The ministry of labour on Monday posted online some of the applications for benefits related to employment or sick leave due to the coronavirus situation, pledging that the first payments would be made by April 14.
The relevant information and the applications are available at the ministry’s website at www.coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy.
Minister of Labour Zeta Emilianidou said the ministry would continue to assess applications including after benefits payments were made.
She also cautioned that any false declaration on the application forms constitutes a criminal offence.
Emilianidou said the whole endeavour is aimed at preventing the sacking of employees, so that once the situation is normalised the economy can restart.
There are five different schemes launched by the government.
For parents taking special leave to care for their children (aged until 15) or for children with disabilities, the application form is here: https://www.pay.sid.mlsi.gov.cy/CovidForms/FormCovid001Servlet
For special sick leave (for confirmed carriers of Covid-19 and persons in self-isolation), the form is here: https://www.pay.sid.mlsi.gov.cy/CovidForms/FormCovid003Servlet
For self-employed persons: https://www.pay.sid.mlsi.gov.cy/CovidForms/FormEea5FreelancerServlet
For businesses that have completely suspended operations: https://www.coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy/anastoli-ergasias
And for businesses that have partially suspended operations: https://www.coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy/copy-of-sxedio-pliroys-anastolis
In addition, all persons working in the private sector must fill out form EEA6 with their bank account details, available here: https://www.pay.sid.mlsi.gov.cy/CovidForms/FormEea006Servlet
Benefit payments will be wired to the beneficiary’s bank account.
The scheme applying to companies that have partially suspended operations covers the period March 16 to April 12. It applies to corporations or individuals who have sustained a 25 per cent decline in turnover during March and are expecting the same decline for the month of April, compared to the corresponding months of the previous year. The drop in turnover must be exclusively due to the situation related to Covid-19.
Where a business did not operate last year (2019), the decline in turnover cited will be relative to January and February of 2020.
In order to be eligible, a business must not have fired any employee as of March 1 this year. Also, once the benefit is approved, a business must not sack any employee both for the duration of the business’ participation in the scheme, as well as for an additional period equal to the duration of participation in the scheme plus one month. Beneficiaries cannot proceed with redundancies during this period.
Businesses employing up to 50 people may apply for the partial suspension of operations scheme, where they will declare 75 per cent of the total number of employees as eligible.
For entities employing more than 50, they may declare 60 per cent of the total number of employees.
Where a business employs up to two persons, the special unemployment benefit may be paid to all the employees irrespective of their capacity.
If a business employs more than two persons, ineligible for the benefit will be company directors, shareholders, partners holding more than 20 per cent of the stock, and general managers and managers who fall within either 25 per cent or 40 per cent of the staff – as the case may be – who are not eligible for the benefit. Where these persons comprise more than 25 per cent or 40 per cent of the staff, they may be included in the quota of employees eligible for the benefit.
For the duration of payment of special unemployment benefit, the employers is relieved of the obligation to pay wages to employees receiving the assistance.
The duration of payment of the special benefit shall be treated as an insurable period for the purpose of contributions to the Social Insurance Fund, and the insurance account of the beneficiary credited accordingly.
The partial suspension of operations scheme does not apply to public-sector entities, public-law entities, or to other entities whose turnover has not declined. The latter category includes: supermarkets; food supplies; trading in fruit, vegetables, meats and fish; satellite and other telecoms services; electricity production; collection and management of waste; financial and insurance activities, including licensed banks; veterinary services; doctors (except for dentists); hospital activities; nursing homes for the elderly; production of pharmaceuticals; wholesale trading in pharmaceutical products; pharmacies; trading in medical and orthopaedic items.
The maximum amount payable as special unemployment benefit for one month will not exceed €1,214. Moreover, the special benefit will not be paid for any period during which an employee was receiving regular unemployment benefit, special sick leave, special leave of absence, or any other similar assistance from the Social Insurance Fund.