The state compensates employers for part of the employee benefits. Someone more, someone less, but not everyone
Ukrinform continues a series of documents that will help navigate the situation on the job market. The last time, we explained to people who lost their jobs how to use unemployment assistance during quarantine. Today, the information is for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which lost income during the quarantine, and now there is nothing to pay people with wages. Consequently, the State promises to use a partial unemployment tool to assume part of the financing of the salaries paid to the staff of these companies. In addition, if for large companies everything remains as it was (their employees can only expect payments corresponding to the amount of living wages for able-bodied people), then for SMEs, these payments have been increased up to the minimum wage level. And just the other day, time limits expire when employers have the right to request such assistance.
Forced simple: different countries in different ways, but helps
The governments of many countries, in their anti-crisis measures, have provided huge funds to compensate for staff downtime. For example, the French government has allocated 45 billion euros to fight the consequences of the pandemic. A “solidarity fund” has been created for the owners of restaurants and bars, from whom those who had to close the business and dismiss their staff could receive funds.
In Ukraine, direct payments and compensation for companies have not yet been granted. At the time of the epidemic, the Ukrainian authorities adopted a number of laws providing only for tax, customs and credit advantages, moratoria on checks, freezing of fines and sanctions.
At the same time, a partial unemployment mechanism is proposed for the quarantine period for small and medium-sized enterprises. State support for payments to employees will be provided provided they keep their jobs. The amount of aid can go up to a minimum wage. The Verkhovna Rada supported the corresponding changes to the legislation at a special meeting on March 20 (Bill 3275). The cost of the initiative is around 5 billion UAH.
This type of cash assistance is provided to businesses at the expense of the Compulsory Social Insurance Fund of the State of Ukraine in the event of unemployment.
From these funds, the employer pays the employee a certain amount so that he can survive difficult times without ending his employment relationship.
“What is most discussed is the business opportunity to take advantage of the partial unemployment assistance program. The recently adopted amendments to the Ukrainian employment law will allow more employers engaged in the production of goods, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, to benefit from this program. In particular, large employers can receive assistance in an amount equal to a living wage (2102 UAH per valid person. – Aut.) For payment to employees. In addition, the law is supplemented by the new article 47-1. It regulates the payment of partial unemployment assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises during the quarantine period and provides assistance for this area up to a minimum wage (today 4723 UAH. – Aut.). Either way, quarantine will end and employers will need workers sooner or later. Thus, the focus on their needs will become even more acute, ”said Olga Makogon, director of the National Employment Center, in an interview with the portal of the Ministry of Finance.
Although it turned out that not everyone could count on state aid for short-time working. According to the law, it should only be payers of social charges in good faith, responsible employers and necessarily producers. The service sector, unfortunately, has, for one reason or another, remained outside the attention of legislators. Perhaps, given the scarcity of funds, it was decided to favor manufacturers, and perhaps the calculation that the service sector exists mainly in the form of FLP, for which other support mechanisms are used.
What you need to know about state aid
Thus, we list the key parameters of the quarantine mechanism for short-time working, as provided by legislators.
How this mechanism will work in practice, said Tatyana Masharina, head of the department for interaction with employers at the district employment center in the city of Kremenchug. “I want to draw attention to certain requirements of the law: the employer must engage in production. It is not a profession, not a service sector. For example, sewing, confectionery workshops, possibly the manufacture of furniture, etc … Each employer has a KVED (the type of economic activity is specified in the charter – Aut.), And to be able to apply for partial unemployment , the KVED must have the word “Production”. In addition, this article only applies to employees, if an entrepreneur has no employees, he cannot apply for partial unemployment assistance, ”explains Tatyana Masharina.
Photo: Kremenchug city district employment center
Mrs Masharina draws attention to another important point: “The amount of aid is determined according to the financial capacity of the Fund and cannot exceed the amount of the minimum wage established by law.” And this can mean that the amount of aid can be reduced if there are many requests from employers.
Tatyana Masharina also noted that the production reduction order should be dated no earlier than March 16 (the official start date of the quarantine established by the CMU). No partial unemployment assistance is planned for the FLP.
The Office of Effective Regulation (OROD) believes that the rule is generally poorly worded due to a lack of legislative technology. “Consequently, from a literal reading of it, the impression is really made that the circle of those who have the right to help is limited only to the entities that have stopped“ production ”. The standard does not say what “production” according to NACE or other criteria is, “Ukrinform told BRDO.
Office specialists argue that, in practice, the question of payment of aid is practically frozen due to the lack of an “order” that the public employment service is supposed to adopt (although the law does not not predict it). Today, the law does not exempt the employer from the obligation to pay wages for any reason whatsoever. Even if downtime is introduced, he must still pay 2/3 of the official salary and only one social contribution.
Is it possible to fire employees during quarantine?
For employers who, for various reasons, cannot use the partial unemployment mechanism and are obliged to dismiss people in order to be able to register with the employment service and receive unemployment benefits (see HERE for more information at this topic), there are some tips.
As a general rule, in the event of dismissal by agreement between the parties, unemployment assistance is paid from the 8th day following the registration of the insured person with the National Employment Service, and in the event of dismissal of his own free will – from the 91st calendar day. At the same time, for the period of implementation of the measures to prevent the occurrence and spread of coronaviruses (COVID-19), provided for by the quarantine implemented by the CMU, unemployment assistance is allocated from the first day the granting of unemployment status. The corresponding guarantees are introduced by the law n ° 3275 already mentioned.
However, many employers are concerned about rumors that, during quarantine, they are prohibited from dismissing workers under threat of a fine of up to 51,000 UAH. (in fact, we have not found a similar direct prohibition in any anti-crisis regulatory act. – Auth.).
“It should be noted that there have been no changes to the grounds for dismissing workers during the quarantine period. In other words, the state does not recommend that the employer fire the employee for quarantine. But on the other hand, if one of the grounds for dismissal provided for by law (for example, at their own request or by agreement of the parties) nevertheless appeared during the quarantine period, and this, I emphasize, will be consistent with the employee’s wishes, the termination will be lawful and the employer will not assume any responsibility for such termination, “said Dmitry Gumeniuk, ADER HABER attorney at Ukrinform.
He stressed that during the quarantine period, employers should avoid any coercion of employees to write resignations voluntarily or by mutual agreement of the parties.
The lack of will on the part of the employee may subsequently become the basis for declaring his dismissal illegal. “Given the current quarantine situation, it is unlikely that any of the workers will want to stop on their own. In this case, the employer can really be held responsible (a fine of up to 51 thousand hryvnia or deprivation of the right to hold positions up to 3 years, or correctional work up to 2 years) , and the employee will have every chance of being reinstated to work to recover an average salary for “Forced absenteeism, which should extend over 7 to 9 months, taking into account the duration of the disputes”, explains the lawyer . Therefore, one way out of the situation may be: working from a distance (at home), flexible working hours, reducing working hours, etc.
As a last resort, it will be necessary to wait for the New Money business support program announced by the government, which will include the allocation of loans to pay the salaries of employees of companies. “The government will provide a state guarantee for these loans. And the company will only pay 5% on these loans, “said Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Igor Petrashko. This problem should be resolved by law in a week or two.” The funding will come from the banking sector and the National Bank, “the minister promised.
Oksana Polishchuk, Kiev
According to the materials: ukrinform.ru