Netherlands' second round of coronavirus business support launches today

The Dutch government's second round of coronavirus business support - the temporary emergency bridging measure for employment, or NOW2 - launches on Monday. Businesses who expect to lose more than 20 percent of their turnover due to the coronavirus crisis in the period June to September can submit an application for support to benefits agency UWV. They will be reimbursed up to 90 percent of their salary costs. 

The second round of support has a number of different conditions attached to it. For example, companies who claim support cannot pay dividends or bonuses. Companies will be allowed to fire people while receiving support, but if they dismiss more than 20 people a union must be involved, or they will face a 5 percent cut on their subsidy. Companies must encourage employees to go for training, either further training for their current job or retraining for a different job.

Nearly 140 thousand businesses made use of the first NOW regulation, which ran from March to May, NOS reports. Over 6 billion euros was paid out to cover up to 90 percent of salaries for 2.5 million workers. The main goal of this subsidy scheme was to prevent mass layoffs due to the coronavirus crisis.

The UWV is ready to handle the same number of applications for NOW2, but does not expect the same rush of almost 80 thousand applications in the first week. The benefits agency expects that some companies will wait to get a better picture of their turnover in the summer months before applying - companies who suffered less loss of turnover than stated on their applications will have to repay the excess subsidy they received to the UWV. Companies can apply for this subsidy until August 31.

MKB Nederland, the Dutch association of small and medium-sized businesses, expects about the same number SMEs will apply for support as in the first round. KHN, the Dutch hospitality association that represents catering establishments and hotels, expects that 65 percent of entrepreneurs in its sector will need aid from NOW2, according to NOS.