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Coronavirus: Labour ministry extends deadline for support scheme applications

The labour ministry

After receiving several complaints from people who had not managed to apply to government support schemes because they missed the deadline, the labour ministry announced on Tuesday it will reopen the application process for May 28, 29 and 30.

“The decision to reopen the application process was taken to help those businesses that did not manage to submit an application by May 20, the deadline set by the government,” Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said.

“We have an obligation to financially support workers who were affected by the coronavirus pandemic and could not work for the past weeks,” she added.

Applications for the third phase of the support scheme, from May 13 to June 12, will open on June 1, whereas the fourth phase will cover until October 12, with consultations underway as to who will benefit from it.

“I do not think the fourth phase will be a repetition of the previous schemes, simply because a large number of companies in the retail sector will have recovered by then,” she said.

The government paid a total of €219m to 180,000 workers under the first and second phases of the support schemes implemented to ease the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the labour market.

A total of 14,500 cheques were issued and sent to employers to hand them over to their employees, specifically those who had not provided their bank details to the government on time.

For the first phase of the scheme, which lasted from March 16 to April 12, a total of €95m was paid to 170,000 employees and self-employed, whereas for the second phase, which lasted from April 13 to May 12, the government paid out €124m to 180,000 workers.

Emilianidou added that, compared to 2019, there are 9,000 more registered unemployed, but, thanks to the government financial support scheme, there will not be a significant increase in unemployment this year, even taking the virus into consideration.

Finally, regarding the issues encountered in transferring money to beneficiaries under the schemes, she said that a large number of employees had submitted their bank account but did not submit an application or, in other cases, there had been problems in confirming the identity of the applicants from the social insurance register.

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