Details of the five new targeted schemes to support employees, businesses and the unemployed have been published in the official gazette, only six days before the end of the month and expiration of the first phase of the schemes themselves, Demetra Landou reports for Phileleftheros.
A grey area in the schemes — estimated to cover 50,000 beneficiaries — remains whether a group of companies can apply to participate if one of its companies is in the tourist areas, she adds.
For the third scheme which excludes 35 economic activities, the ministry has published the codes of these sectors so that businessmen can take their decisions accordingly.
The first phase of the news schemes covers 18 days, from June 13. The government is expected to issue a new decree next week for phase two.
Still pending is a sample of the report that will be required from an auditor which will published in the next few days.
There are six main differences in the new schemes compared to those that have ended.
- Funds will henceforth be transferred to the employer. The special unemployment allowance will be paid to the company provided it submits online declaration EEA 12 with the bank account in which the money will be deposited as well as detailed list for every employee. The business is obliged to pay the corresponding amount to those who did not work as well as to those who did, covering in the latter case, the remainder of the salary. Previously the money was sent directly to the beneficiaries.
- Consent of employee: In the previous schemes, the employee who was to receive the special unemployment allowance agreed to work with the business covering the remainder of the salary. Now there is no such reference.
- Full payment of social insurance. Previously, in the case of companies where employees received part payment from the employer and part from the state, the employer paid the social insurance corresponding only to the amount paid by the employer. Now the employer will be obliged to pay social insurance for the full amount.
- Two applications: The scheme for the tourism sector refers to two applications. if a company during the period 13/6/2020 to 30/6/2020 remains closed for some of the days then it will have to submit two applications (ΕΕΑ.10 and ΕΕΑ.11) one for the period it is open and one for which it is closed.
- A basic requirement for hotels and tourist accommodation businesses participating in the scheme is to offer attractive offers for local tourism, in cooperation with the deputy ministry of tourism. This will be reviewed by the deputy ministry throughout the duration of the scheme, irrespective of when the special allowance is paid.
- Businesses can enter the special schemes provided there is a report from an auditor
Checks and penalties
The schemes have safeguard clauses and provide for strict penalties against abuse, Initially, the Labour Ministry will be authorised to verify in cooperation with other bodies of the Republic or from abroad and with organisations, bodies and businesses the information included in the application it considers essential to examine the application and pay the allowance.
Every business which applies to participate must keep on file for at least two years every relevant document etc as regards the conditions for the schemes and must present them on request by any authorised official.
In the event of a conviction of supplying false information the penalty is a fine of up to €40,000 and/or two years in jail.
Any sum paid to any individual later found not to qualify is considered a debt to the Republic and can be set off with any future sum to be paid to the individual from social insurance or other state body or can be pursed as a debt for repayment. The above apply to any person who has obtained any amount under false pretenses.
The conditions for the special allowance
The Labour Ministry’s decree sets the terms and conditions for the unemployed to join a special support scheme. Any person registered as unemployed and receiving unemployment benefit who has exhausted the right to the benefit from January or February or March or April or May or June 2020 can join the scheme. Beneficiaries must apply online on document ΕΕΑ.8. The allowance will be paid once the applicant completes ΕΕΑ.6 with their bank account details if this has not already been submitted and confirmed. The special allowance is €360 a month. It will not be paid for any period at which the unemployed person was receiving unemployment benefit, sick leave, maternity or paternity allowance, a state pension or any other allowance from the special schemes implemented by the Labour Ministry after June 13.
Beneficiaries of the minimum guaranteed income are eligible for the special scheme.