During a telephone press conference held recently by the Ministry of State, the Prince’s Government set out the support measures for workers affected by the health crisis.
The aim of the Prince’s Government is to offer as much support as possible to all economic stakeholders who have been hit hard by the lockdown. To date, 21,650 employees have been laid off under the strengthened provisions for total temporary layoff. Between 2,000 and 2,500 self-employed workers have found themselves deprived of their incomes. In light of this extraordinary situation, the Monegasque authorities have rolled out a whole battery of support measures.
Use of strengthened provisions for total temporary layoff
A total of 2,625 employers have applied to introduce this measure, which aims to offer solidarity to employees, 75% of whom live outside the Principality. Forty percent of employees working in Monaco – or 21,650 people – have been laid off. As a reminder, the State is reimbursing employers in the amount of 80.6% of the net salary of each employee. The cost of the measure is €50 million per month.
Boost for low salaries
Employees earning up to €1,800 per month will receive not 80% but 100% of their salaries, thanks to a guaranteed supplement from the State. This measure affects up to 9,000 people. The cost of the measure is €1.6 million per month. In practical terms, employees earning up to €1,800 per month will keep all of their income.
An exceptional minimum income for self-employed workers
Self-employed workers in the Principality can claim an Exceptional Minimum Income, set at €1,800 per month, which will be granted by the Public Treasury on submission of supporting documents. The cost of the measure is €3 million per month (based on an estimate of 2,000–2,500 applicants).
Help for temporary workers
The crisis is having a severe impact on 6,000 temporary workers, who are not eligible for inclusion in the strengthened provisions for total temporary layoff. To support them, the State will advance to temporary employment agencies the cost of early payment of paid holiday entitlements.
Special bonuses paid by the private sector for COVID-19
The Government is making the case that bonuses should be exempt from all social security contributions. A dialogue still needs to be undertaken with social partners.
Commercial rents for state-owned premises waived
With regard to state-owned premises, rents for March will be reimbursed. All rents for the next three months will be waived in full.
In the case of private commercial rents, the State has decided to contact the various owners to make them aware of this crisis situation.
Cash flow for very small businesses
Since it is unable to act directly, the State will immediately inject an initial sum of €50 million to help the smallest business via banks. Using simplified procedures, these business owners will be able to access up to €50,000 to pay salaries and rent, which constitute their primary fixed costs. These loans from the bank will be guaranteed by the State, such that in the event that the borrower defaults, the State will reimburse the bank. This means that the risk to the bank is nil.
No social security contributions on additional salary payments
Employers who may wish, under the strengthened provisions for total temporary layoff, to pay the additional 20% of their employees’ salaries so that the latter receive their full wages will be exempt from social security contributions on this additional portion.
Teleworking becomes mandatory where possible
Teleworking has been adopted by 993 businesses in the Principality, and now applies to 10,381 employees compared with 1,300 before the COVID-19 crisis. It is becoming the norm, and is now mandatory where it is possible. This means that any refusal to introduce teleworking will now need to be clearly justified.
Dismissals prohibited during health crisis
In agreement with the National Council, the Prince’s Government has made it impossible to dismiss staff except in cases of proven gross misconduct.
From tomorrow, the costs of the economic measures aimed at supporting all those involved in the Monegasque economy and preparing for a recovery will be reviewed by the Council of Government before being presented to the National Council as a draft extraordinary amended budget.
The additional expenditure for the coming quarter is estimated to be €280 million, to which a decrease in expected revenue of around €180 million will need to be added.