Ljubljana – With Slovenia in its second lockdown this year, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) said on Friday the economy will need additional aid to help companies and individuals hit by the crisis. The chamber came up with 11 proposals, among them a two-year freeze of the minimum wage.
The GZS proposes that the next anti-crisis legislative package institute a two-year postponement of the minimum wage act, which is to become effective on 1 January. GZS projections suggest the minimum wage would rise by at least 9% based on the new formula that puts it 20% above the minimum cost of living.
The chamber also wants changes to the existing loan guarantee scheme, including higher loan caps and simpler application procedures for loans of up to EUR 1 million, among other things.
The GZS would also like to see subsidies to cover fixed expenses of companies hit by the crisis. The covering of expenses should be proportionate to the drop in revenue. For example companies whose revenue dropped by more than 80% should be eligible to 80% coverage.
The chamber also wants grants to strengthen companies’ R&D departments so as to avoid these shutting down, as was the case following the 2008 crisis.
Moreover, the GZS wants companies unable to operate due to government-imposed restrictions to be eligible to 100% subsidies for pay of furloughed workers, while currently the subsidies cover 80% of pay.
The chamber also proposes that sick-leave payments be covered in their entirety by the health care purse, which in turn should be reimbursed for the additional cost from the state budget.
Moreover, companies which are too successful at the end of the year to be eligible for the furlough scheme and would have to repay the money should be able to invest the money in R&D instead of repaying it to the state.
The GZS also wants the government to extend the validity of work permits of foreign workers. Moreover, companies should not have to pay taxes on energy and fuel they did not take over due to the pandemic.
The chamber also proposes special compensation for passenger transport operators.