The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed so much about how we live and work today. The virus has affected practically every aspect of modern life and has had a significant impact on the businesses and livelihoods of millions of people around the world.
If you live in the Netherlands and your job or business has been affected by the pandemic, the Dutch government has established various schemes in order to provide you with financial support throughout the crisis. Here’s everything you need to know about the government’s coronavirus financial aid.
Financial support from the Dutch government
Depending on your specific situation, you will be eligible for different schemes. The main support measures are the NOW (temporary emergency scheme for job retention) and TOZO (temporary self-employment income support and loan scheme) for entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals. However, there are also a number of others:
- TVL - The reimbursement fixed costs scheme for SMEs and self-employed professionals.
- SET - Coronavirus-related incentive scheme eHealth at Home for caregivers.
- TONK - The temporary support for necessary costs scheme for self-employed professionals not eligible for other schemes.
- RBC - The arrangement for businesses damaged by curfew riots.
- Travel - A credit facility or voucher bank for travel guarantee funds.
The NOW scheme was designed by the government to support businesses owners and entrepreneurs. Anyone who runs a business which has suffered more than a 20 percent loss in turnover across the three months for which they are applying for financial aid can apply for the scheme. It was designed to provide substantial compensation for employers to cover the salaries of their employees throughout the crisis. The amount of money which can be claimed depends on the total losses, but the maximum amount is 85 percent of the company’s wage bill.
NOW was first introduced last spring, and entrepreneurs could apply for NOW 1 to cover costs from March, April, and May 2020 up until June 5, and could apply for NOW 2 to cover costs from June, July, and August 2020 up until September 1. NOW 3 has been set up slightly differently and instead comprises of three periods of three months in order to cover the costs from October 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021. Applications for NOW 3,2 (January to March 2021) are open from February 15 to March 15. Applications for NOW 3,3 (April to June 2021) will likely open from May 17 to June 13.
Conditions for NOW
The government has outlined a number of conditions that businesses need to meet in order to apply for NOW:
- You must pay employees their full salaries
- You must use the compensation to cover wage costs, employer’s contributions, holiday allowance, pension contributions, etc
- You must inform your employees or works council if you receive NOW
- You must help employees who face dismissal find another job
- You must encourage employees to take retraining or reskilling courses (and include a relevant statement in your application)
- You cannot pay out bonuses or dividend or buy (back) your own shares
Business groups can also apply for NOW, even if (some of) the businesses belonging to the group do not suffer more than a 20 percent loss or achieve a profit.
Applying for NOW
You apply for NOW via the Employee Insurance Agency. Once you’ve applied you will receive an advance before the final settlement is agreed upon. You will have to estimate the settlement yourself based on expected turnover loss, and if your company does better or worse than you predicted, your advance could be supplemented or you may be asked to pay back (part of) the payment.
You will have to reapply every three months. For more information about the NOW scheme, click here.
The Tozo scheme was designed to support self-employed professionals who are struggling due to the coronavirus crisis. The scheme consists of two parts: income support, the value of which is determined by the income of other members of your household as well as yourself, and / or a loan for business capital. A maximum value of 10.157 euros applies to the loan and you will be expected to pay back the money you receive. You do not have to pay back the income support money.
Tozo was also announced last spring and applications are open for the third phase (Tozo 3) which runs from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. If you apply for the Tozo scheme, you can decide how many months you are applying for. Applications for Tozo 4 will open on April 1 and will cover the months of April, May, and June 2021.
Conditions for Tozo
Various conditions apply to the Tozo scheme:
- Your household income must be below the social minimum and / or you need a business credit for liquidity issues
- If your income is above the social minimum but you cannot cover outgoing costs, you can apply for the business loan (not the income support)
- If you are a self-employed professional above the state pension age, you can apply for the business loan (not the income support)
- Your nationality is Dutch or you have a residence permit
- You live and reside in the Netherlands legitimately
- Your company operates in the Netherlands
- Your company meets all the legal and professional requirements (i.e. necessary permits and registration papers)
- You set up your company before 6.45pm on March 17, 2020
If you work in the healthcare sector, you are also eligible to apply for the Tozo scheme. Entrepreneurs who live outside of the Netherlands but in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and who’s company operates in the Netherlands can apply for the business loan via the municipality of Maastricht. If you live in the Netherlands but your company operates outside of the country, you can apply for the income support but not the business loan.
Applying for Tozo
You apply for Tozo via your local municipality. When applying, you can apply retroactively from the first month preceding the month in which you apply (i.e. you apply on February 1, you can apply retroactively from January 1).
For more information about the Tozo scheme, click here.
TVL was designed for businesses who suffered substantial losses to help them cover fixed costs other than salaries, and the amount of money you receive hinges on your company’s loss of turnover. Companies have to have suffered a turnover loss of at least 30 percent across a three-month period in order to qualify. There are a number of different elements to the TVL scheme:
- Businesses in the hospitality sector that were forced to close thanks to lockdown are eligible to apply for additional support on top of the TVL subsidy for the fourth quarter of 2020. The details of this scheme are still being finalised.
- Events businesses and their suppliers that applied for TVL compensation in the third quarter of 2020 will automatically receive funds to cover the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of 2021. The details of this scheme are still being finalised.
- Shops and retail businesses that were forced to close thanks to lockdown and who have already applied for TVL will also receive a one-off payment to cover the costs of stock losses.
- Businesses in the agriculture and horticulture sector will receive compensation to cover the costs of keeping plants and animals alive.
- TVL will also offer a one-off payment to companies within the travel sector to cover costs that cannot be retrieved for cancelled trips.
Applying for TVL
Applications for Q1 of TVL - covering January through March 2021 - are open from February 15. You apply via the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
For more information about the TVL scheme, click here.
Support for the cultural sector
The Dutch government has also set aside 454 million euros to provide additional support for cultural organisations and events in the Netherlands. Those working in the cultural sector are also eligible to apply for the Tozo and TONK schemes via their local municipality. TONK is designed to support those who face unforeseeable and inevitable income decline, and was established to cover those who do not qualify for either the Tozo or NOW schemes. The TONK scheme is yet to be fully launched, but for more information about financial support for those working in the cultural sector click here.
Other kinds of financial support: Credits and guarantees
Alongside the various financial schemes set up by the Dutch government, there are also a handful of credits and guarantees certain workers are eligible for, such as:
- BMKB-C - SME credit guarantee scheme to help SMEs affected by coronavirus secure bank guarantees and bridge financing
- GO - The business loan guarantee scheme
- Temporary support for local media
- Small Credits for Corona Guarantee Scheme (KKC) - a bridging loan for SMEs with relatively small financial means
In addition to this, the government launched NLWerktDoor! which allows companies to offer temporary work to employees on loan, and NL Leert Door which is a temporary support scheme for the career development of anyone of working age. Furthermore, the Dutch Tax Office has taken several measures to support entrepreneurs, including the option to extend deadlines for tax and loan repayments.