It’s been nearly 2 years since the Dutch government first implemented the Temporary Emergency Measures Bridging Employment package (also known as ‘NOW’) to help businesses retain their employees during COVID-19. There have been several updates to these measures since it was introduced back in 2020 (NOW 1.0), so this article has been updated to describe the current package, NOW 6.0.
Did you know it’s still possible to apply for the NOW package? We’re currently at NOW 6 (the 8th period of NOW) for January – March 2022. Business owners can apply for this period starting February 14th.
UPDATE – Businesses can also apply for reimbursement of fixed costs associated with their businesses due to a turnover loss. Most businesses that qualify for the NOW package also qualify TVL (Tegemoetkoming Vaste Lasten). Read more about the programme here.
What is NOW?
To mitigate the losses of businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Dutch government has instituted emergency measures that enable businesses to retain their employees. These measures are known as the “Temporary Emergency Measures Bridging Employment” (or ‘NOW’) package. You can read the official information about NOW on the government website here.
In practice, NOW lets businesses request an “advance” from the Dutch Employment Agency (UWV) in order to pay their employees. Businesses predict the cost of wages for the quarter, and submit this information to the UWV. The amount businesses receive as an advance is usually higher than the estimated cost of wages, just in case the business is able to keep more employees than expected.
However, the amount business owners actually receive from NOW is based on the actual loss of turnover. That’s why at the end of each quarter, businesses will be required to submit a “final settlement” and possibly pay back any surplus from the advance.
How much can I claim?
Employers who are facing at least a 20% expected loss of turnover can apply to UWV for compensation. The compensation will amount to a maximum of 80% of the wages. The NOW measures enable businesses to continue to pay their employees’ salaries of both permanent and temporary contracts.
There’s a simulator available online (in Dutch) to give businesses an idea of how much they will receive from NOW. Click the first box (Achtste aanvraagperiode NOW) to simulate the current period of NOW.
As of February 14, 2022, businesses can apply for NOW measures for January, February and March 2022. The last date to apply for this period is April 13, 2022.
conditions to claim now
Keep in mind that businesses cannot dismiss employees on economic grounds during the period in which they claim compensation. If any employees are dismissed during the period a business claims NOW, that business will be required to pay back 100% of the total compensation received.
- Business expects to lose at least 20% due to turnover over a period of 3 consecutive months.
- There is a 40% surcharge for the accrual of holiday allowance, pension contributions, and other employer-related contributions
- Employees are encouraged to take retraining or re-skilling courses
- Employees’ wages are paid in full
- The compensation is used to pay wages
- The advance is not used pay-out bonuses, dividends, or buy back your own shares
- Employees/worker’s council are properly informed that the business has been granted the compensation
- Business keeps all records for at least 5 years
- UPDATE: Dismissal of more than 20 employees on economic grounds is possible if an agreement is made with unions of other staff representation
- UPDATE: Exceptions to the above conditions are in place to account for seasonal workers.
Read the official conditions for the package (in Dutch) on the UWV website.
The compensation received will depend on your losses incurred due to turnover. As an advance, maximum amount a business may receive is 80% of wages (€ 9,813). For example:
If the turnover loss is 90% or higher, the compensation will amount to 80% 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
Depending on your application, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) will pay you in advance for 80% of the expected losses. Actual turnover loss will be decided afterwards after submitting the final settlement.
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