The Maltese Government has introduced a number of special measures and incentives comprising of a €1.8 million package aimed at assisting businesses with the inevitable negative financial impact which the COVID-19 crisis will bring about.
A. A number of significant economic measures have been introduced:
Broadly, the set of measures which have been introduced include €900 million in bank guarantees and soft loans to be made available to business, up to €700 million in tax deferrals (announced earlier this week) and €210 million in funds which will be disbursed in order to assist the economy and cover certain expenditure arising as a result of COVID-19.
In addition, it will be possible to request a moratorium of 3 months from both personal and business loans.
B. The main special measures relating to employment which have been introduced are the following:
(i) €350 grant per employee under quarantine will be granted to employers which have had to compensate employees for mandatory quarantine leave.
(ii) Those employees employed with businesses whose operations were suspended (e.g. hotel and accommodation industry, food and beverage, language schools and entertainment) will benefit from a grant of 2 days’ salary per week based on a salary cap of €800 per month.
(iii) The self-employed, who have also suffered a suspension of work in these industries, will also receive a grant equivalent to two days’ salary per week, based on the same salary capping of €800 euro per month.
For the self-employed who hire people, the employer will also get government coverage for three of five days’ salary per week, based on the same salary capping.
(iv) Employees with businesses who suffered a downturn in operations of at least 25% but remained in operation will benefit from a grant equivalent to 1 day’s salary per week, based on the same salary capping of €800 euro per month.
(v) Persons who had their full-time employment terminated as from 9th March 2020 will benefit from a special unemployment benefit of up to €800 per month on a temporary basis.
(vi) Individuals suffering from a disability who due to their medical condition were unable to continue working will also be entitled to a €800 per month grant for a period to be specified.
C. Additional measures were introduced specifically tackling the scenario related to the employment of third-country nationals, summarised below:
(i) Enterprises which terminate employees will not be allowed to employ third-country nationals.
(ii) No new third-country nationals worker applications will be accepted with the exception of highly skilled workers.
(iii) Third-country nationals in Malta who lose their job will be assisted to find employment with enterprises looking to employ.
D. Other general measures aimed at assisting struggling families have been introduced:
(i) Persons whose employment is terminated and who do not currently benefit from rent subsidies will now be entitled to such benefit. In case of individuals already benefiting from rent subsidy this will be increased (to an amount not specified).
(ii) Families with children who are in school where both parents work in the private sector and who are unable to work remotely and require additional leave in order to be able to care for their children in the period impacted by COVID-19 will be entitled to an €800 grant per month for a period of 2 months.
(iii) Jobsplus has launched a new service to assist Maltese residents whose employment has been terminated and third-country nationals whose employment has been terminated as well as to assist them with work permit queries. It will also assist employers seeking new recruits.
The conditions and details surrounding the implementation of each of these measures are still a work-in-progress. We will continue to provide immediate updates as soon as any clarifications or additional communications are made available.
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