The Anti-Crisis Shield does not envisage execution of annexes to agreements concerning disbursement of wage subsidies – this in a situation where any company receiving aid may find it necessary to ramp up production again and/or to return to regular working hours.

A company which saw its turnovers drop as a result of the epidemic may apply for subsidies towards remunerations for employees whom it furloughed or placed on shortened working hours. The relevant contract is executed at the given enterprise’s request with the regional labour office. This aid is welcome, no mistake about that. Yet its underlying rules are inflexible, in that they do not envisage annexing the original contract in the event of, for instance, change of the employee roll call (e.g. if an employee leaves) or of the needs of the employer (e.g. winning of an order, leading to an unexpected, and urgent, need to work longer hours again). In fact, there is no clarity even as to the basic question of whether standstill may be interrupted (by sending employees to their stations again to meet sudden needs), let alone how this might impact on the wage subsidy. Also, as far as anybody can tell, the rules leave no room for modifying the form of aid in the course of the month, e.g. by discontinuing standstill and moving to reduced working times. The fact that individual labour offices in different regions are adopting divergent interpretations of the rules is of little assistance...

 

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