Czech government has extended the Antivirus program until the end of April
The government yesterday extended until the end of April a temporary Antivirus program, from which the state pays wages or compensation of wages to people in closed operations, in quarantine or when production is limited. From March, the money should be paid only to employees who have been in the company for at least three months. The decision of the government was announced on Twitter by the Minister of Labor Jana Maláčová (ČSSD).
Antivirus is supposed to prevent redundancies. The state provides wage contributions for the period since last March 12, when the first state of emergency began. The support was to end in February. According to the plan, a long-term exchange rate was to start from March. However, politicians have not yet agreed on its setting.
According to data from the Ministry of Labor, 69,043 companies received support from Antivirus today, which were affected by the imposed restrictions and the coronavirus crisis. The state paid a total of 3.13 million contributions for CZK 29.8 billion. He thus contributed to the salary or compensation of 959,500 employees.
From the Antivirus program, the state pays the entire wage with contributions up to CZK 50,000 in closed operations and 80 percent compensation of people in quarantine up to CZK 39,000 with contribution A. Contribution B compensates for 60 percent of the compensation up to CZK 29,000 if production and services are reduced due to a loss of demand, personnel or raw materials.
According to documents for the government, companies will only be able to receive support from March if they sign an amendment to the current agreement. In it, they will agree that they will receive money from the state only for those employees who work for them for at least three months. Otherwise, the support will end at the end of February.
According to the Ministry of Labor, the new condition is to prevent the creation of special-purpose positions only for the purpose of obtaining contributions. "In this case, the Ministry of Labor responds to signals from some workplaces of the Labor Office, which identified such behavior of employers," the ministry states in the documents.
The rules of the program should also be newly amended so that money can be provided to companies not only in the event of measures and restrictions on operations under the crisis law, but also under the forthcoming pandemic law.
The Ministry of Labor estimates this year's average monthly expenditures from the Antivirus program at 0.7 to four billion crowns, depending on the epidemic situation. In January and February, the amount could be around 7.8 billion and in March and April about nine billion crowns, the ministry said.
The Ministry points out in the documents that it has no amount for Antivirus in its budget for this year. So far, it has used unspent money from last year, namely CZK 5.2 billion. This amount was almost used up on February 19 for contributions from previous months. He will take another CZK 6.8 billion from his coffers with money for unemployment benefits. The resort states that a total of CZK 12 billion will cover the period until the end of February. Additional money will be needed for March and April.