Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Cabinet expands state aid eligibility for hotel staff and other groups

Members of Peo demonstrating outside the labour ministry on Wednesday (Christos Theodorides)

Cabinet on Wednesday approved €1 million for hotel staff ineligible for unemployment benefits as well as €1.6m for three professional groups – taxi drivers, photographers, and street vendors – whose business has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday’s decisions came a day after Disy president Averos Neophytou, after talks with right wing trade union confederation, Sek, and Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, announced that employees’ demands would be met.

Sek quickly welcomed Tuesday’s announcement, but their leftwing counterparts Peo went ahead with their previously announced protest outside the labour ministry, minutes before cabinet met.

In a clear swipe at Neophytou, Peo officials lamented that labour issues were being exploited for political gain during an election period and said they had received no official word that the issue had been resolved.

Wednesday’s decision aims to ensure some 1,500 hotel employees who had fallen through the cracks of social insurance legislation could receive their benefits.

They had been rendered ineligible because they had not paid up the required social insurance contributions after they were terminated from their positions by their employers in 2020.

A training programme was drawn up for this category of employees from which they receive a special monthly grant.

As a result of Wednesday’s decision, they will receive additional one-off support of €1m that will be paid for December 2021 and January 2022, provided they are in the Republic, and had not turned down an invitation to participate in the special training programmes organised for hotel staff by the human resources development agency.

In addition, cabinet approved €1.6m in one-off financial support for self-employed individuals and businesses which had participated in the ministry’s schemes of 2020 and 2021 and who belong to the following economic sectors – photographers, taxi drivers and street vendors.

Deputy government spokeswoman Niovi Parisinou said about 1,900 individuals and businesses would benefit.


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