RIGA - Approximately EUR 130 million will be paid out to 465,000 workers in downtime benefits, according to provisional calculations by the Ministry of Economics (EM).
The ministry, citing data from the State Revenue Service, indicated that more than 52,000 companies, employing a total of 465,000 employees, could qualify to receive the benefits.
"Assuming that in the most pessimistic scenario the downtime allowance would be claimed by all employees in approximately 20% of businesses in the country, with the average monthly payment at around EUR 700 per worker, the monthly downtime benefit cost will be at approximately EUR 65.1 million," the ministry said.
Thus, since it is expected that the state of emergency will be in place at least until May 14, these downtime benefits will be paid out to workers for two months and the total will reach EUR 130.2 million.
As reported, 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.
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.
Yesterday, 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. Yesterday'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.