time employees will be eligible to one day’s salary per week, equivalent to €100 per month.

In the case of Gozo-based enterprises 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.

A list of eligible types of businesses is available here.  

What if I’m self employed?

In case of those self-employed in the ‘other’ adversely affected sectors that have employees, two-days’ salary per week equivalent to €320 per month will be provided.

Self-employed workers based in Gozo operating in the ‘other’ adversely affected sectors will be entitled to two days’ salary per week, equivalent to €320 per month. This will increase to three days salary, equivalent to €480, for those self-employed who employ staff, and the employees will be entitled to two days’ salary per week. 

When can I apply? 

Applications for wage supplements open on Monday March 30, 2020. 

Many shops have been asked to close, and people told to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo: Chris Sant FournierMany shops have been asked to close, and people told to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

What are the tax deferrals? 

A two-month deferral on provisional tax, VAT, and national insurance contribution on salaries has also been rolled out.
No interest or penalties will be charged and this will apply for taxes owed until the end of April. 

All tax forms should be submitted according to normal deadlines and while employees will still collect national insurance on their employees' wages they will hold on to these dues throughout the deferral.

The government will then decide on whether to extend the deferral at the end of the two-month window. 

Businesses who failed to meet their tax obligations due in December 2019 can't apply.

What are the social measures?

Parents who both work in the private sector, and who have decided that one should stay home to take care of school-aged children, will be entitled to a salary of €800 per month, provided that this person cannot enter into tele-working arrangements. 

This measure also applies to single-parent families who have school-aged children.

Apply through this form.

Employees who had their full-time employment terminated as of March 9 2020, as a result of the pandemic, will be eligible for an unemployment benefit of up to €800 monthly.

Apply for this through JobsPlus. 

The government will also increase rent subsidies for these individuals.

People with a disability who decided to stay home after March 8, 2020, due to the virus outbreak can benefit from €800 per month.

Apply for this measure online here.

What are the liquidity measures?

Some €900 million in bank guarantees for companies requesting operational loans with low-interest rates have been rolled out. 

These schemes will be financed by grants from the National Development and Social Fund and through targeted EU funds.

For further information, businesses have been directed to contact their bank.  

What is the tele-working aid?

The government said that this aid package will only be considered when a formal tele-working agreement is in place and connects to the workplace via a VPN or similar solution.

Support shall be limited to €500 per tele-working agreement and €4,000 per employer. 

The grant shall be awarded against 45 per cent of the eligible cost. This call is eligible for costs incurred between February 15 and May 8 2020. 

The application and claim form can be downloaded here and should be submitted by email on covid@maltaenterprise.com. 

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