Estonia: The government approved the support measures for the second wave of COVID-19

NordenBladet — At an e-session, the government approved the support measures for the areas affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, the largest part of which concerns the support of the people of Harju and Ida-Viru counties through employers.

“This year has been unpredictably difficult for the whole world. In Estonia, the people and companies of Harju and Ida-Viru counties have suffered particularly badly due to the second wave of the coronavirus. In order to prevent the medical system from collapsing, the government had to impose extensive restrictions in these counties,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. “Unfortunately, these restrictions have seriously disrupted the lives of thousands of people. Today, the government approved support measures totalling more than 30 million euros to compensate for the loss of income. They are aimed at employees working in the tourism, accommodation, and catering sector but also in the fields of culture, sports, and education. We also provided support for self-employed persons operating in these fields,” he emphasised. “Together, we can overcome this very difficult time. Let us hope that in the near future, the situation will stabilise thanks to vaccination and we will able to return to our normal life all over Estonia.”

More than 16 million euros will be directed to support Harju and Ida-Viru counties through the Unemployment Insurance Fund

Compensation will be paid to those employers in Harju and Ida-Viru counties whose activities have been seriously disrupted due to the extensive restrictions in force between 28 December and 17 January.

In accordance with the submitted plan, compensation is paid to employers for those employees whose place of employment as at 22 December is in Harju County or Ida-Viru County according to the employment register. Labour costs are compensated on the basis of the employer’s wage costs for employees in Harju and Ida-Viru counties in November. The compensation is transferred to the employers’ bank account. Companies receiving compensation may not make redundancies for one month after receiving the support.

Compensation for labour costs is intended for accommodation and catering companies, sports facilities, recreational activities, refresher training, and culture. Compensation is paid only to companies that do not have a tax debt to the state or to companies whose tax debt has been deferred as at 22 December. The maximum rate of compensation for labour costs per employer is 180,000 euros.

The support is paid to entrepreneurs once and it is possible to apply for the support during February 2021 through E-töötukassa.

More than 800,000 euros will be allocated to support self-employed persons in Harju and Ida-Viru counties

813,512 euros will be allocated from the government reserve to the Ministry of Social Affairs to support self-employed persons in Ida-Viru and Harju counties whose economic activities have been significantly disrupted due to the restrictions imposed by the government.

Almost 10 million euros will be directed to the tourism sector through Enterprise Estonia

The funds for the tourism sector are directed to support accommodation companies, catering companies operating in the Old Town of Tallinn, operators of Estonian handicraft and souvenir shops, and travel companies (travel agencies and tour operators). The maximum amount of support per company is 60,000 to 180,000 euros, depending on the company’s field of activity, loss of turnover, and/or labour taxes.

Enterprise Estonia will start granting the supports in the first quarter of 2021 after the approval of the support regulation and receipt of a state aid permit from the European Commission.

To finance the measure, the government will allocate 5 million euros from the reserve to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

In addition, the government decided to allocate the remaining 3 million euros to support the lease payments of trade and service companies negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak of the coronavirus in spring 2020.

The 1.9 million euros left over from the spring aid measure in this area will also be used to support tourism businesses.

Support in the field of culture and sport

3.7 million euros were allocated from the government reserve to the Ministry of Culture to support cultural enterprises in Harju and Ida-Viru counties. The terms of the support measure are similar to the spring crisis package for culture and sport, but the exact terms will be worked out. The application rounds will open in January.

In addition, cultural operators, as well as cultural and sports companies and organisations can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for compensation for labour costs for the period from 28 December to 17 January. The Unemployment Insurance Fund has specially planned funds to compensate for labour costs in the field of culture and sports.

An additional 153,000 euros will be allocated from the government reserve to the Ministry of Culture to compensate for the damage to culture and sports elsewhere in Estonia resulting from the restrictions extended until 10 January.

The support applications are processed in various fields by the Ministry of Culture, the Estonian Centre of Folk Culture, the Integration Foundation, or the Estonian Foundation of Sport Education and Information. Applicants are asked to check the website and Facebook page of the Ministry of Culture.

Support in the field of education and youth

2.3 million euros were allocated from the government reserve to the Ministry of Education and Research to support private providers of hobby education and recreational activities for young people in Harju and Ida-Viru counties. The principles of resource allocation will be decided separately. Entrepreneurs in the field of education and youth will also have the opportunity to apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for compensation for labour costs for the period from 28 December to 17 January.

An additional 441,000 euros will be allocated from the government reserve to the ministry to compensate for the damage resulting from the restrictions to private providers of hobby education and recreational activities elsewhere in Estonia.

The measure makes it possible to offer private providers of hobby education and recreational activities all over Estonia a one-time support payment of 10 euros per student and up to 30 euros per student in Ida-Viru and Harju counties. The basis for receiving support for private hobby education providers is the data in the Estonian education information system on the number of students as at 10 November. A simple electronic form must be completed in January to confirm the application. Private providers of recreational activities can submit an application for the support.

Ministries will provide more detailed information on applying for the supports in the new year.

There is also a restriction to avoid receiving several supports at the same time, which means that if a company decides to apply for support from the Ministry of Education and Research or the Ministry of Culture for the same period, it will not receive remuneration support through the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

 

Source: Estonian Government

 



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