RIGA - Provided that they meet certain criteria, employees in all sectors and branches of the economy will be eligible for downtime pay, according to regulations on Covid-19-affected businesses, drafted by the Economics Ministry and adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on Thursday.
It is not clear yet how many companies are planning to seek downtime pay for their employees idled by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, the government decided to initially disburse the downtime pay to some 73,000 employees working in the directly affected sectors, including transport and logistics, hospitality, tourism and creative industries. Employees in these sectors will receive 75 percent of their salaries but no more than EUR 700 per month in downtime pay. The support measure is expected to cost the government budget up to EUR 102 million.
Today, however, the government decided to expand the range of industries eligible to the downtime support and to allow companies to postpone their outstanding tax payments for up to three years. Today's decision revokes the regulation adopted on Tuesday on the branches most affected by Covid-19.
Under one of the new provisions, downtime pay will be granted to businesses whose monthly turnover in March or April 2020 has contracted by at least 30 percent on year.
As reported, up to 150,000 workers could be eligible for downtime pay during the period of the Covid-19 crisis, Finance Minister Janis Reirs (New Unity) told Delfi TV last week.
To apply for the downtime pay for March 14-31, Covid-19-affected enterprises have to file their applications with the State Revenue Service by April 25. After that, they will have until the 25th day of the following month to apply for an extension.