As included in our previous newsletter, state subsidy may be claimed if a company reduces the working hours and this measurement is closely and directly related to the emergency. Recently some changes have been published to the previously submitted regulations, hereby we summarize these changes and give some information on how to interpret them.
First of all it is important to mention that the subsidy may be claimed for the months following the submission of the application, but maximum for three months and it is paid retrospectively by the Government Office directly to the employee in monthly arrears. In order to claim the subsidy already for May, the application must be submitted until 30th of April the latest. There is no possibility to request the subsidy retrospectively. If the application is submitted later, it can only be considered pro-rated.
The definition of decreased working time has been changed according to the regulations effective from 29th of April, 2020. The lower limit of the decrease has been changed from 50 percent to 25 percent, and the upper limit has been changed from 70 percent to 85 percent, the reference to a minimum working time of four hours per day has been left out from the regulations. So, this means that based on the changes, the subsidy can be requested even after working time reduced to two hours a day. As stated in the government decree, the working hours should be calculated as an average for the 3 months of the subsidy period.
Those who have already modified the original employment contract earlier (between 11 March and the date of submission) e.g. from 8 hours a day to 4 hours, they can apply for the subsidy anyway. In this case 8 hours is the original working time and 4 hours is the decreased working time. The base salary should be calculated to the original 8 hours according to the regulations of the decree.
Furthermore, if the employer reduces the working time in more steps, i.e. there was a reduction in the working time between 11 March and the date of submission (for example from 8 hours to 6 hours) and further reduces applies for the working time after the submission of the application (from 6 hours to 4 hours), in this case, also the base salary must be calculated to the original 8 hours.
What is also important to point out here is that for former part-time workers the employer can also use the subsidy if there is further decrease in the working time (for example: the working hours of a 4-hour employee (working time valid on 11 of May) will be reduced to 2 hours).
No subsidy can be paid for unpaid leave during the subsidy period. However, periods, when the employee is released from work, are not investigated.
The concept of individual development time has also been completed, which means that it can be allocated not only in the three-month period of the subsidy but also in the following two years. Individual development time is development related to the employee’s job or the activity of the employer, which can be training or improvement of the company processes with creating added value.
According to the new regulation, if the decrease of the working time reaches or exceeds 50%, individual development time is only a recommendation. However, if the reduce is less than 50% than the employer is obliged to provide individual development time for the employee, which time corresponds to 30% of the reduction in working hours.
Salary for individual development time should be calculated to thirty percent of the time lost due to reduced working hours, which the employer must pay during the period of the subsidy regardless of the validation period (maximum 2 years).
If individual development time is compulsory than together with the subsidy, the salary and payment for individual development time during the period of the allowance must reach the employee’s base salary.
So, the new government decree calculates with a base salary instead of absence fee. Base salary means the salary valid on the date of submitting the claim, considering also the amount of the service fee on the start date of the emergency.
But how exactly the service fee should be calculated? During the calculation the February service fee should be included as it was paid in March, therefore this was the amount valid on the first date of the emergency.
The amount of the subsidy has been connected to the base salary according to the new rules, so it is the monthly base salary calculated on the 70% of the lost working time decreased by the personal income tax advance and contributions, but the maximum base salary to be considered is double of the prevailing minimum wage.
With this change, the maximum amount of the subsidy has been increased, so it is now half times higher than the previous one which means 112,418 HUF, but the amount is depending on the base salary of the employee and the percentage of the reduction of the working time.
What should those companies do who also receive contribution allowance based on their main activities? General rules are valid for them as well, so not the net salary decreased by the contribution allowance will be the base of the subsidy calculation. Moreover, the same applies to those employees who are entitled to any kind of tax allowance and who are subject to special taxation rules (for example pensioners or simplified taxpayers).
For the calculation, we recommend checking the spreadsheet on the website of the National Employment Service.
Completion of the applications has been simplified by the fact that, under the new rules, employers do not have to present their economic circumstances justifying part-time employment in their application for the subsidy, the direct and close connection of these circumstances to the emergency, and the measurements taken and planned so far to overcome the economic difficulties.
However, the condition for the assessment of the subsidy is that the employer demonstrates that the economic rationale for part-time employment is directly and closely linked to the emergency and provides credible evidence that the retention of employees is in the national economic interest.
In view of the changes that became effective on April 29, 2020, the employer will continue to be required to maintain the headcount, but instead of maintaining the statistical headcount on the day the application is submitted this requirement is applicable only for the maintaining of the employment of the applicant employee, however, the exact length is not specified in the government decree.
The salary subsidy will continue to cover employees in working time banking, and the regulation specifies that the subsidy can also be applied for teleworking and home office employment.
The changes clarify that the restriction of extraordinary work is valid only for the applicant employees and that temporary employment companies can now also benefit from the subsidy.
The claim for the subsidy must be submitted by the parties (employer and employee) jointly at the capital city or county government offices.