Corona crisis: temporary emergency bridging measure NOW 2.0

06 July 2020

The NOW-scheme replaces the unemployment benefit during short-time working (wtv). You can no longer apply for unemployment benefit during short-time working.

Do you employ staff and expect a turnover loss of at least 20%? You can claim a compensation towards wages from NOW: Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (Tijdelijke Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkbehoud NOW). You can claim a maximum of 90% of wages, depending on how much turnover you lose.

What is NOW?

Due to extraordinary circumstances, like the coronavirus, you have less or no work for your employees. You can claim NOW for a substantial compensation for their wages. In this way, you can continue to pay employees with permanent and temporary contracts. The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) will pay you an advance.

NOW 2.0

For the months June through September 2020 you can apply for NOW 2.0 from 6 July 2020. Application for NOW 1.0 for the months March, April and May 2020 has been closed since 5 June 2020.
You may also use the NOW if your company experiences turnover loss due to other causes than the coronavirus outbreak.

Conditions if you want to claim NOW 2.0

You can apply for NOW 2.0 under these conditions:

  • You expect to lose at least 20% turnover over a period of 4 months (June through September). You can use the Dutch-language calculation tool to help you calculate your turnover loss.
  • Business groups with Dutch and foreign subsidiaries may not count turnover loss from subsidiaries that do not pay Dutch social insurance contributions on wages.
  • The wage costs reference month is March 2020.
  • You pay your employees in full (100%).
  • You must use this compensation to pay wage costs.
  • The surcharge for the accrual of among others holiday allowance, pension contributions and other employer’s contributions will be 40%.
  • You must inform your employees or works council if you have been granted this compensation.
  • If you dismiss employees on economic grounds you have to pay back 100% of the compensation you received per employee.
  • If you want to dismiss 20 employees or more on economic grounds, you must have reached an agreement with the unions or other staff representation. If you cannot reach an agreement, you must have made an application for mediation through a (to be founded) Labour Foundation committee. If you fail to do so and you apply for collective dismissal after 29 May and before 1 October 2020, this will result in a 5% discount on the final grant.
  • You are obliged to stimulate your employees to take retraining or reskilling courses. You will have to include a statement with your application. You may find such training and courses as wel as initiatives to exchange employees, offer or find jobs and services and more on the Dutch-language website NLWerktDoor!.
  • You are not allowed to pay out bonuses or dividend and you may not buy (back) your own shares.
  • You have to keep verifiable records of all information of relevance. You must be able to make these records available until 5 years after this compensation has been granted.
  • The employer must submit a payroll tax return under the 1964 Wage Tax Act at the prescribed times.
  • You must notify UWV of anything that happens that may affect a decision to change, repeal or determine the compensation.
  • After your subsidy period, you must report your final turnover loss, accompanied by an auditor’s report.
  • If you want to apply for NOW 2.0 is makes no difference wheter or not you applied for NOW for March, April and May.
  • If you apply for the NOW subsidy from 6 July for the first time, the starting date for the turnover loss you suffered can be 1 June, 1 July or 1 August 2020. If you already applied for NOW 1.0, the period of turnover loss must be continuous.
  • If you receive wage subsidy, you must notify the municipality that provides this that you are granted NOW.
    You will need to submit a statement from an accountant for claims that exceed €125,000 and for advances that exceed €100,000.
  • UWV will publish names, allocated advances and the determined compensation on their website from the end of June.

Seasonal operations

March as reference month for NOW 2.0 was chosen to better meet the needs of seasonal operations that had an increase in the number of employees between January and March 2020.

For the original NOW (1.0) a solution for seasonal operations is presented by a new method of calculation: if the wage costs for March through May are higher than 3 times the wage costs for January, the wage costs for March through May (capped at March) will be the basis for the compensation. This way the compensation for employers will increase. This new calculation method is automatically applicable for all employers with higher average wage costs for the months March through May than thay had for January.

Key conditions for business group subsidiaries

Business groups can also apply for support through the NOW measure for operating companies that suffer turnover loss of more than 20%. This applies even in case other business units do not suffer turnover losses or even make a profit. Key requirements have been drawn up for this extension:

  • the business group may not pay out bonusses or dividend over 2020 nor may it buy its own shares
  • the operating companies for which NOW is claimed must make arrangements on maintaining employment with trade unions or employee representation
  • the applying operating company must be a legal entity in its own right
    an intra-group secondment operating company (personeels-bv) within the group cannot apply

Read more on the conditions for NOW 2.0 (in Dutch).

How much compensation for wages can you claim?

The compensation for wages you can claim depends on the turnover loss. You can claim a maximum of 90% of the wages.

For example:

  • If the turnover loss is 100%, the compensation will amount to 90% of wages
  • If the turnover loss is 50%, the compensation will amount to 45% of wages
  • If the turnover loss is 25%, the compensation will amount to 22.5% of wages

Based on your application, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) will pay you an advance of 80% of the expected compensation. The actual turnover loss will be determined afterwards. When determining the definitive compensation, a correction can be made if there has been a decrease in wages.

How to apply?

You can apply for NOW 2.0 (in Dutch) for June through September 2020 from 6 July 9.00 hours until 31 August 2020. Read more on how to apply (in Dutch).

Source: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO.