Ljubljana – The new economic stimulus package, the seventh drawn up by this government, will provide additional aid to business with measures including a freeze of the minimum wage and higher compensation for fixed costs for certain industries. It also provides for the co-financing of rapid tests for companies, according to a blueprint seen by the STA.
The government proposes that the minimum wage not increase on 1 January as envisaged by the current legislation. A new formula for calculating minimum wage would be put in place on 1 April, and until September the state would cover the increase from public funds.
The minimum wage freeze has been one of the key demands of employers, who have warned that the scheduled increase could be devastating for some businesses in the current circumstances. Trade unions have been opposed to this move with the argument that after helping businesses, it is time for the state to help workers as well.
Another major provision is the doubling of the amount of compensation for fixed costs that a company is eligible for. The tourism and catering sector would thus be entitled to compensation equalling EUR 2,000 per month per employee in the event their revenue declined by more than 70%.
Rent waivers have already been put in place for companies that rent space from the state or local communities. Now, to help companies that rent real estate from other lessors, new rules will be put in place making it easier to defer rent, rescind the lease or extend the contract.
Companies will not be required to file for insolvency when their insolvency is a consequence of the epidemic, and companies which have received aid but do not fulfil eligibility criteria will be allowed to return the funds in six instalments.
There will be special aid for the transport sector, including an extension of existing instruments for companies in the road passenger transport segment until March or the end of the epidemic, whichever comes first. Road hauliers as well as tourism companies will be entitled to favourable loans from the state-owned SID Banka.
To allow the meetings industry to start working, the law would specify that participation in events would be possible assuming all participants are tested. The state would also finance rapid tests at companies regardless of industry, at up to EUR 40 per employee.
Additionally, the legislation will put in place the legal basis for voluntary mass testing, and it stipulates that all Slovenian residents should have access to coronavirus vaccination by the end of next year.
One-off income support is planned for pensioners ranging from EUR 130 to EUR 300 depending on their pensions. Families with the lowest income will get a one-off payment of EUR 50 per child.
From October and until the end of the epidemic, religious workers will be entitled to a basic income of EUR 700 per month, the same amount they received during the first wave of the epidemic in spring.
The financing of social security contributions for religious workers would be equalised with that of self-employed cultural workers permanently.
To reduce youth unemployment, the bill stipulates that workers aged 65 or more who have more than 40 years of pensionable service must retire; under current legislation, it is almost impossible to force anyone to retire if they do not wish to do that.
Several corrections of existing stimulus legislation are planned as well, most having to do with bureaucratic procedures.