“We’ll ensure that our businesses remain healthy and reduce the possibility of unemployment” – Prime Minister Robert Abela
During a news conference at the Excelsior hotel, Prime Minister Robert Abela presented an updated set of measures agreed with the social partners at MCESD.
The Prime Minister explained that in much the same way that the Government has announced all the necessary measures for the medical sector, these measures were being launched in the economic and industry sectors of the country in order to safeguard jobs.
Dr Abela stressed the importance of how ongoing consultation with the social partners is leading to such decisions. “I am proud that at this difficult time, today the government together with the social partners we have reached this historic social pact.”
The Prime Minister said that decisions taken by the Government in the past seven years have borne fruit, and with the country’s economy now strong and firm, we can help families and businesses during this unprecedented period and in such exceptional circumstances.
Having already announced that the Government will be helping by postponing income tax payments (income tax), stamp duty and VAT of the months of March and April to another date, which has yet to be established to the cost of € 700 million, now the government will see whether it is necessary to postpone these payments to later months, to continue helping the industry.
The Prime Minister explained that the measures announced will be administered by the Department of Social Security and the Malta Enterprise.
Social Security measures will ensure that:
• The Government will assist those parents who both work in the private sector, one of whom has to stay home to take care of the children, by giving a grant of € 800 per month. This measure is estimated to affect 12,000 families and will cost € 19 million over two months.
• The Government will assist those disabled people who work in the private sector and are registered with Jobsplus, who, because of their condition choose to stay at home because they are more vulnerable to Covid 19, will be benefiting from € 800 per month. This measure will cost € 2 million over two months.
• Those people who, as a consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic, have been, or will be, made redundant with effect from 9 March 2020 onwards, will be receiving € 800 per month (the unemployment benefit + special allowance in connection with Covid 19).
These measures apply to employees and also for the self-employed. There will be a separate application for each measure and individuals must apply online on the Social Services Department website or servizz.gov. More information is available on number 153.
The Malta Enterprise measures will ensure that:
The Government will be giving € 800 per month to all employees working in sectors that have been most severely affected by the impact of the pandemic, including the tourism sector and those industries which had to close temporarily because of the decisions taken by the government to protect the people’s health. For those most affected industries, the Government will pay a two-day work based on € 800 a month. With the updated package, now the Government will be paying up to 5 working days and thus will give € 800 a month. This measure will benefit 60,000 employees and will cost € 44 million per month.
For other sectors, such as the wholesale, manufacturing and warehousing, the Government will give a day’s pay based on € 800 a month, with the possibility that this rises to two. This measure will affect 50,000 workers and costs € 17 million a month.
Applications for all eligible sectors may be obtained from covid19.maltaenterprise.com
Aid for those working on a full-time basis will be € 800 and on a part-time basis € 500. Applications need to be submitted online. The government expenditure for all direct measures will be around € 65-70 million per month.
However, these are not the final measures to be announced by the Government. The Prime Minister said that other measures could be announced as required, aimed at safeguarding workers and families, as well as the country’s businesses.
Dr Abela ensured businesses will remain strong and that, “the moment we emerge from this abnormal situation, we shall be up and running again towards more economic growth. That is our goal and as a Government shall be striving to get there. “
The Prime Minister concluded by saying that this government is to create a catalyst which fosters a work environment catalyst. “We will take care of the economy. This is a pro-market government, who believes in businesses and the skills and hard work of the Maltese and Gozitans. This is the moment where ‘we’ is greater than ‘I’ … I am convinced that we are going to emerge from this moment stronger.”