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What is the Emergency Bridging Measure for Retention of Work (NOW)?

The corona crisis has a major impact on our society. We have to stay at home, and a lot of work is lost. Companies in the Netherlands are struggling. To provide them with temporary support, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) has introduced the temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Retention of Work (NOW). This is a replacement for the reduced working hours scheme. Curious what the new scheme is exactly? And what impact does it have on you? We have listed it for you.

But first: how did the reduction of working hours work?

Is it temporarily bad for a company? Then an employer can request a reduction in working hours. He will temporarily receive a contribution towards the wage costs for his employees with a permanent contract in the form of a temporary, partial unemployment benefit. For the first two months, this allowance amounts to 75 percent of the most recently earned wages and thereafter 70%; the employer completes the rest. As an employee you will therefore continue to be paid. You do use unemployment benefits for this. This scheme can no longer be applied for since 17 March 2020, and has therefore been replaced by the Emergency Measure Bridging for Job Retention (NOW).

New arrangement needed

In the first week of the corona crisis, 78.000 employers filed for reduced working hours, and that would probably only increase. "The scheme is not tailored to that," said the Ministry. The NOW is. This extended financial allowance must work faster than the revoked reduction in working hours scheme. The conditions for your employer to be eligible for the NOW scheme:

  • The sales loss must be at least 20 percent to be eligible for the NOW.
  • The government takes over a maximum of 90 percent of the wage bill, in proportion to the loss of turnover. If your employer loses 100 percent of the turnover, the allowance is 90 percent of the wage bill. If the loss of turnover is 50 percent, the allowance is 45 percent of the wage bill. If the loss of turnover is 25 percent, the allowance is 22,5 percent of the wage bill.
  • The scheme also applies to employees with a flex and zero-hour contract.
    During the term of the scheme, no application for dismissal may be submitted for economic reasons.
  • The scheme is completely separate from unemployment benefits.
  • All sales decreases from 1 March 2020 may be included in the assessment.
  • The application is valid for 3 months and can be extended once for another 3 months. Additional conditions may apply to this extension.

What does the NOW mean to you?

The most important thing: no matter how bad things are with your employer and how little work remains, you will continue to receive your wages in full. Your employer supplements the NOW contribution up to your regular salary. It does not matter whether you have a permanent or flexible contract. But beware: this only concerns your regular salary, and not bonuses, premiums and holiday pay. We see that some employers have already announced that these benefits are being deferred. Ask your employer how this is arranged for you.

Only if you earn more than € 9.538 per month, you will not receive your full salary. For the calculation of the allowance, the UWV uses the data from the tax authorities and uses the social insurance wages as a basis.

No dismissal

If your employer makes use of the NOW allowance, your employer may not submit an application for dismissal to the UWV for economic reasons. Where short-time working was a temporary, partial unemployment benefit, NOW is not. This means that you do not consume any unemployment benefits during the NOW allowance.

Holiday pay and pension

Your employer will also receive an allowance through NOW for your holiday allowance. He has to supplement the rest. This means that you will also receive your holiday allowance. From a legal point of view, you accrue holiday allowance over the period from June 2019 to May 2020, and must be paid before June 2020. Your collective labor agreement or employment contract may state that this is deviated from.

Apply for NOW allowance

The UWV is working on allowing the scheme to take effect on April 6, 2020. Employers can submit the applications from this date, and can do so up to and including 31 May 2020. Does the application meet the conditions? Then the UWV will pay an advance of 80 percent of the expected allowance in three installments. The UWV strives to pay the first advance within two to four weeks after the application.

More information

Questions about the Emergency Bridging Measure for Retention of Work, this article or other matters concerning corona and your work? Feel free to contact us or see more information about corona and work here. Our service center is available every working day from 8.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m., via sc@unie.nl and 0345 851 963.