The Slovenia Times

Over EUR 6bn pledged for anti-coronavirus measures


With the first stimulus package, passed in parliament on 2 April, the government wanted to prevent the situation from worsening at the outbreak of the epidemic.

It took measures worth around EUR 3 billion to help companies and households, and at the end of April made some corrections to cover more groups.

The centrepiece of the first emergency law were subsidies for idled workers corresponding to 80% of their wage plus payment of social security contributions.

The same measure applied to parents who stay at home because they have no daycare for their children as kindergartens and schools closed on 16 March.

The state also pays pension contributions for those who work during the epidemic, tasking employers to pay a EUR 200 crisis bonus to workers whose pay is below three minimum wages.

The law also brought a special bonus for public sector employees working in hazardous conditions, such as healthcare staff, Civil Protection members, etc.

The self-employed, religious workers and farmers are entitled to a monthly "basic income" plus exemption of payment of social security contributions from March to May.

One-off allowances was also given to pensioners, students, disabled unemployed persons, foster parents, disabled, ect.

Changes to the first emergency law brought a crisis unemployment benefit of some EUR 400 net for those who would not be eligble to it under unemployment legislation.

The second anti-coronavirus package, adopted together with changes to the first one on 28 April, brought a EUR 2 billion liquidity scheme under which businesses can obtain a state guarantee for 60-70% of a loan's principal.

Next week, however, the National Assembly will read the third stimulus package, a kind of an exit strategy valued at EUR 1 billion.

The main measure is a short-work subsidies scheme under which the government will provide funds to employers to pay partly idled workers a wage compensation, but only from five to 20 hours a week. The subsidy will amount to EUR 448.

Firms set up before 13 March 2020 that will be unable to provide at least 90% of the workload for at least 10% of their workers will be eligible.

Wage compensation for idled workers, the measures from the first package, will meanwhile be extended by a month until the end of June for tourism and hospitality businesses. To be eligible, a company's revenue in 2020 must be by more than 10% lower due to the epidemic than it was in 2019.

Another measures to help the tourism and hospitality sectors survive are tourist vouchers for those with permanent residence in Slovenia to spend on accommodation in Slovenia until the end of 2020. Those 18 years of age will get a EUR 200 voucher, while minors will receive EUR 50 vouchers.

The third package also brings a number of other measures, such as financial incentives (grants and loans), and relaxed terms to obtain an incentive for an investment.

Financial engineering measures are planned to finance companies in the road transport industry, and financial aid to help managers of ski lifts.

Several measures to encourage agriculture and to cover the losses in healthcare are also featured in the bill.

While generally welcomed, the bill has been met with criticism from hauliers, who are threatening with protest, the car industry, as well as culture and media workers.

Despite the focus on tourism, it has also drawn criticism from tourism companies, which believe the wage compensation scheme for idled workers should be extended until the end of the year, not just June.


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