The Government has decided to ensure the payment of technical unemployment at 75pct of the gross salary, but no more than 75pct of the gross average salary, PM Ludovic Orban said on Thursday.
“Another very important measure we took is that of ensuring the payment of technical unemployment, the payment of the employees who enter technical unemployment from the Labour Ministry’s budget, through the ANOFM [National Employment Agency], through the unemployment budget. Practically, here we took this decision because it is clear that very many companies are directly or indirectly affected by the epidemic, because their revenues have reduced, their collections have reduced, their turnover, they don’t have the necessary revenues to ensure the employees’ salary payment, and there is the risk of the employees being sent in unemployment, being laid off, using the force majeure clause, or having their labour agreements suspended. The Decision is to pay, from the unemployment fund budget, 75 percent of the gross salary, which is, in fact, the monthly unemployment benefit for the technical unemployment period, but not in excess of 75 percent of the gross average salary,” Orban announced.
The Prime Minister explained that the measure is aimed at two categories of employers: “The first category of employers is that which was directly affected by the restrictive measures disposed by the authorities in the state of emergency (…) because they temporarily, totally or partially suspended their activity. As such, the employees of these companies will benefit from the payment of the benefit for technical unemployment accounting for 75 percent.”
He added that a second category of companies are those which weren’t directly affected by the restrictive measures disposed by the authorities to reduce the COVID-19 spreading, but by consequences of the epidemic.
“To be able to benefit from this payment for the salaries whom they cannot afford paying as a consequence of the activity being affected, companies will have to file a sworn statement, and the granting requirement is for their revenues to have reduced, their turnover to have reduced by a minimum 25 percent share,” the PM explained.
Orban also showed that, in the event that the Government had supported the payment of the salary in a certain percentage, this would have triggered the obligation of employees going to work. The Government’s aim is to provide the possibility of staying home and avoiding social contacts that could have increased the contamination risk.
The Orban Cabinet had a meeting on Wednesday afternoon. The meeting, taking place in videoconference system, took more than 8 hours.
The Executive decides to raise credit guarantee ceiling for SMEs by 5 billion lei
The Government has also decided to raise the credit guarantee ceiling for SMEs by 5 billion lei, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced on Thursday.
“We have decided, through emergency ordinance, to raise the credit guarantee ceiling for SMEs through the Guarantee Fund. Raising the ceiling could be done in a first phase by 5 billion (lei – e.n.). We are prepared to raise this ceiling by another 5 billion if it’s necessary and, furthermore, if it is necessary, to go up to a raise by 15 billion of the guarantee ceiling. Practically, we are guaranteeing credits for investments and for ensuring the working capital. The interest rate for both products is subsidized 100 pct. Furthermore, the guarantee works for 90 pct of credits in case of credits worth up to 1 million and the guarantee will be 50 pct for credits over 1 million,” Orban stated.
He added that the reimbursement of VAT will be guaranteed up to the ceiling of 9 billion lei to ensure injections of capital towards companies, in order to allow those who are conducting their activity to benefit from funds necessary for functioning.
“Furthermore, we established that at the budget revision we ensure the increase of the budget allotted to reimburse medical leaves. It’s known that, ever since we took over governing, we found a situation in which the reimbursement of medical leaves were paid by employers and we must ensure for employers the sums they spent, the reimbursement of the sums they spent for payment of medical leaves. They recorded delays of up to a year. We proposed to allot the sums of money to reimburse the sums spent by the employer for the payment of medical leaves, so that companies benefit from this inflow of capital they need in this period,” the Prime Minister informed.
“The economy must function in this period, especially in the key sectors”
The economy must function in this period, especially in the key sectors, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban emphasized on Thursday, further requesting companies to take protection measures for employees and showed that all state institutions must function at maximum capacity.
“The economy must function, especially in key points, in the energy domain, the utilities delivery domain, the public services, all the state institutions must function at maximum capacity, the medical area, all the area of supply for the population, the entire commercial area must function at full capacity, to ensure normal supply conditions, in order to ensure the delivery of all services, all utilities for functioning. As such, I request all companies to take measures to protect employees,” Orban said.
He added that the Government has been watching carefully, since the start of the epidemic, all developments and has taken measures.
“We keep the same mobilization and we are prepared, depending on the developments, to take any measures to protect the health of the population. In the coming period, I requested of the Minister of Health, the Minister of Interior and the other ministers involved a better mobilization, a strengthening of the capacities of the public health directorates. I must tell you we found public health directorates in near clinical death – a small number of employees, neglected by the governments before us – and we disposed measures to strengthen the capacity of the public health directorates: the employment of staff, be them residents, or medics, from the school network, or personnel from other entities, who have the capacity to conduct activities, for example, from county health insurance authorities. Furthermore, possibly, doctors working in hospitals which are not in the front line in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Ludovic Orban.
According to him, the number of epidemiologists will also be increased.
“We have raised and we will constantly raise the number of epidemiologists who are involved in the investigations carried out, because the speed by which the epidemiological investigations are conducted, when a person is confirmed positive, and the speed to adopt the measures influence the reduction in the spread of the virus in the community,” Orban said.
The head of the executive emphasized that he asked the MAI to take powerful measures to ensure the respect of home isolation and quarantine.
“I requested the Minister of Interior, especially since taking over the Local Police, to take powerful measures to ensure the respect of home isolation and quarantine, if it’s necessary even through mobile gendarme teams to go and check in person in as many localities the way in which home isolation is respected and, together with the representatives of the local administration, with the mayor, with the employees of the mayoralty, on the basis of existing situations, take all the measures necessary, including drastic punishment measures, either through fines, or through the opening of criminal cases,” said the Prime Minister.
Another major objective is preparing hospitals to ensure treatment conditions as best as possible if the number of persons infected increases.
“We are gradually preparing hospitals, depending on the level of spread, so that we increase the treatment capacity in all hospitals that have the possibility and conditions to treat patients,” the Prime Minister indicated.