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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure SK-2020-40/1628 Updated – measures in Slovakia

Support to employers retaining jobs - Measure 3 First aid Plus

Podpora zamestnavatelov, ktori udrzia pracovne miesta - Opatrenie 3 Prva pomoc Plus

Country Slovakia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 October 2020 – 28 February 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Ludovit Cziria (IVPR) and Eurofound
Measure added 28 December 2020 (updated 31 May 2022)
Related ERM support instrument

Background information

To respond to the 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemics, the government prolonged the state of emergency from 1 October 2020 and the Public Health Office adopted new restrictive measures. They had negative impact on activities of employers performing sport, wellness and fitness, cinema and life performance activities, bars, canteens, restaurants and hotels. Most of them temporarily interrupted or significantly reduced their activities that caused a drop in their revenues. This resulted in missing resources to cover their operational costs, including wages of their employees and compulsory contributions to insurance funds. To support concerned employers, self-employed and employees, the government adopted a package of modified measures called "First aid Plus". Measures are available since 1 October 2020.

Content of measure

Measure 3 of the First aid Plus was adopted in order to support employers, including self employed with employees, who were not closed compulsory and retained jobs (at least one month during and two months after the state of emergency) in case of interruption or limitation of their activities due to the COVID-19 pandemics and exercised significant drop in revenues. Eligible employers had to start their operation not later than on 2 September 2020. It replaced the previous measure SK-2020-17/871 .

Since 1 October 2020, employers and self-employed with employees, who exercised at least 20% drop in revenues can apply to labour, social affairs and family office (UPSVaR) for subsidies in two forms:

  • Wage replacement of employees up to 80% of their monthly labour cost with €1,100 as a maximum.
  • Fixed wage replacement of employees based on the rate of drop in revenues. The minimum subsidy (20-39.99% drop) for October and the next months increased to €270 from the previous €180. Next subsidies increased from €300 to €450 (40-59.99%), from €420 to €630 (60-79.99%) and the maximum from €540 to €810 (at least 80% drop).

The drop in revenue can be calculated, e.g. by comparison with the same month in 2019, 2019 average or with September 2020.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

19 January 2022

The government decided to prolong the availability of the measure and it is available also in January and February 2022. Employers concerned can ask for the support according to the measure till the end of March 2022. Since 1 March 2022 a new universal, not COVID-19 related measure Skrátená práca (Kurzarbeit) is available for employers.

01 November 2021

Because the situation in COVID-19 pandemic further worsened, in November and December 2021, the measure 3A was implemented according to the First aid + countrywide and not by regions according to the COVID automat. The option 3B was not available. Employers could ask for wage replacement of their employees up to 80% of their total labour cost.

01 July 2021

From 1 July to 31 December 2021, the Measure 3 will be applied by regions according to results of Slovak alert system called COVID automat, which denotes individual regions/districts of the country by colours according to the 7-day incidence of COVID-19 disease and ratio of vaccination (burgundy colour and black means the highest level of threat, red means lower level of threat, orange means alertness level and green means only monitoring level).

Measures 3A and 3B according to the specification in the First aid ++, will be applied in regions/districts denoted by black and burgundy colour.

The Measure 3A according to the specification in the First aid +, will be applied in regions/districts denoted by red and orange. Measure 3B will be not available.

01 February 2021

Measure 3 in the First aid Plus package was available from 1 October 2020 to 31 January 2021. To increase the support to employers, in January 2021, the government decided to replace it by a modified Measure 3 included in new First aid Plus Plus package. The measure is effective from 1 February to 30 June 2021, and is available for employers, including self employed with employees, who were not closed compulsory but had drop in revenues during temporary limitation of their activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and retained jobs. Also employers and self-employed running business from 2 September 2020 to 1 February 2021 can use the measure. Since 1 February 2021, employers who exercised at least 20% drop in revenue can apply to the UPSVaR for subsidies to cover the total labour cost of their employees in two forms:

3A Up to 100% of the total labour cost of employees, including compulsory payments to insurance funds, but at €1,100 as a maximum. 3B A fixed subsidy according to the following rate of drop in revenues (previous 20% scale of drops was replaced by 10%):

  • 20 – 29,99% €330
  • 30 – 39,99% €420
  • 40 – 49,99% €510
  • 50 – 59,99% €600
  • 60 – 69,99% €690
  • 70 – 79,99% €780
  • 80% and more €870

Use of measure

Data on the number of recipients and provided subsidies according to the modified Measure 3 are not yet available but significant increase is expected in November and December 2020.
According to the Institute of Social Policy (ISP) data by 30 November 2020, the use of the previous Measure 3 was stable during July- September 2020, when via form A and B around 12,100 employers received in average about €260 subsidy per employee.

According to the estimations, expenditures for measures 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the First aid Plus project will amount to €389,792,725 in October - December 2020. Next €201,759,248 expenditure is assumed for the period January - March 2021. Expenditures are covered by approved financial limit of €1.3825 billion (Resolution of the Government of the Slovak Republic No. 219 of 14 April 2020). Funding is provided from the European Social Fund (SURE) and the state budget.

According to the ISP (March 2021), the total amount of provided subsidies was more than €273 million from October 2020 to January 2021 (3A €54.068 million and 3B €218.942 million). The highest number of subsidised employers was in November 2020 - 4,793 (3A) and 17,011(3B) when 69,336 and 129,346 employees were supported respectively. These figures have decreased, and in January 2021, the number of supported employees was 25,724 (3A) and 74,507 (3B). On the contrary, the average monthly subsidy for an employee increased. Via 3A, from €188.83 in October 2020 to €432.76 in January 2021 and via 3B, from €429.95 to €533.98 during the same period.

According to ISP (June 2021), via Measure 3A First aid Plus, Plus, in January 2021, 7,554 companies obtained financial support in total amount of about €21 million to subsidise 71,584 employees, and the average sum of subsidy per employee made €294. In April, the number of companies as well as subsidised employees decreased to 5,407 and 61,575, respectively. The total amount of provided financial support remained almost the same but the average subsidy per employee increased to €324.

By Measure 3B Plus, Plus, 24,163 companies and about 201,000 employees received support in the total amount €101 million in January 2021. The average subsidy per employee was about €502. In April, with the exception of the average subsidy per employee, these figures decreased by about half: 12,679 companies and 91,434 employees received financial support in the total amount about €55 million. But the average subsidy per employee increased to almost €602.

According to the ISP report (April 2022), in November 2021, the Measure 3A was implemented at 10,680 employers and covered wage replacement of 78,560 employees in the total amount of €26.712 million. The average subsidy per employee was €340. In December, 3A support concerned 8,112 employers covering 67,785 employees and made in total €25.560 million with about €377 average per employee and 3B concerned 7,916 employers with 32,066 employees, in total €18.595 million with almost €580 average per employee.

In January 2022, the number of supported employers via 3A and 3B decreased to 5,668 and 7,7795 respectively with 49,531 and 33,486 employees respectively. In total, 3A support made almost €18.969 million and 3B about €19.465 million. The average support per employee was almost €383 via 3A and about €581 via 3B. In February, the number of supported employers decreased to 4,025 via 3A and 4,441 via 3B with 34,054 and 17,721 employees respectively. In total it made €13.048 million via 3A and almost €10.076 million via 3B. Average subsidies per employee did not change much in these months.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Public employment service
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Consulted
Form Not applicable Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

Social partners were neither consulted at the tripartite Economic and Social Council nor via usual Cross-sector commenting procedure. Social partners criticised this approach of the government. Some national level employers individually submitted their proposals to modified measures in the First aid Plus. No information is available about participation of trade unions in the preparation of the Measure 3 in the First aid Plus.

Views and reactions

According to the AZZZ SR and APZ, some of their proposals were implemented in modified measures included in the First aid Plus package. For instance, to increase the maximum subsidy to employers from €880 to €1,100, implemented in modified Measure 3. Nevertheless, according to employers as well as trade unions implementation of the modified measures should be more easy and effective, particularly the application procedure and timely payment of subsidies.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Support to employers retaining jobs - Measure 3 First aid Plus, measure SK-2020-40/1628 (measures in Slovakia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/SK-2020-40_1628.html

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