Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance Zeta Emilianidou announced Thursday new measures to support businesses, employees and the unemployed, following the imposition of new restrictive measures by Cyprus Government to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease.
The Minister of Labour said at a press conference that the new special schemes will provide support to more than 60,000 employees, but also to a significant number of unemployed in the coming months, with a total cost of about 130 to 150 million euros.
Employees are set to be supported up to 60% of their gross earnings, with a maximum of € 1,214 on a monthly basis and a minimum of €360. Furthermore, for the participation of employers who are not under full suspension of operations, it is necessary to prove that there is a real decrease in their turnover compared to the corresponding period last year, which exceeds 40%.
A prerequisite for participation of any employer is not to dismiss any staff.
The new schemes, the Minister said, concern three areas.
The first area concerns the support to the Tourism Industry and Businesses / Employees Related to the Tourism Industry, with two new schemes covering th period from 1 November 2020 until 31 March 2021.
The second area concerns the support of companies and employees who are under full suspension of operations or associated with companies that are under mandatory suspension of operations, based on the Decrees issued by the Minister of Health as well as related companies. For this purpose, two additional special plans will be implemented for the period from 1 November 2020 until the period of validity of the Decrees of the Minister of Health.
The third area concerns the support of companies / employees of certain economic activities that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
The Minister noted that all the above special schemes include provisions for subsidizing 100% employees of small companies that employ up to 3 employees.
The Minister also said that the payment of the special unemployment benefit was extended to cover additional two months.
It was also decided to continue supporting certain categories of self-employed who are significantly affected by the pandemic, such as photographers, taxi drivers, hotel workers and other categories, provided that their turnover is reduced by more than 40% compared to the same period last year.
For employees of the private sector who fall into the vulnerable groups based on the relevant Decree of the Minister of Health and their employer is unable to implement the recommendations of the Minister of Health regarding working conditions, a sickness benefit will be provided for as long as required by the relevant Decrees.
The Minister expressed also the view that due to the new and older support schemes by the Government, the percentage of unemployment in Cyprus will not increase significantly.
Since March 2020 the total amount of 530 million euros has been allocated to employees and businesses through the special plans implemented by the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance.