All the workers whose employers have applied for aid under the government’s wage supplement scheme will receive a personalized letter to show that the business they worked with has received the supplement, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri announced on Friday.
Speaking in his weekly press conference about the take-up of the government’s economic measures, Schembri said that after some complaints had been received, a decision had been taken for personalized letters to be sent to all workers whose employers had applied for the supplement to show when that supplement had been paid.
He said that if the worker hence does not the receive the supplement from their employer, they can report this matter and it will be looked into. He said that the government was ready to take strong legal action against abuses such as these.
He also noted that Malta has been classified as the country in the world which is giving the most direct help to citizens, with over 20% of the country’s GDP being reserved for such aid.
He said that this is the moment of truth where it shows that worker’s sacrifices are translating into the fact that country can pull through economic hits such as these.
Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia said that they had processed 80% of applications, and noted that there remain 1,400 businesses which need to answer the entity’s evaluation email to give them the go-ahead to push through the payments.
Farrugia said that Malta Enterprise will be implementing an appeal process where companies can independently appeal any decisions taken by the entity about the scheme.
Turning to the government’s measures, Schembri said that a total of 57,780 queries had been handled so far – an increase of around 5,300 since last Friday. 27,118 queries have come through telephone calls, while the remaining 30,662 have been received virtually either through emails or social media.
Schembri said that a total of 655 applications had been received for the government’s teleworking scheme. 181 of those have been reviewed, out of which 157 have been accepted. €145,000 have been disbursed under this scheme to date. Another 474 applications remain pending.
Meanwhile, there have been a total of 1,632 applications for the government’s quarantine leave aid mechanism, out of which 1,444 have been processed and 188 remain pending. €708,751 have been disbursed thus far, with Schembri noting that the vast majority of these applications had been decided.
The government’s wage supplement mechanism meanwhile remains the most taken up source of aid. In the scheme, businesses which have been worst hit are classified to receive aid of up to €800 per month per full-time employee if they fall into Annex A or up to €160 per month per full-time employee if they fall into Annex B.
A total of 19,885 businesses have applied for aid under this scheme, with 14,133 of those being self-employed businesses. 4,867 companies also applied, along with 885 businesses which weren’t classified under either of those two categories. This is an increase of just under 1,00 applications since last week.
This is equivalent to 93,114 workers across both annexes. 80,182 of them are full-time workers while 12,932 are part-time workers. 88,461 of these workers are based in Malta, while the remaining 4,653 are based in Gozo.
Annex A businesses – the higher classification of aid – have applied most under the scheme, with 16,838 applications being received in this regard, an increase of just over 700 since last week. These applications cater for 60,458 full-time workers and 10,813 part-time workers. Out of those applications, 11,769 – covering 52,213 workers – have been approved; 2,000 more applications than last week.
A total of €33.6 million meanwhile has been disbursed, meaning that last week saw around €10.3 million be disbursed.
The remaining 3,047 applications were from businesses which fall under Annex B, and cater for 19,724 full-time workers and 2,119 part-time workers. €1.5 million has been disbursed under this part of the scheme so far, meaning that half a million euros were sent out to companies over the past week.
New applications for the wage supplement will only cover the months of May and June. Schembri noted that those who have already apply need not apply again, but will merely have to confirm some details to have the scheme extended.