COVID 19-measures in the Netherlands: NOW-scheme 2.0
COVID 19-measures in the Netherlands: NOW-scheme 2.0The temporary emergency measure under which a subsidy can be granted towards wage costs (NOW scheme) has been extended. The extended scheme (NOW 2.0) differs from NOW 1.0 in a number of points.
Ingmar Pondes
Ingmar Pondes

Managing partner | Tax advisor
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Sanne Freriks
Sanne Freriks

Senior Legal Expert
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COVID 19-measures in the Netherlands: NOW-scheme 2.0

28-7-2020

The temporary emergency measure under which a subsidy can be granted towards wage costs (NOW scheme) has been extended. The extended scheme (NOW 2.0) differs from NOW 1.0 in a number of points.

For NOW 2.0 it is still the case that companies with at least twenty percent loss of turnover can receive a subsidy of up to ninety percent of their wage costs, in proportion to their loss of turnover. NOW will be extended for a period of four months, so that a subsidy of the wage bill can be applied for the period from June to September 2020. This is one month longer than NOW 1.0.

The application for the subsidy can be submitted from 6 July to 31 August 2020. UWV has 13 weeks to decide on your application and pay you an advance of 80% of the subsidy.

In the following, we explain the most important points from the NOW 2.0 scheme.

Turnover

The condition of a decrease in turnover of at least 20% remains unchanged. For NOW 2.0, a choice must again be made for the period of the decline in turnover. For NOW 2.0 a four-month period applies, which can start on 1 June, 1 July or 1 August 2020.

The decrease in turnover must be calculated as follows: Divide the total turnover of 2019 by three and compare this turnover with the expected turnover in the selected four-month period in 2020. If you have applied for the NOW 1.0, the four-month period to be selected must immediately follow the selected three-month period of the NOW 1.0. Unless you revoke the NOW 1.0, in which case you can freely select the four-month period.

Note: The subsidy for fixed costs ("Tegemoetkoming voor vaste lasten", "TVL", see below) must (unlike the TOGS in NOW 1.0) be counted as turnover when determining the percentage decrease in turnover.

Wage total

The reference month for the subsidy level is the wage bill of March 2020. If the wage bill for March is not known, the wage bill for November 2019 is used. The wage bill for the reference month is compared with the wage bill for the four-month period from 1 June to 30 September 2020.

Surcharge for employer costs

The NOW 1.0 takes into account a 30% surcharge for employer costs, in addition to the amount of the wage bill. This supplement is increased to 40% in NOW 2.0. From 1 June 2020, the supplement will therefore be based on 140% of the wage total.

Additional conditions

  • If you (or the group of companies as a whole) receive a grant advance of €100,000 or more, or the grant is fixed at €125,000 or more, you must declare that you will not pay dividends, distribute bonuses (including profit sharing) to the Board of Directors or buy back your own shares. This condition applies to the year 2020 and up to and including the date of the meeting at which the 2021 financial statements are adopted.
  • You must declare that you will not submit an application for dismissal for economic reasons in the period from 1 June to 30 September 2020. If you do submit such an application, there will be a discount on the subsidy amounting to 100% (instead of 150%) of the employee's SI wage that is proposed for dismissal.
    Please note that the regular protection against dismissal and the obligation to pay the statutory severance pay will continue to apply.
  • If you report for the Mass Dismissal Act (WMCO) in the period from 30 May to 30 September 2020 and apply to dismiss 20 or more employees per WMCO work area, then in addition to the regular 100% reduction, the final total allowance will be reduced by a further 5%. The grant amount will not be reduced by 5% if you have reached an agreement with the unions involved, a staff committee or the employees or (if no agreement has been reached) mediation between the parties has been requested. Mediation must then be requested from the Stichting van de Arbeid.
  • As an employer you must declare that you will make an effort to encourage employees to take part in development counselling or training. This additional/retraining is possible through the existing training and development funds and the "SLIM programme". In addition, the government provides an additional emergency fund: "NL continues to learn". With the help of this fund, employees will be able to take advantage of free online training and development advice from July onwards to help them adjust to the new economic situation.

Final determination of the subsidy

When applying for the subsidy, you must submit an auditor's report if you have received an advance payment of €100,000 or more or if the total subsidy is €125,000. If you have received an advance payment of €20,000 or more, or if the total subsidy is €25,000 or more, you must submit an expert third party report. If you are below this threshold, you do not need to submit a declaration.

The final determination of the NOW 1.0 grant can be applied for from 7 October 2020. If an auditor's report must be submitted, you must submit the application within 38 weeks of 7 October 2020. If you have to submit an expert third party report, this deadline is 24 weeks.

For NOW 2.0 this can be requested from 15 November 2020. If you have to submit an auditor's report, you have 38 weeks after 15 November 2020 to do so. If the selected turnover period ends after 15 November, you must submit the application within 38 weeks of the end of the turnover period. In case of a third party expert opinion, this period is 24 weeks.

It is possible to submit the application for the determination of the subsidy for NOW 1.0 and NOW 2.0 simultaneously after 15 November 2020. After your application for a final decision, the UWV has 52 weeks to decide on your application.

Finally

For the sake of completeness: After submitting the NOW application (both 1.0 and 2.0), you as an employer are subject to a number of additional conditions. To prevent these from being forgotten after you have submitted your application, they are listed below:

  • The aim is to ensure that the wage total in the months June to September 2020 is not lower than in March 2020. A decreasing wage total results in a significantly(!) lower subsidy. Therefore, regardless of the type of contract, keep the employees employed as far as possible and continue to pay them their wages. If this does not succeed, consider that the subsidy will be partially reduced and reserve at least part of it, as there is a possible repayment obligation later. The bottom line is that you will always save money by keeping your wage bill as low as possible, because never 100% is compensated, but you can continue to pay the employees their full salary relatively cheaply.
  • Use the allowance only to pay the wage costs.
  • Inform your works council, employee representatives or employees about the allowance.
  • Keep records so that UWV can check that you meet all the conditions for the allowance. Keep these records for 5 years after the subsidy has been set.
  • Keep the income tax return on time.
  • Inform UWV if there are circumstances that affect the subsidy, for example, if the company ceases operations.
  • Cooperate with the UWV investigation if this is necessary to make a decision on the subsidy. The UWV can conduct an investigation up to 5 years after the grant has been determined.

Do you have questions about the NOW-scheme 2.0 or would you like support with the application? Feel free to contact our legal advisors or your regular contact person if we can assist you with your application.

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