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SUPPORT MEASURES (CYPRUS)

1. Special Scheme for Complete Suspension of Business by the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Security

  • Valid from 11/3/2020 to 12/6/2020
  • For Businesses (legal or natural persons who are employers) who have completely suspended their operation, in accordance with the Decrees of the Minister of Health and the relevant decisions of the Council of Ministers
  • Basic requirement: no employee has been fired since 1 March 2020, and any employee should not be dismissed either during the period of participation in the Scheme or during an additional period equal to the period of participation in the Scheme, plus one additional month (excluding cases where dismissal without notice is justified). Businesses will not be able to fire employees for financial reasons during the above period.
  • For companies employing more than nine employees, a Special Unemployment Benefit will be paid to 90% of employees. The remaining 10% shall include managing shareholders, partners holding more than 20% of the shares, general managers and senior executives. If the above persons exceed 10% of the employees of the business, then they may be included and receive Special Unemployment Benefit. To calculate the number of employees that make up 90% of all employees, the result of the mathematical operation is rounded to the nearest integer.
  • For businesses employing up to nine employees, Special Unemployment Benefit may be paid to all employees of the business, irrespective of their status.
  • For the period for which the Special Unemployment Benefit is to be paid, the employer shall be relieved of his obligation to pay the salary to his employees who received the Benefit. Where a salary has been paid also for the period for which the employees receive the Special Unemployment Benefit, the portion of the salary corresponding to that period may be offset by the employer.
  • The period of payment of the Special Unemployment Benefit shall be considered as a special period for purposes of contributions to the Social Security Fund and shall be credited accordingly to the beneficiary's insurance account.

The term "business" includes also natural or legal persons who are employers and in accordance with the Social Insurance Law are obliged to pay contributions to the Social Security Fund for their employees.

In case of a group of companies that has the meaning of either a relationship between parent and subsidiaries companies, or affiliated companies, ie with a common main shareholder, who holds more than one Employer Register Number in the Social Security Services Register and the activities of all its companies listed above apply for the same economic activity, the applications that will be submitted will be regarded as one submitted application of the group and the terms and conditions of the Schemes shall apply as if they had one Employer’s Registration Number

Business that has for a Legal Entity more than one Employer Registration Number in the Social Security Fund's Register, regardless of the applications it submits for different Employer Registration Numbers, all the applications will considered as one submitted application of the business and the terms and conditions of the Scheme shall apply as if they had one Employer’s Registration Number.

This Scheme may also include companies whose activities are directly related to the activities of companies that are in complete suspension of their operations in accordance with the Order issued by the Minister of Health. A prerequisite for the inclusion of the above companies in this Scheme is to have a have a turnover decline greater than 80%.

Any company or employer who applies for this Scheme must retain for a period of at least 2 years from the date of the submission of the application any relevant file, document or evidence for all terms and conditions.

How the Special Unemployment Benefit is calculated:

  • For employees who qualify for unemployment benefit under the Social Insurance Law, at 60% of the value of the insurance units, in accordance with the above legislation.
  • For employees who are not eligible under the Social Insurance Law and are insured with the Social Security Fund in January 2020 will be paid a Conditional Benefit. The amount of the Special Allowance that may be paid to the employees in question is 40% of the insurable earnings of January 2020 or the insurable earnings of the previous last month for which there is information in the register of Social Security Services.
  • The maximum amount that may be paid as a Special Unemployment Benefit for a period of one month may not exceed € 1,214.
  • The Special Unemployment Benefit is not paid for any period during which the employee receives unemployment benefit, Special Sick Leave Allowance, Sick Leave Allowance, Special Leave of Absence Allowance or other similar benefits from the Social Security Fund.
  • Employees who were included in a Special Scheme for Complete Suspension of Business of the tourism industry (such as hotels and restaurants), upon completion of their suspension period, may be included in this Scheme.

The form is available only in Greek language on the official website coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy.

 

2. Special Scheme for Partial Suspension of Business and Provision of a Special Unemployment Benefit

  • Valid from 16/3/2020 to 12/6/2020
  • For Businesses (legal or natural persons who are employers) who have partially suspended their operation, that is, they have a turnover decline greater than 25% in March 2020 and are projecting a corresponding drop in turnover for April 2020, as compared to the corresponding months of the previous year and the decline in turnover is solely due to the state of the business as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. In the cases of businesses that were not active during the corresponding period of the previous year, the basis for comparison will be the months immediately proceeding March 2020. For calculating the decrease in the company’s turnover of more than 25%, any transactions that took place before 16 March 2020 are not taken into account, regardless the date the invoices were issued or the payment was made of payment even after 16 March 2020.
  • Basic requirement: no employee has been fired since 1 March 2020, and in case the application is approved, any employee should not be dismissed either during the period of participation in the Scheme or during an additional period equal to the period of participation in the Scheme, plus one additional month (excluding cases where dismissal without notice is justified). Businesses will not be able to fire employees for financial reasons during the above period.
  • Businesses employing up to 50 employees may join the Special Scheme for Partial Suspension of Business and declare 75% of their total number of employees so that they may receive a Special Unemployment Benefit.
  • Businesses employing more than 50 employees may join the Special Scheme for Partial Suspension of Business and declare 60% of their total number of employees so that they may receive a Special Unemployment Benefit
  • To calculate the number of employees that fall into either 75% or 60% of the total number of employees, the result of the mathematical operation is rounded to the nearest integer.
  • For businesses employing up to two persons, the Special Unemployment Benefit may be paid to all employees, irrespective of their capacity
  • For businesses employing more than two employees, the Special Unemployment Benefit may not be paid to managing shareholders, partners holding more than 20% of the shares, general managers and senior executives who fall into either 25% or 40% of staff, accordingly, depending on in the case, to whom the Special Unemployment Benefit may not be paid.
  • In cases where the number of the above-mentioned persons exceeds 25% or 40% of the company's employees, as the case may be, then they may be included and receive the Special Unemployment Benefit.
  • For the period for which the Special Unemployment Benefit is to be paid, the employer shall be relieved of his obligation to pay the salary to his employees who received the Benefit. Where a salary has been paid also for the period for which the employees receive the Special Unemployment Benefit, the portion of the salary corresponding to that period may be offset by the employer.
  • For businesses that join the Special Scheme for Partial Suspension of Business, the employer has the option of employing in the company staff who will receive a Special Unemployment Benefit, by paying those staff the remainder of their salary and the corresponding contributions to Social Insurance Funds. The remainder of the salary may be differentiated, provided that the employee consents based on his / her working hours.
  • An employee to whom a Special Unemployment Benefit will be paid, provided that he/she consents to it, may be employed by the company and receive the remainder of his/her salary and receive a differentiated amount, based on the hours worked.
  • The period during which the Special Unemployment Benefit will be paid shall be considered as a special period for purposes of contributions to the Social Security Fund and shall be credited accordingly to the beneficiary's insurance account.
  • This scheme does not apply to public and wider public sector organizations, bodies governed by public law and other similar organizations and other financial activities that have not actually reduced their turnover as shown below:

 - Supermarkets

- Any businesses which supply food

- Sale of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish

- Satellite and other telecommunications services

- Production of electricity

- Waste Collection and Management

- Financial and insurance activities, including Licensed Banking Institutions

- Veterinary Activities

- Doctors (Excluding Dentists)

- Hospital Activities

- Elderly homes

- Manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations

- Wholesale of pharmaceuticals

- Pharmacies

- Trade in medical and orthopedic supplies

 It is clarified that the employment of domestic staff does not in any way fall under the covered employers.

 The term "business" includes also natural or legal persons who are employers and in accordance with the Social Insurance Law are obliged to pay contributions to the Social Security Fund for their employees.

 In case of a group of companies that has the meaning of either a relationship between parent and subsidiaries companies, or affiliated companies, ie with a common main shareholder, who holds more than one Employer Register Number in the Social Security Services Register and the activities of all its companies listed above apply for the same economic activity, the applications that will be submitted will be regarded as one submitted application of the group and the terms and conditions of the Schemes shall apply as if they had one Employer’s Registration Number

 Business that has for a Legal Entity more than one Employer Registration Number in the Social Security Fund's Register, regardless of the applications it submits for different Employer Registration Numbers, all the applications will considered as one submitted application of the business and the terms and conditions of the Scheme shall apply as if they had one Employer’s Registration Number.

Any company or employer who applies for this Scheme must retain for a period of at least 2 years from the date of the submission of the application any relevant file, document or evidence for all terms and conditions.

How the Special Unemployment Benefit is calculated:

  • For employees who qualify for unemployment benefit under the Social Insurance Law, at 60% of the value of the insurance units, in accordance with the above legislation.
  • For employees who are not eligible under the Social Insurance Law and are insured with the Social Security Fund in January 2020 will be paid a Conditional Benefit. The amount of the Special Allowance that may be paid to the employees in question is 40% of the insurable earnings of January 2020 or the insurable earnings of the previous last month for which there is information in the register of Social Security Services.
  • The maximum amount that may be paid as a Special Unemployment Benefit for a period of one month may not exceed € 1,214.
  • The Special Unemployment Benefit is not paid for any period during which the employee receives unemployment benefit, Special Sick Leave Allowance, Sick Leave Allowance, Special Leave of Absence Allowance or other similar benefits from the Social Security Fund.

 The form is available only in Greek language on the official website coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy.

 

3. Special Scheme for Self-employed Workers

  • Applicable from 16/3/2020 until 12/6/2020
  • For:

a)    Self-employed workers who have fully suspended their operations according to the Decrees of the Minister of Health and the relevant decisions of the Ministerial Council given that the nature or/and the way they operate has not been altered, and

 b)    Self-employed workers who have partially suspended their operations, meaning they have a decrease in their turnover in the order of more than 25% during the month of March 2020 and they predict an equivalent decrease in turnover for the month of April 2020 as well, in comparison to the corresponding months of the previous year and the decrease in their turnover is exclusively a result of the state their operation entered due to the COVID 19 coronavirus pandemic. In case the operation was not in business then the comparison will be made with the months preceding March 2020. For calculating the decrease in the turnover of more than 25%, any transactions that took place before 16 March 2020 are not taken into account, regardless the date the invoices were issued or the payment was made of payment even after 16 March 2020.

 Self-employed workers who are practicing any of the following professions cannot participate in the scheme. The reason the above professions have not been included is that their financial activity has not been particularly affected:

-        Pharmacologists, microbiologists et al

-        Doctors (dentists are not included)

-        Veterinarians

-        Pharmacists

-        Operators of medical appliances and equipement

-        Insurance agents, insurance agents / salespeople

-        Kiosk owners, grocers, salespeople, mini markets

-        Manufacturers of dairy products

-       State institute teachers (their salaries will be paid by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth)

Basic requirement: no employees have been fired since March 1st, 2020 and no employees are fired both during the period the business will participate in the Plan and during an additional period which will equal the period of participation in the Plan plus an extra month (except for reasons justifying dismissal without notice). Businesses will not be able to fire employees for financial reasons during the abovementioned time.

  • The Special Allowance for Self-employed Workers (weekly) will equal 60% of the amount of the weekly total of insurable earnings, based on which the beneficiary had the obligation of paying contributions to the Social Insurance Fund for the fourth trimester of 2019.
  • The Special Allowance for Self-employed Workers cannot amount to less than €300 if applies to a period of four weeks and holds a maximum limit of €900 if it applies to a period of four weeks.
  • Self-employed workers who employ other persons may also submit on behalf of their employees an application for the Plan for Full or Partial Suspension of Operations.
  • The Special Allowance for Self-employed Workers is not granted for the period during which the applicant is receiving unemployment allowance, special sickness benefit, special unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, allowance of the Special Leave for the Care of Children or other similar provisions by the Social Insurance Fund.
  • A basic prerequisite for participation is that no employees have been fired since March 1st 2020 and for the period for which they will receive the Special Benefit for Self-employed Workers as well as during an additional period which will equal the period for which they will receive the Special Allowance for Self-employed Workers plus an extra month (except for reasons justifying dismissal without notice).
  • For the period during which the Special Allowance for Self-employed Workers will be paid, the self-employed worker is exempt from their obligation to pay contributions to the Social Insurance Services.
  • The period of contribution of the Special Allowance for Self-employed Workers will be considered as a period of assimilated insurance for the purpose of contributions to the Social Insurance Fund and the insurance account of the beneficiary will be credited accordingly.
  • Any self-employed person who applies for this Scheme must retain for a period of at least 2 years from the date of the submission of the application any relevant file, document or evidence for all terms and conditions.

 The form is available only in Greek language on the official website coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy.

 

 

4. Special Sick Leave Allowance

Applies until 12/6/2020 for private sector employees or self-employed persons who fall into any of the following categories:

i.        persons who are on the list of vulnerable groups as designated by the Ministry of Health in the press release dated 16/3/2020 or any future revision thereof, and hold a certificate from their personal doctor (only in cases where the nature of their work does not permit teleworking or working from home or flexible working hours),

ii.        persons subject to compulsory isolation (quarantine) and self-isolation (only in cases where the nature of their work does not permit teleworking or working from home or flexible working hours) under the instructions of the Ministry of Health and holding a Medical Certificate issued by the Ministry of Health, or as directed by the Ministry of Health by a personal doctor,

iii.        persons infected with COVID 19 and holding a certificate from the Ministry of Health,

iv.        persons aged 63-65 years who do not receive a statutory pension, fall under categories (i), (ii) or (iii) above and hold the corresponding certificate.

 Is granted only to persons who work for the period for which they are applying for Special Sick Leave Allowance and are insured with the Social Insurance Fund, are up to 65 years of age and do not receive statutory pension.

 For the Special Sick Leave Allowance, beneficiaries can also be persons with disabilities who work on the basis of the Supported Employment Plans.

How the Special Sick Leave Allowance is calculated:

  • For employees and self-employed persons who qualify under the Social Insurance Law, at 60% of the value of the insurance units, in accordance with the above legislation.
  • For employees who are not eligible under the Social Insurance Law and are insured with the Social Security Fund in January 2020 will be paid a Special Sick Leave Allowance. The amount of the Special Allowance that may be paid to the employees in question is 40% of the insurable earnings of January 2020 or the insurable earnings of the previous last month for which there is information in the register of Social Security Services.
  • For self-employed persons who are not eligible under the Social Insurance Law, It will amount to 60% of the weekly amount of their insurable earnings, based on the income for which they were required to pay contributions to the Social Security Fund in the fourth quarter of 2019. The minimum amount that may be paid to a beneficiary for a period of four weeks is €100.
  • The maximum amount that may be paid as a Special Sick Leave Allowance for a period of one month may not exceed € 1,214.
  • The Special Sick Leave Allowance is not paid for any period during which the employee receives unemployment benefit, Special unemployment benefit, Special Sick Leave Allowance, Sick Leave Allowance, Special Leave of Absence Allowance or other similar benefits from the Social Security Fund.
  • The period for which the Special Sick Leave Allowance is paid shall be taken into account for the calculation and payment of the Sick Leave Allowance provided for in the provisions of the Social Insurance Law.
  • For the period concerning which the Special Sick Leave Allowance is paid, the employer shall be relieved of his obligation to pay the salary of his employees who received the Special Sick Leave Allowance.
  • The period of payment of the Special Sick Leave Allowance shall be considered as a special period for purposes of contributions to the Social Security Fund and shall be credited accordingly to the beneficiary's insurance account.

The form is available only in Greek language on the official website coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy.

 

5. Special Leave for Child Care

  • Applicable from 16/3/2020 to 12/6/2020.
  • It applies for working parents responsible for the care of children up to 15 years old and/or children with disabilities, regardless of age, whom, due to the nature of their work, cannot work either remotely or at home or with flexible working hours and where there is no in – house help.
  • The application should only be submitted by employees who are insured with the Social Insurance Services in January 2020 and have a gross monthly salary of up to € 2500.
  • The period for Special Leave for Child Care Leave cannot exceed a 4 week period in total, for both parents.
  • If one parent receives the Special Leave Care Permit, the other cannot receive it for the same period.
  • If one parent is working and the other is not (either because he/she receives an unemployment allowance or a special unemployment allowance or sickness allowance or sickness allowance, either because he/ she is unemployed or for any other similar reasons), the working parent is not entitled to a Child Care Leave at that time, unless the non-working parent has himself/ herself been infected with COVID 19 or is hospitalized or is a person with a disability or he/she is under mandatory quarantine.
  • Employer consent is needed to qualify for a Special Child Care Allowance.
  • For parents of persons with disabilities, the Special Leave for Child Care is granted if no care allowance is granted for them, by the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Security.
  • The Child Care Special Leave Allowance is not granted for a period for which the applicant receives an unemployment allowance, a special unemployment allowance, sickness benefit, a special sickness allowance.

How is the Child Care Special Leave allowance calculated:

Based on January 2020 salary or, in case there is no data on the last salary of 2020, based on last salary for which there is data within the last 9 months in the register of Social Insurance Services:

  • For the first € 1,000 of the monthly salary, an allowance of 60% is calculated for that part of the salary. For the part of the salary from € 1,000 to € 2,000 an allowance of 40% is calculated. The maximum amount of allowance for a period of one month cannot exceed the amount of € 1,000.
  • For single parent families the above rates increase to 70% and 50% respectively and the maximum allowance for a one-month period cannot exceed the amount of € 1,200.
  • Cases of single parent families where the last monthly salary exceeds € 2,500 will be examined on the basis of the particular features of each case.
  • The allowance will be calculated in proportion to the days for which the applicant becomes a beneficiary.
  • For the period for which the childcare allowance is to be paid, the employer is exempt from the obligation to pay the salary to his employees who received the allowance.
  • The period of Special Leave for Child Care will be considered as a period of equivalent insurance for the purposes of contributions to the Social Security Fund and the beneficiary's insurance account will be credited accordingly.

 The form is available only in Greek language on the official website coronavirus.mlsi.gov.cy.

For all the applications that will be submitted based on the above schemes, the respective allowances will be paid to the beneficiaries on priority basis as to the submission of the relevant applications, provided that declaration for the bank account details has been submitted electronically and that the applications are correctly completed.

You can contact us for guidance and help completing the forms.

 Updated 09.04.2020