COVID 19-measures in the Netherlands
COVID 19-measures in the NetherlandsNOW-scheme 3.0
Ingmar Pondes
Ingmar Pondes

Managing partner | Tax advisor
+31 (0)545 - 46 36 26

Sanne Freriks
Sanne Freriks

Senior Legal Expert
+31 (0)544 - 39 33 33

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COVID 19-measures in the Netherlands: NOW-scheme 3.0


The NOW 3.0 again concerns compensation for wage costs. The NOW 3.0 will apply (retroactively) from 1 October 2020 and consists of three periods:

  • period 1: 1 October 2020 until 28 February 2021
  • period 2: 1 January 2021 until 31 May 2021
  • period 3: 1 April 2021 until 31 August 2021

The periods are independent of each other, so you can decide for each period whether or not to apply. Even if you have not used the NOW 1.0 and/or the NOW 2.0, you can still submit an application for the NOW 3.0.

A number of conditions remain unchanged with respect to the NOW 2.0:

  • A minimum 20% drop in sales remains a requirement.
  • The fixed (lump-sum) surcharge for the employer's costs (such as holiday pay and pension contributions) remains 40%.
  • The maximum reimbursable wage per employee under NOW 3.0 will be the same as under NOW 1.0 and 2.0, namely €9,538 per month (twice the maximum monthly wage).
  • In the following cases it is forbidden to pay dividends, to pay bonuses/profit-sharing to the management board and to buy back own shares:
    a. if the subsidy advance payment amounts to € 100,000 or more;
    b. if the final subsidy is set at € 125,000 or more;
    c. if the application is submitted at the level of an individual company (instead of at group level).
  • As an employer, you must continue your efforts to train or retrain employees. This (re)training is possible through the existing Training and Development Funds and the SLIM scheme. In addition, the government has already made an additional emergency fund available: "NL continues to learn", where employees can follow training and development advice online free of charge, in order to adapt to the new economic situation.
  • After the application, you will receive an advance payment of 80% of the subsidy amount, the remaining 20% will be paid upon final determination of the subsidy.

However, a number of changes/additions also apply to the NOW 3.0. We will discuss these in more detail below.


Period 1
A period of three months must be chosen between 1 October 2020 and 28 February 2021 for the decrease in turnover. You can therefore choose to start the three-month period on 1 October 2020, 1 November 2020 or 1 December 2020. If you have also applied for the NOW 2.0, the first period of the NOW 3.0 must follow up the chosen period in the NOW 2.0.

Period 2
A period of three months must be chosen between 1 January 2021 and 31 May 2021 for the decrease in turnover. You can therefore choose to start the three-month period on 1 January 2021, 1 February 2021 or 1 March 2021. Again, the chosen period must follow up the period chosen for the first period of the NOW 3.0 (if applicable).

Period 3
A period of three months must be chosen between 1 April 2021 and 31 August 2021 for the decrease in turnover. You can therefore choose to start the three-month period on 1 April 2021, 1 May 2021 or 1 June 2021. Again, the chosen period must follow up the period chosen for period 2 of the NOW 3.0 (if applicable).

The decrease in turnover should be calculated by dividing the total turnover of 2019 by four and then comparing this turnover with the expected turnover for the selected three-month NOW 3.0 period.

Subsidy height

In the NOW 1.0 and NOW 2.0, 90% of the wage costs were reimbursed. In the first period of the NOW 3.0, only 80% of the wage costs will be reimbursed. In the second and third periods, the maximum reimbursement percentage goes up again slightly, then a maximum of 85% of the wage costs are reimbursed.  

Salary bill

The salary bill of June 2020 will be used as the reference month when calculating the subsidy. If the salary bill for June is not known, the salary bill for April 2020 will be used. The salary bill for the reference month will be compared with the actual salary bill for the various periods in the NOW 3.0 when the subsidy is finally determined.

Consequences in the event of dismissal

In the NOW 3.0 there is slightly more space for restructuring in your organisation, without this leading directly to a reduction in the subsidy. So that you can better adapt your workforce to the changed circumstances, and prepare your company for the future. But there are a number of extra effort obligations for you as an employer in return.

Exemption rate
Under the previous NOW schemes, a decrease in your actual wage bill compared to the wage bill in the reference month led to a lower subsidy. In the NOW 3.0, however, there is room to reduce your wage bill without affecting the level of the subsidy. This is the so-called 'exemption percentage'. The exemption percentage is 10% of the wage bill in the relevant period.

Dismissal penalty disappears
The dismissal penalty from the NOW 1.0 and 2.0 in the event of a dismissal for economic reasons will disappear. In the NOW 3.0, there will therefore be no reduction in the subsidy in the event of dismissal.

Effort obligation to help find other work
As an employer, you are obliged to make an effort to accompany an employee to another job if you terminate or do not extend the employment contract of the employee in question during a subsidy period. In addition, if you submit a request for dismissal to the UWV during the subsidy period, you are obliged to contact the UWV for assistance in finding alternative employment. If you do not comply with these obligations, this may even lead to the expiry of the entire subsidy.

Applying for a subsidy

You can apply for the NOW 3.0 subsidy for the different periods in the following periods:

Period 1: from 16 November 2020 to 13 December 2020.
Period 2: from 15 February 2021 to 14 March 2021.
Period 3: from 17 May 2021 to 13 June 2021.

Applications for final determination of the subsidy may be submitted from September 2021.

Do you have questions about the NOW-scheme 3.0 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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