On 24th March 2020, the Prime Minister of Malta announced a series of fiscal measures enhancing the initial fiscal stimulus package announced on 18th March 2020. A summary of the relevant measures follows:
1. Measures to be administered by the Social Security Department
1.1 It is estimated that there are circa 12,000 families with children who have both parents/guardians working in the private sector. If one parent/guardian stays at home to care for children, Government will offer a benefit of €800 per month to the family. This measure also applies for single parent families who have school-aged children.
1.2 Persons with disabilities working in the private sector and who are registered with Jobsplus who choose to stay home due to their increased vulnerability to COVID-19 will be entitled to €800 per month for a specified period.
1.3 Individuals whose full-time job has been terminated as from 9th March 2020 as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak shall receive a benefit up to of €800 per month, comprising the unemployment benefit and an additional COVID-19 social benefit.
The measures above apply both to the employed and self-employed. More information on these benefits, as well as application forms, may be accessed on: https://socialsecurity.gov.mt/en/Pages/covid19benefits.aspx
2. Measures to be administered by Malta Enterprise
2.1 Government will be paying up to five days’ salary based on a monthly wage of €800 (€500 in the case of part-timers). This benefit is available to enterprises whose temporary closure was mandated by the Superintendent of Public Health and to those operating in the industries that have been most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, such as the tourism industry (including the self-employed). A list of eligible industries may be accessed on this link: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Annex-A-Sectors.pdf
2.2 Government will also be aiding other industries such as the wholesale, manufacturing and warehousing industries by covering one day of employee wages per week. This benefit will be based on a maximum wage of €800 per month, equivalent to €160 per month (€100 per month in the case of part-timers). In the case of Gozo-based enterprises, the benefit will be based on two days of employee wages per week, equivalent to €320 per month (€200 per month in the case of part-timers). This measure also extends to self-employed individuals operating in the same sectors. Such self-employed individuals will be entitled to two days’ wages per week, equivalent to €320 per month, with benefit being based on three days of wages per week, equivalent to €480 per month, for those self-employed who employ staff. A list of eligible industries may be accessed on this link: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Annex-B-Sectors.pdf
3. Elements of the fiscal stimulus package presented on 18 March
3.1 A two-month deferral to enterprises, including the self-employed, on payments of provisional tax, employee taxes, maternity fund payments and social security contributions and VAT falling due in March and April 2020. This incentive is primarily aimed, but not limited to, the tourism and hospitality, entertainment, transport and manufacturing sectors. Guidelines and the application form for this scheme are available on: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/deferral-of-payment-of-taxes/
3.2 Government is willing to extend up to €900 million in bank guarantees for companies requesting operational loans with low interest rates and longer repayment periods. Three-month moratoriums from banks for business or personal loans will also be granted. More information on this scheme is available on: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/further-liquidity-measures/
3.3 Wages paid to employees under mandatory quarantine leave will be partially paid by Government. A sum of €350 will be granted to employers for each employee under quarantine leave. More details on this scheme as well as application forms are expected to be made available on: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/quarantine-leave/
3.4 Government housing subsidies shall be granted to families where one dependent has his/her employment terminated. Those who previously benefitted from government housing subsidies will be eligible for an increased subsidy should one dependent have his/her employment terminated. More details on this scheme are available on: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/social-measures/
3.5 All enterprises which terminate an active employment contract shall be denied the possibility of applying for work permits for third-country national workers. Malta shall no longer accept work permit applications for new third-country nationals, except for highly skilled workers. The Government shall seek to assist all third-country nationals who are presently in Malta and have their employment terminated to find an alternative employment. More information is available on: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/employment-of-third-country-nationals/
4. Other measures
4.1 Malta Enterprise will support employers and the self-employed who invest in technology that enables teleworking by partially covering the cost of teleworking solutions. The scheme is open to all undertakings irrespective of size and sector. Guidelines and the application form for this scheme are available on: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/teleworking/
5. MFSA Alerts
5.1 MFSA has requested that all documentation submitted to the MFSA is sent electronically and all payments are made by means of bank transfer. Further information is available on the following link: https://www.mfsa.mt/news-item/mfsa-covid-19-business-continuity-planning-continues-electronic-submission-of-documentation/
5.2 MFSA has a set of guidelines to consumers on the use of financial services during the COVID-19 outbreak. These guidelines provide the following:
- With regards to banking services, customers are encouraged to make use of online and mobile banking services.
- Customers are also being made aware of a potential surge in internet purchases and are advised to be vigilant of their own security online, when making payments.
- Consumers considering either investing, or buying or selling an investment are advised to be cautious of taking decisions in times like these, since information may become outdated in a matter of days and forecasts may prove unreliable.
- Insurance policy holders are being guided on the various measures which are being taken by the MFSA in relation to the different types of insurance policies which could be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. A separate Circular has also been issued in this regard.
- The general public is also being advised to be cautious of fraudulent schemes or financial scams which may try to take advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak to misappropriate funds or obtain sensitive personal information.
Further information is available on the following link: https://www.mfsa.mt/news-item/mfsa-issues-guidance-to-consumers-on-the-use-of-financial-services-during-these-extraordinary-times/