EC approves €215 million Maltese employment aid scheme

The European Commission approved a €215 million Maltese wage subsidies scheme to support companies operating in the sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the Commission announced in a statement issued on Saturday.

The scheme was approved under the State aid temporary framework adopted by the Commission in March 2020, as amended on April 3rd.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said that the €215 million Maltese scheme will help employers maintain jobs in these difficult times.

“Preserving employment and skills is of utmost importance for the European economy to be able to recover effectively once the health crisis recedes. We are working closely with member states to ensure that this is done in line with the EU rules” – said Vestager.

The Maltese support measures

Malta notified to the Commission under the temporary framework a scheme to finance the wage costs of employers that, due to the coronavirus outbreak, would otherwise have laid off employees.

The scheme will be accessible to companies of all sizes and also self-employed individuals operating in sectors that are strongly affected by the current health crisis and the containment measures adopted by national authorities.

The aim of the scheme is to preserve employment and avoid lay-offs of employees at a time when many business activities are either suspended or significantly reduced.

The Commission found that the Maltese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the measure will finance part of the wage costs for employees that would otherwise have been laid off, the aid is proportional as it is capped at €800 per full-time employee per month, and the scheme respects the maximum duration of 12 months.

The Commission concluded that the Maltese measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state and on this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules.

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