GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL SUPPORT PROGRAM FACING IMPACTS OF CORONAVIRUS & SUSPENSION OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS

Pafos Chamber is informing its members / businesses as well as any interested parties of the measures announced jointly on Sunday 16 March 2020 by H.E President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Nikos Anastasiadis together with the Ministers of Health, Finance, Labor and Welfare and Social Security. We would like to remind you that the Local Chambers of Commerce have transmitted and assisted in the formulation of the above measures through the Cyprus Chamber and are in constant contact with the Government and the State to take additional action where appropriate.

The “Support Program” includes the following:

AID NETWORK PROTECTION OF WORKERS AND VULNERABLE GROUPS

  1. Granting ‘Special Leave’ to Parents Working in the Private Sector for the Care of Children up to 15 Years of Age (up to Third Grade of High School) due to Suspension of Attendance at Schools, Public and Private, at Nursery and Child Care Centres.

A “special permit”, which may last up to 4 weeks at this stage, and which does not include public holidays, will be granted the following allowance:

For a parent with a salary of up to € 2,500: for the first € 1,000 of the parent’s salary a ‘special leave’ allowance of 60% of the salary will be paid and for the subsequent € 1,000 of his / her salary, a 40 % allowance will be paid. It is noted that in the case of single parent families, the rate of payment of the benefit varies between 70% and 50% respectively. 

  • The license granted to one of the parents if one parent take the report under license, the other cannot receive the necessary authorization simultaneously. Also, if one parent is working / unemployment benefit / participate in Plan Suspend Operations and the other not, the working parent is not entitled to it, unless the parent who does not work is ill himself with the virus or been hospitalized or disabled person or is a person to compulsory confinement.
  • The reference under license to parents to care for children will be granted if the nature of their work does not allow telecommuting or working from home or work flexible hours and if no domestic help. The license granted in consultation with the employer, if a request is submitted.
  • This license applies to parents of persons with disabilities (regardless of age), provided that it is reserved for those persons care allowance.
  • The period of the special permit will be considered being equal period of insurance.
  • For public sector employees who are judged by the relevant ministers that have to go to work, but necessary to stay in the house for the care of children should in consultation with their Supervisor, to make arrangements for replacing them.
[1 month € 20m, potential beneficiaries 50,000 persons]
  1. Suspend Operations Plan.

In many businesses has today decided to suspend their work and many businesses will continue to operate and will suffer a decrease in turnover in excess of 25% applies Draft Suspension of business operations in order to avoid redundancies, while the affected workers They will receive unemployment benefits for as long as the company will be suspended operations. 

  1. Small Business Support Project, worth € 10m, for businesses that employ up to 5 people Provided that they retain their employees at work and have been reducing their turnover in excess of 25%. The Scheme provides for a grant of 70% of salary for workers. The conditions and safeguards of the plan will be announced in the invitation.
  1. Plan worker’s salaries in Evening Programs of the Ministry of Education:

bonus payment, which will equal pay, approximately 5000 persons employed in Afternoon and Evening Programs of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth (Music Schools, Sports Schools, State Education Institutes, Training Centers, optionally Day Schools, Evening and Evening programs Arts and the program “School and Social Integration Actions”) and other similar services of the Ministry of Education purchase plans. 

  1. Payment “sick pay” on average € 800 per month to:

ι.Workers experiencing particular health problems within the directory that has been prepared by the Ministry of Health, who must be absent from work for health protection purposes and not the worse. Condition the presentation of a certificate from their personal physician.

ιι.compulsory absence cases from work to persons with instructions or ordered by the Authorities (Division 1 [statutory limitation under medical monitoring (quarantine)] and Category 2 [Restrained under telephone surveillance]), provided that restricted workers hold a certificate issued by the Ministry of Health.

iii. Persons beyond the age of 63rd year until the age of 65 year, who do not receive a statutory pension and continue to work and which fall under the Categories and the Ministry of Health, provided that restricted workers hold a certificate issued by the Ministry of Health.

For purposes of enhancing the self-employed, sickness benefit will be paid as and employees, from the fourth day.

[For each 20,000 employees, 16m] 

  1. Extension of the time period for submission objections on social insurance for the self-employed for a month until April 30 2020 (ending March 31, 2020)
  1. Create mobile teams to serve the elderly and vulnerable, so you can get the goods they need. They will be asked help from Voluntary Organizations and Enterprises to achieve the objective.

Payment of benefits for those benefits will be by simplified and accelerated procedures. 

STRENGTHENING HEALTH SYSTEM

  1. Provision for strengthening the health sector with € 100m for combating pandemic if necessary, which will cover, inter alia:

– Employment additional medical, nursing and support staff and for more effective and more direct response to the work they are required to carry.

– Strengthening equipment and logistics

– Strengthening of the Institute of Neurology & Genetics, both in human resources and infrastructure

– Strengthening the Center Ambulance

– Strengthening of the Office 1420

[€ 100m]

  1. Failure to pay the additional levy in the GHS which is planned to 31.3.2020 for two months, from employers, employees and the state, to strengthen the health sector in the fight against virus and non-influencing workers’ incomes and business. Note that not affected the schedule for implementing the second phase of the GHS. In the event of an increased need for the implementation of the second phase of the GHS will be covered by the state [€ 98 millions]

BUSINESS SUPPORT AND STRENGTHENING OF LIQUIDITY AND ENHANCING INTERNAL CONSUMPTION 

  1. Temporary suspension for two months of VAT payment obligation for providing liquidity to businesses. Concerns companies, whose turnover was no higher than € 1 million under the tax returns filed in 2019 and undertakings whose cycle of work decreased more than 25%, without imposing any charges. Note that arrangements will be made so that the debts be paid gradually, until November 11th 2020. It concerns businesses

This measure will result in strengthening of liquidity in the period in which it is expected to face a liquidity problem.

  1. A temporary reduction of VAT from 19% to 17% for a period of two months and from 9% to 7% for a period of three and a half months, immediately after the enactment of legislation to strengthen the purchasing power of citizens and stimulate consumption.
  1. For the duration of the emergency facilities will make special arrangements for those who have joined the Project Arrears.
  1. Benefit Students stay abroad: A amount of € 750 allowance for expenses of students attending universities abroad will not return to Cyprus for the period of Easter holiday
  1. An extension for two months the requirement to lodge tax returns for those who were obliged to do so until 03/31/2020. (New deadline 05/31/2020)
  1. Suspension of guarantees retention requirement under state contracts and private commissions for services or products will be delayed because of the crisis. The measure has already been forwarded.
  1. Support for recovery of tourism. Additional credits € 11m for implementation support activities of the tourist arrivals to Cyprus, between June and September 2020, in collaboration with Airlines and Tour Operators, and measures to strengthen attracting tourists during the period October 2020- March 2021.
  1. Banking: The ECB has been studying measures to support bank lending. Under the new measures, the Cypriot financial institutions will be able to raise liquidity from the Eurosystem with significantly favorable terms. The measures decided by the ECB concerning inter alia the release of stocks of capital, which for the Cypriot systemic banks calculated from the CBC than € 1,3 billion. Moreover, the Central Bank of Cyprus is considering further local measures will be announced by the Governor of the Central Bank in the forthcoming period. 

OTHER MEASURES of PROTECTION OF CITIZENS

  1. Introduction Ceilings in personal hygiene products prices (masks, antiseptic, antibacterial liquid, soap, etc.) to address issues of profiteering.
  1. Necessary Personnel in Public Service:

The public service and the broader public sector and serving the educational service for the next month, from Tuesday 17/3/2020 will work:

  1. where possible from their home
  2. by security personnel for urgent matters and civil service for emergencies

The above arrangement excluding essential services. The competent ministers will determine the needs of the Ministry and their Departments for proper planning of the work.

Regarding the Educational Service, the Minister of Education and Culture is authorized to draw up the program for the educational needs for the duration of the non-operation of the public schools in order through the use of technology to address part of the educational program.

Regardless of what has been mentioned above, and to ensure timely and effective implementation of the measures announced, those serving in the public service, the public sector and the educational service will be required if not in a designated service or homework where invited to provide their services in other areas if deemed necessary.

Finally the Minister of Health by ministerial decree in accordance with a decision of the Cabinet, in a series of measures taken by the Government to protect public health and managing the impact of the epidemic of the coronavirus, explained that from March 16, 2020 from 6-00 am For a period of four weeks, the operation of the following companies compulsorily suspended:

  • Shopping centers and department stores,
  • Cafes, coffee shops, bars and all catering businesses with the exception of those that offer or have the potential to offer home delivery services,
  • nightclubs,
  • Cinemas, theaters and auditoria,
  • libraries,
  • Museums, archaeological and historic sites,
  • Lottery gaming, casino, etc.,
  • Sports facilities, sports clubs, cultural groups and clubs,
  • Theme parks (amusement park, etc.), and
  • Barbers, hairdressers, beauty-massage centers.

Provided that they receive compulsory and strictly observe hygiene rules, companies can perform  administrative or other tasks with close doors.

For health safety reasons and proper functioning of the community, open the following business categories remain:

  • food retail (eg supermarkets if you kept the measure of the presence in the same room at any time the number of people including workers, not more than one person per 8 sqm usable space)
  • pharmacies,
  • Private health services (clinical laboratories)
  • Street markets,
  • Furnaces and confectioneries (no banknote-seats),
  • Gas stations, and
  • Booths.

It clarified that retailers who do not fall into category suspend their operations can continue their work by ensuring that the workplace will be no more than five workers.

All other companies not-listed the above categories, can continue to operate as it will keep strict hygiene rules and the protection of staff and space.

In regard to the operation of hotels, they suspend their work until April 30th 2020. To serve their existing customers may continue to operate for a period of six days from now.

Regarding the public service companies from the private, public and parastatal noted that not strictly true that the presence of people in the service area should be more than one person per 8 square meters. Indicatively, public service area means the bank branches, Citizen Service Centers, the bill payment centers, and so on.

Finally, arrangements regarding public transportation will be announced the same day by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works.

 

Press office PCCI

16 | 03 | 20

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