Late Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Robert Abela unveiled a new economic aid package to the tune of €70 million a month, after agreement was reached with various unions and employers’ associations.
The measures in this financial package are aimed at keeping businesses alive, geared and ready for a quick re-start once the crisis passes.
The improved package involves direct aid that will see government finance the wages of a full five-day workweek for all workers and self-employed in those sectors hardest hit by this outbreak. The aid will cover a minimum of €800 per month, with employers agreeing to fork out the remaining wage balance up to €400 per employee per month. Objections by employers that cannot afford the top-up will be examined on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Labour.
The measure also applies to part-time employees prorate up to a maximum of €500 per month.
These critical sectors include certain wholesale and retail, accommodation, food and beverage, vehicle rentals, travel agencies, transport operators, employment services, security services, creative, arts and entertainment activities, and other personal services such as barbers, beauticians and hairdressers. All activities hit by forced closure as a result of public health measures will benefit from this scheme.
This measure will cost government €44 million per month and is expected to benefit around 60,000 workers.
A second measure targets companies and sectors hit by reduced consumption. This measure will see government finance one day per week in wages, based on a monthly pay of €800. The cover may increase to two days over time. Gozitan companies and the self-employed will have two days covered immediately.
The companies in this category include those in manufacturing, some retail outlets, warehousing and information services.
This measure will impact around 50,000 employees and will cost government €17 million per month.
These incentives will apply retroactively from the 9th of March.
This second financial aid package builds on a previous €1.8 billion package announced last week. Prime Minister Abela said that the package being unveiled enhances the measures already in place, whilst he insisted that this does not exclude further measures being introduced in the future.
All measures targeting businesses will be administered by Malta Enterprise. Full information can be obtained from Malta Enterprise’s website which will be updated accordingly.
Malta Enterprise has released two lists with details of the sectors that are to benefit from these incentives.
Annex A covers those sectors that will benefit from the full five-day week government wage payment at €800 per month per employee. This includes those sectors hardest hit by the crisis.
Annex B lists those sectors that will benefit from one/two day per week government wage payment based on a monthly €800. This measure is for sectors that are experiencing a lesser impact than those mentioned in Annex A.