*This information is published on July 15, 2020 

To support businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis, the government has introduced the Temporary Emergency Bridging Fund for Employment (Noodmaatregel Overbrugging ten behoeve van behoud van Werkgelegenheid – NOW). This scheme was recently extended by three months. The second tranche (NOW 2.0) incorporates a number of changes compared with the first tranche (NOW 1.0). On this page you can read how the scheme works, with a distinction between NOW 1.0 and NOW 2.0. You will also find more information about the process for determining the final subsidy. Every situation is an individual one and we therefore advise you to contact your advisor if you want to make an application or receive more information about this. 

NOW 1.0

​What is the deadline for submitting an application under NOW 1.0?
As a number of changes have been made, the application deadline has been extended to 5 June 2020.

Am I eligible for the NOW scheme?
You are eligible for the NOW scheme if you suffer a drop in turnover of at least 20% for three months. You can then receive a contribution towards your payroll costs for the period from March to May 2020 (subsidy period) up to a maximum of 90%. The contribution depends on the fall in turnover. For example, if your turnover drops by 50%, the government will compensate you for 45% of the total wage bill.

What conditions are there?
One important condition is that you must continue to pay your employees their regular salary. During the subsidy period you must also not apply to make employees redundant for commercial reasons. Redundancies can result in a substantial penalty, as you can read about here. In addition, as an employer you have a duty to inform the works council or, in the absence of such, your employees about the granting of the subsidy.

How is my drop in turnover calculated?
Your turnover from January to December 2019 is used to calculate your drop in turnover. 25% of this turnover is compared with the expected turnover over the measurement period. The measurement period is a period of three consecutive calendar months from 1 March 2020. That is usually the period March-April-May 2020. This period may also start later, for example if your drop in turnover only becomes visible at a later stage. You can then choose April-May-June 2020 or May-June-July 2020 as the measurement period.

The difference between 25% of your 2019 turnover and the turnover in the measurement period is taken as the drop in turnover. The compensation you receive is based on this loss. Because it is not always clear to you what this loss will be at the time of your application, you will receive an advance payment of 80% of the expected compensation. Your actual drop in turnover will be determined retrospectively.

We advise you to choose a period in which you anticipate the biggest drop in turnover, to make optimum use of the NOW scheme. N.B.: the later you submit the application, the later you will receive the subsidy from the government in your bank account. Meanwhile you must of course be able to continue paying the payroll costs of your employees until that time.

If you started your business after 1 January 2019 or acquired another business after this date, please contact your advisor for information on how to calculate your drop in turnover.

What does the wage bill consist of?
You are reimbursed for part of the wage bill. Your wage bill refers to the salaries on which employee insurance contributions were deducted, as shown in your payroll tax return for January 2020 (reference month). To compensate for your employer’s contributions, such as pension and holiday pay, 30% is added to this. There is also a maximum of € 9,538 per employee per month (high earners). You will not receive any compensation above this amount for the employee(s) concerned. It is important for the NOW scheme that you always submit the payroll tax return on time.

What if I did not have a wage bill in January 2020 or November 2019?
Applicants whose wage bill was 0 in January 2020 or who had no wage bill in January 2020 and November 2019, but do have a wage bill for the period from March to May 2020, are now eligible for the NOW scheme. If you have not yet submitted an application, you are now able to do so. If you submitted an application and were informed that this had been rejected, you will be contacted by the UWV.

What if the wage bill in the subsidy period is lower than in the reference month?
If your total payroll costs fall, so too does the contribution. The general rule is that the subsidy will be reduced by € 1.17 for each euro by which the wage bill drops in the subsidy period compared with January 2020. You can read here about how the penalty works in practice.

If the wage bill in January 2020 is higher as it includes a thirteenth-month salary payment, the following applies. Any thirteenth-month payment that may have been made in January, for example, is ‘filtered out’ of the wage bills by the UWV when the final subsidy is determined. This means that the advance payment may be higher than the subsidy amount to which you are ultimately entitled, but in this case no penalty is applied.

What if the wage bill in the subsidy period is higher than in the reference month?
If the wage bill for the period from March to May 2020 is higher than three times the wage bill for January 2020, the wage bill from March to May is taken as the basis for calculating the level of the final subsidy. The wage bills for April and May are capped at the level of the wage bill for March (reference date: 15 May 2020). If there has been an increase in the wage bill, an additional payment is made when the final subsidy is determined. The advance payment remains unchanged, including for new applicants. This measure applies to all applicants whose wage bill from March to May 2020 is higher than that in January 2020.

Are flexiworkers also eligible for the scheme?
Flexiworkers are also eligible for the scheme. No distinction is made between different forms of contract. The government is therefore encouraging you to continue paying flexiworkers as much as possible.

Am I eligible for the NOW scheme as a director/major shareholder (DGA)?
You are only eligible for the NOW scheme if as a DGA you have social insurance under the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW) or Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (WIA). Many DGAs do not have this. Unfortunately, they are not eligible for the scheme.

How does it work if my enterprise consists of several companies?
The NOW scheme applies for your whole group. This means that the drop in turnover must be calculated at group level. The same drop in turnover as well as the same measurement period is indicated for all payroll tax numbers within your group. However, all the companies must apply for the NOW contribution separately. Whether or not they constitute a group is determined according to the formal annual reporting rules.

What if the drop in turnover is at least 20% within a single company, but does not reach this figure at group level?
Until recently it was not possible to take advantage of the NOW scheme in such a case. This is now changing. Individual operating companies can now also submit an application under the NOW on the basis of their own drop in turnover (instead of that at group level), provided that the loss of turnover at group level is below 20% and there is no intra-group secondment operating company (‘personeel-bv’) within the group.

This option is subject to a number of additional conditions. For example, groups are not permitted to pay out a dividend or bonus for 2020 or to buy back their own shares. Furthermore, the operating company must have an agreement with the trade union or an employee representation body on job retention at the operating company. Additional checks by an accountant are also required as a safeguard against strategic behaviour.

From when will my advance payment be made?
The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) is dealing with all the applications. The UWV is at present testing its service point and if all goes well this will open on 6 April. You then have until 5 June 2020 to apply under the NOW. In the application you indicate your expected drop in turnover. In the event of a positive assessment the UWV will then make an advance payment of 80% of the expected contribution, in three instalments. You can expect the first instalment within 2 to 4 weeks after your application.

Is there an example of how the scheme works?
Let’s assume that Restaurant B.V. had a turnover of € 1,000,000 for the whole of 2019. 25% of this is € 250,000. In the months March-April-May 2020 the restaurant has to close because of the coronavirus and its expected turnover shrinks to € 100,000 as it is now only accepting take-away orders. The expected drop in turnover is therefore 60%. The contribution is 90% of this, that is 54%.

The wage bill of Restaurant B.V. in January 2020 is € 60,000. To calculate the contribution this amount is increased by 30%. That makes € 78,000. The contribution is 54%, which is rounded to € 42,000 per month. 80% of this amount is paid by the UWV as an advance payment. In the coming months Restaurant B.V. therefore receives a rounded amount of € 34,000 per month as a contribution towards the costs. After the end of the scheme a final calculation will be made to determine the exact drop in turnover and, where applicable, the remaining 20% of the subsidy will be paid out. 

NOW 2.0

​Are more details now known about the second tranche?
Yes, the broad outlines of NOW 2.0 are now known. Changes have also been made to a number of aspects compared with NOW 1.0. You can read about these below. Certain aspects of the scheme, such as the redundancy penalty, may therefore change. Any changes will be reported on this page.

From when can I apply under NOW 2.0?
Applications under NOW 2.0 can be submitted from 6 July 2020 to 31 August 2020.

Can I also apply if I have not previously taken advantage of NOW 1.0?
Yes, NOW 2.0 is open to all employers, even if they have not previously submitted an application under NOW 1.0, provided that they meet the other conditions.

What has changed compared with NOW 1.0?
As a general rule, the conditions that applied to NOW 1.0 also apply to NOW 2.0. However, the following aspects have been changed under NOW 2.0:
  • Subsidy period: 1 June to 30 September 2020
  • Measurement period for drop in turnover: choice between three periods of four consecutive calendar months (June-July-August-September 2020, July-August-September-October 2020 and August-September-October-November 2020). N.B.: if you are submitting a second application, the measurement period must fit in with the measurement period chosen for NOW 1.0, unless the application under NOW 2.0 is submitted with a request to withdraw the decision under NOW 1.0. Example: if the measurement period under NOW 1.0 was April-May-June, the measurement period under NOW 2.0 is automatically July-August-September-October. You compare the revenue in the chosen period with one third of the total revenue for 2019.
  • March 2020 (reference date: 15 May 2020) is taken as the reference month for the wage bill. 
  • The flat-rate mark-up for employer’s contributions is being increased from 30% to 40%. 
  • The penalty in the event of redundancies amounts to a factor of 3.78. Let’s assume that an employer applies to make three employees redundant for whom the joint wage bill amounted to € 10,000. In this case the subsidy is reduced by € 37,800. 
  • If 20 or more employees are made redundant in the same employment region, an additional penalty applies and the amount of the subsidy is reduced by a further 5%. This additional penalty is only waived if agreement has been reached on or an assessment has taken place concerning the necessity of making this number of employees redundant. 
  • For each euro by which the wage bill in the subsidy period drops (reference date: 16 November 2020) compared with four times the wage bill for the reference month, the subsidy is reduced by € 1.26. 
  • If the wage bill increases, the subsidy does not go up, contrary to what applied under NOW 1.0. 
  • If a declaration from an accountant is required, the company may also not pay out any dividend or bonus for 2020 or buy back any of its own shares. 
  • In the application the employer must declare that, in the event of mass redundancies (20 or more employees within a single region), it will first consult with the trade unions for at least four weeks regarding the proposed redundancies and the redundancy application will not be submitted until at least four weeks after the trade unions have been notified. 
  • The employer has a best-efforts obligation to encourage its employees to participate in training and receive career-development guidance. 

Determination of the final subsidy

​From when can I apply for the final subsidy to be determined?
As an employer, you must apply for the final subsidy to be determined within 24 weeks of 6 October 2020. You will be able to submit this application using a form, which is yet to be drawn up. However, if you also submit an application under NOW 2.0, the application to determine the final subsidy cannot be submitted until after the second period has ended.

How does the assessment work retrospectively?
When you apply for the final subsidy to be determined you must indicate, where applicable with a declaration from an accountant, what your definitive drop in turnover was over the measurement period. Final settlement will then follow and you must repay the appropriate amount of the subsidy if your drop in turnover turns out to be lower than expected.

When is a declaration from an accountant required?
A declaration from an accountant is required in the following cases: 
  • in the event of an advance payment of € 100,000 or more;
  • in the event of a final subsidy amount of € 125,000 or more (irrespective of the level of the advance payment); or 
  • if use is made of the scheme and the drop in turnover is calculated at the level of an individual company instead of at group level. 

When do I need a third-party declaration?
In the following situations you do not need a declaration from an accountant, but you do require a ‘third-party declaration’: 
  • in the event of an advance payment of € 20,000 or more; or
  • in the event of a final subsidy amount of € 25,000 or more (irrespective of the level of the advance payment). 

What is a third-party declaration?
A third-party declaration is a declaration from a bookkeeping firm, financial services provider or industry organisation in which your drop in turnover is confirmed. The Tax and Customs Administration will also ask for such a third-party declaration if you apply for a deferment of payments on account of exceptional circumstances.

Will the application be published?
Yes, certain information will be published on the UWV website. This will be the name and address of the employer, the advance payment made and the amount of the final subsidy.

For questions we advise you to contact our team, now@visser-visser.nl. We will keep you up to date with any developments. We'd like to refer you to our corona support page for more information about other measures.

 

 

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