12th April 2020, Skopje – The measure Denar 14,500 per employee is a financial support to inject liquidity for the companies affected by the Coronavirus crisis and assist them in paying the wages. The measure can be applied for by the companies so as to keep the current wages of the employees going to work, to cover all or most of the costs related to the wages of the employees who do not go to work due to the crisis. The measure can be also used in combination with the measures for payment of minimum wage and the wage increase subsidy. At a press conference, the Minister of Finance Nina Angelovska presented the details of the measure and how to apply for it.

– There are companies trying to cope with the crisis, they operate, however, they face 30%, 40%, 50% decline in their income. The purpose of this support is to enable the companies keep their employees despite the workload decline and to be able to keep the wages or at least to keep them at a descent level with this support. Thus, if they pay, for instance, gross wage of Denar 30,000, they can cover half of it through this measure with the support they will use.  There are companies with ZERO income, such as the employers in the hospitality industry, which I took as an example for explanation purposes. Due to a force majeure, they let their employees home with 50% wage. Their net wage amounts between Denar 18,000 to Denar 20,000. In case they pay Denar 9,000 or Denar 10,000 per employee, by using this measure, they will cover the whole gross wage, if the net wage is Denar 9,000 or, if the net wage is Denar 10,000, they will have to additionally pay around Denar 1,000. What is important to take into account is that this measure can be combined with the wage increase subsidy, which is used by 26,000 companies for around 14,000 employees, Angelovska said.

The Minister pointed out that through this measure the workers were provided certainty that they would keep their jobs even after the crisis.

– Indeed, they might be paid less than usual, depending in which sector they work, depending on the possibilities of the employer, but on the other hand, their expenses are reduced, most of the employees are at home – they do not go to work or they work part-time, those who have loans will not pay them during this period, and when the crisis is over, they can go back to their jobs and continue to earn, Angelovska said.

She added that the measure was intended for each company facing income decline of at least 30% in April and May compared to the monthly average in 2019 or compared to the monthly average since the establishment of the company – companies registered after March 2019 or compared to the seasonal average in the last 4 months in relation to the seasonal average in the previous year – for the companies performing specific seasonal activities.  Companies are not to pay dividends, bonuses, annual rewards, performance bonuses throughout the duration of the measure and the average of the highest net wage of 10% of the employees not to exceed Denar 120,000 per employee.

Angelovska said that the measure could be used for all employees, except for those receiving wage higher than Denar 39,900, those for which the exemption from payment of social contributions was used under the “Macedonia Employs” Project and if the employer used the measure for subsidizing 50% of the contributions under the first set of economic measures, which was an alternative to the this measure. 

– Since there were certain dilemmas in the public, I would like to give some clarifications about the adjustments made to this measure. The adjustments were made so it could have greater coverage, i.e. all companies using the wage increase subsidy from Denar 600 to Denar 6,000 for the employees to be able to apply for this measure. This measure can be also used by managers and owners of micro and small-sized enterprises, their employees, regardless of the financial performance declared for the previous year, Angelovska said.

As regards the manner of applying for this measure, Angelovska said it was simple and easy and there was no need for engagement of consultants and burdensome procedures.

– First, an application is filled in on the fulfillment of the requirements by the 5th in the month for the previous month via the e-Tax system. PRO approves the completeness of the application within 3 days. Then the MPIN form (Monthly Calculation of Integrated Payment) is to be filled in, whereby code 619 (only if this measure is used) is entered in box 2.32 or code 621 is entered (if the wage increase subsidy is used at the same time).  The employer will receive the funds under the financial support on its transaction account by the 13th in the month.  The employer is to pay the wages for the previous month by the 15th in the current month, Angelovska said.

Finance Minister pointed out that the employer using the measure should keep the same number of employees by July 2020 (as of the month the employer received the financial support), thus this requirements was shortened by amending the Decree from 4 months to 2 months.  As regards the used funds, the employer using this measure is not to repay the funds to the state under this measure should the employer generate no profit in 2020.  With respect to the other employers, the repayment of the financial support is limited to up to 50% of the profit before tax increased by taxable expenditures.

– Under such limit, and considering the certainty of the expected financial performance, this will be an irreversible financial support, fully or to a certain degree, for most of the companies.  In addition, we are negotiating with the World Bank for a support for this measure, i.e. financing half of the projected amount for the measure with a World Bank loan. This would also mean technical support from the World Bank in implementing the measure. During the negotiations, we are also considering the possibility to loosen the mechanism for repayment of the funds by the companies that are to generate profit following the crisis, by introducing certain criteria. Once concrete results are available, the public will be informed thereof, Angelovska said.

She underlined that all information about the measure were available at the Government’s call center, as well as at the Ministry of Finance and the PRO.

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