Corona virus in The Netherlands - Working time reduction

dinsdag 17 maart 2020

Nowadays many companies face extreme financial/economic difficulties, because of the corona crisis. Possibly you do not have enough work for your staff due to these exceptional circumstances.

To help companies, in the Netherlands special regulations exist, such as Working Time Reduction.

Companies who can state that business operations are declining by at least 20%, due to the coronavirus, may apply for a special permit from the Ministry of Social Affairs (SZW). This permit allows the company to introduce Working Time Reduction:

  • The company can unilaterally decrease the weekly working hours of employees for a period of 6 weeks. Consent of the employees is not needed.
  • The 6 weeks period can be extended for an additional 6 weeks, until a maximum of 24 weeks.
  • When the permit is in effect, during this 6 weeks period, the company will not pay out the employees’ salary, but (only) an advance payment of the employees’ unemployment benefit (WW). After lapse of the 6 weeks period, the company will be reimbursed by the Dutch Social Securities Authorities (UWV) for the hours not worked.
  • Payment during this 6 weeks period (and extended periods) amounts to 75% of the gross monthly salary for the first 2 months and 70% for the months thereafter. If the gross salary is higher than the state maximum wage, then the 75%-70% will be calculated over the state maximum wage (In January 2020: maximum daily gross wage € 219.28; maximum monthly gross wage € 4.769,34).
  • Be aware that the employment agreement, or applicable collective labour agreement may provide otherwise.
  • To apply for Working Time Reduction (unfortunately only in Dutch):
  • When after Working Time Reduction (maximum of 24 weeks), the corona crisis is over, the employees will be able to return to work.
  • If not, the company should start a redundancy process. Hopefully this will not be necessary.

Other corona crisis regulations

Deferral of payment for tax assessments

When a company experiences payment difficulties because of the corona crisis, it will be able to request a special deferral of payment from the Dutch Tax Authorities for all corporate tax, VAT, income tax and wage tax assessments. This possibility applies to all companies and entrepreneurs, including self-employed persons.

Specific conditions apply to obtaining a deferral of payment. Amongst others, the company needs a statement from an independent tax specialist.

SME credit guarantee scheme

The SME credit guarantee scheme has been extended (in Dutch: BMKB) to deal with the economic consequences of the corona virus. Companies may use the SME/BMKB scheme for a bridge

loan, or to increase the overdraft limit (red figure limit) on their current accounts. The guarantee covers up to 75% of the credit provided by the financing party.

Please see: https://business.gov.nl/the-coronavirus-and-your-company/

Pallas Attorneys-at-Law

Pallas Attorneys-at-Law can assist you with applying for Working Time Reduction, or answer questions regarding the interpretation or implementation of Working Time Reduction.

With regard to the other corona crisis regulations, Pallas Attorneys-at-Law can refer you to one of our specialized network partners.

 

If you have any questions, or if you need further information, please contact your lawyer with Pallas Attorneys-at-Law, or contact Alain Camonier on +31 20 470 93 64, or by e-mail: alain.camonier@pallas.nl