5,800 businesses have to pay back €160 million in Covid wage support
Thousands of employers have to repay the full Covid-19 support they received in the spring of 2020 to help them keep paying wages. The benefits agency UWV paid the money in advance and wanted a final statement from the employers before 10 January to see how much financial aid they were entitled to. A total of 5,480 companies failed to do so and now have to repay a total of about 160 million euros.
After implementing the first coronavirus lockdown, the government set up the NOW employment support scheme. Employers were reimbursed for wage costs between March and the end of May if they lost a lot of income due to the pandemic. As the loss of income increased, they received more aid, which was paid out as an advance. To determine how much aid they were actually entitled to, employers had to submit the exact figures of the turnover they lost, often with an auditor's report.
If a company fails to do so by the deadline, the UWV assumes they were entitled to no support. The involved employers can still appeal against the decision. To prevent these companies from falling into acute financial distress, they have the option of making a generous payment arrangement, according to the UWV. Employers who only have to repay part of their NOW advance also have that option.
"We expect that part of this group of 5,840 employers deliberately did not submit an application and did not consider it either," wrote Minister Karien van Gennip of Social Affairs to parliament. Those companies have known for some time that they did not meet the conditions for wage support and therefore have to repay the amount.
Over 132,000 employers who received NOW support in the spring of 2020 have already applied for full or partial assessment.
Reporting by ANP