As the pandemic continues, this year, employers, workers, low-income individuals, parents raising at home young or disabled children, if necessary, will also be able to benefit from the state support measures. The Ministry of Social Security and Labour reminds about the state support that the country’s residents affected by the pandemic can expect this year.
“As soon as the new Government took office, it immediately started looking for the possibilities and resources to support people affected by the pandemic. At this challenging time for all of us, nobody can stay forgotten: be it downtime employees, people who have lost their jobs, parents who have to work and take care of their children, or self-employed individuals. In addressing the issues of people affected by the pandemic, this year, the State continue providing assistance to those in need,” says Monika Navickienė, Minister of Social Security and Labour.
SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
SUBSIDIES FOR DOWNTIME OF EMPLOYEES. As quarantine continues, those employers, who are unable to provide their employees with work, can announce downtime for the employees. During downtime, employees may not be required to perform work functions and must be paid at least the minimum wage, but only if the employment contract is concluded for the full-time work. This means that next year, the downtime employee will receive the net wage of not less than EUR 467.
From 2021, in respect of the downtime employees the employers will receive the full compensation (100%) for the gross and net wage to the employee during downtime. The maximum compensation will amount to 1.5 minimum monthly wages, i.e. EUR 963 “on paper”. However, the compensated amount may not exceed the wage fixed in the employment contract before the date of declaration of the second quarantine.
SUBSIDIES FOR HIRING THE SUPPORTED UNEMPLOYED. Employers will also be able to benefit from the supported employment measures and receive wage subsidies if they employ the most vulnerable residents and help them return to the labour market. Subsidies may be paid to employers who employ additional jobseekers referred by the Employment Authority, such as the persons with disabilities, elderly or young people, long-term or unskilled unemployed, etc.
DEFERRAL OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO SODRA. During the quarantine period, companies will be able to defer payment of contributions to Sodra without being charged any interest and penalties. These contributions may be deferred by those companies whose economic activity is restricted by the decision of the Government; in addition, the company must also be included in the list of persons affected by COVID-19 restrictions published by the State Tax Inspectorate.
The business affected by COVID-19 will be relieved of payment of the contributions for the quarantine period and will be allowed to cover the accrued debt without being charged any interest over a maximum period of 5 years.
SUPPORT FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED
The self-employed individuals will continue to receive the benefit of EUR 260 during the emergency and quarantine period, if they meet the following conditions:
- The self-employment has been registered for at least 3 months within 12 months and was not deregistered before the quarantine and emergency declaration date;
- By reason of restrictions on economic activity, the person is included in the List of self-employed persons affected by COVID-19 restrictions published by the State Tax Inspectorate;
- The wage received under the employment contract or comparable legal relationships does not exceed EUR 642 “on paper”;
- In the case of a legal person, the legal person may not be bankrupt or liquidated.
After the quarantine, payment of the benefit for the self-employed will continue for one month and then its payment will be terminated.
DEFERRAL OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO SODRA. The self-employed affected by COVID-19, whose activities have been restricted by the quarantine and who are included in the lists of the STI, are also allowed to defer the payment of contributions in a simplified manner. The self-employed individuals affected by COVID-19, will be relieved of payment of their contributions for the quarantine period, and will be allowed to cover the accrued debt without interest over a maximum period of 5 years.
DEFERRAL OF COMPULSORY HEALTH INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS. During the quarantine, self-employed individuals are temporarily relieved of payment of the CHI contributions. The aim is to reduce their costs and alleviate the tax burden. Even if these residents do not pay the CHI, they will have access to health services. The self-employed individuals will be able to pay the CHI contributions during a period of two years. After the quarantine, the CHI contributions will be paid as usual.
UNEMPLOYMENT SOCIAL INSURANCE BENEFIT. Self-employed individuals covered by unemployment social insurance (owners of individual enterprises, members of small partnerships and general partners of partnerships), who have accumulated unemployment social insurance record of at least 12 months during the two and a half years prior to their registration with the Employment Services, are eligible to the unemployment social insurance benefit payable for 9 months.
SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS RAISING CHILDREN
SICKNESS BENEFITS FOR CARE OF A HEALTHY CHILD. Sickness benefits may be paid to parents, guardians and working grandparents when during the emergency and quarantine declared by the Government they have to look after a child under Grade 4 or a disabled child studying under a general or special education curriculum. A certificate of incapacity for work shall also be issued and a sickness benefit shall be paid when it is necessary to look after a child under Grade 4 and a disabled child due to compulsory isolation or the declared procedure restricting the spread of infections. The sickness benefit is 65.94% of the wage “on paper”.
LARGER CHILD MONEY FOR A WIDER RANGE OF FAMILIES. In 2021, the child money will increase from EUR 60 to EUR 70. An additional allowance of EUR 41 is granted for the disabled children and children from large or low-income families, i.e. the child money for children with disabilities, large or low-income families will be EUR 111 per month. In assessing whether a family may be eligible to the child money of EUR 111 plus additional allowance, the income of 3 months, instead of the previous 12 months, shall be taken into account. A low-income family shall be considered to be the family with average monthly income per family member not exceeding EUR 256, excluding the child money and part of the wage, unemployment benefit. Such assistance will apply for another 6 months after the end of the emergency and quarantine.
SUPPORT FOR LOSS OF JOB AND INCOME
JOB SEARCH ALLOWANCE. The job search allowance may be applied for by persons registered with the Employment Services and having the status of the unemployed, who are not participating in active labour market policy measures and who have lost their job at least 3 months prior to the declaration of the emergency or quarantine.
The job search allowance will not be paid to persons who are entitled to the unemployment social insurance benefit or when its payment has expired at the time of the person’s application to the Employment Services.
After the end of the emergency or quarantine, the job search allowance will be paid for another 1 month. In 2021, the job search allowance will be EUR 212.
UNEMPLOYMENT SOCIAL INSURANCE BENEFIT. Residents, whose service record during the period of two and a half years before they lost their job is at least 12 months, are eligible to the usual unemployment social insurance benefit payable for 9 months.
CASH SOCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR LOW-INCOME INDIVIDUALS. A person or family facing financial difficulties may apply to their municipality for cash social assistance: social benefits, compensation for dwelling heating and water costs. In 2021, persons, whose average monthly income per person will not exceed EUR 140.8, will be entitled to social benefit.
When calculating the average monthly income, the child benefit (child money), part of the work income and unemployment social insurance benefit (depending on family composition and number of children – 20%–40%) shall not be included.
When establishing the right to cash social assistance, the property of the applicant held by the right of ownership shall not be temporarily assessed. Such relief will remain in place for another 6 months after the emergency and quarantine due to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. After these 6 months, if the value of the property held by the family or person by the right of ownership exceeds the established threshold, the property will be disregarded for 3 months for those who apply for support for the first time or 2 years after the last time of receiving it.