The government has adopted a new stimulus package meant mitigate the impact of coronavirus. It upgraded some of the initial measures supporting companies and expanded them to the self-employed, pensioners and other vulnerable groups.
While upgrading support measures for companies like pay compensation for temporary lay-offs, tax and loan payment deferrals and adding things like loan guarantees and financing of social contributions, the scheme has been expanded to also include temporary basic income for the self-employed and allowances for pensioners, large families and students.
A notable upgrade of the support scheme for companies, originally adopted on 20 March, is the decision that the state cover the entire pay compensation, meaning 80% of the wage, secured to temporary redundant workers. The original measure had employers covering 60% of this sum and the state 40%.
Moreover, for two months the state will cover all social contributions for workers who continue working, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the press on Sunday.
Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj elaborated on the loan guarantees scheme, explaining the total amount to be provided for companies affected by the crisis is EUR 200 million, a figure he said also took into account the fact banks' loan portfolios had been cleaned up a few years ago.
"We expect banks will get actively involved in the salvaging of the economy and of the population, especially when it comes to lending," he added.
Meanwhile, the temporary basic income scheme provides the self-employed with EUR 350 for March if they prove at least a 25% drop in income over February and EUR 700 in April and May if their income is down at least 50%. The state will moreover cover all social contributions, also an upgrade of what was initially conceived as a deferral.
What is more, a one-off allowance of EUR 150 will be secured for all students, families with three children will get an additional one-off allowance of EUR 100 and those with four or more EUR 200.
Pensioners getting less than EUR 700 can expect a one-off bonus of between 130 and 300 euros, while an extra EUR 150 will also be secured once to welfare recipients.
Pay bonuses of up to EUR 200 are envisaged for workers in the private sector who are disproportionately exposed and are working overtime during the epidemic. The funds will be provided by employers, who will however be exempt from pension contribution payments.
Moreover, sick pay of all those who fall ill during the crisis will be fully covered by the public health insurance rather than employers having to cover the first 30 working days of absence. Unemployment benefits will automatically kick in on the first day of unemployment.
The package moreover envisages a special set of measures dedicated to farmers, with financial aid, direct transfers and cancelled contributions planned for farmers who may contract coronavirus. The three-month temporary basic income aid also applies for farmers.
The list of measures, which are presently meant to be in place until 31 May, involves some saving efforts as well, including a 30% pay cut for holders of public office and a 30% cut in fees for members of supervisory boards in state-owned companies.
While the judiciary will be exempted under a Constitutional Court ruling on the matter, Prime Minister Janez Janša has called on decision-makers there to voluntarily join the effort.