Circle of downtime aid beneficiaries might be extended

On Tuesday, June 2, the government will discuss expanding the range of people receiving downtime compensation, Latvian Radio reported on June 2.

This benefit is EUR 180 per month if the State Revenue Service (VID) has previously refused to grant the compensation. The Ombudsman's Office criticizes the situation on exemptions for self-employed persons. In turn, the Ministry of Welfare stresses that the solutions are working.

By the end of last week, the National Social Insurance Agency paid out a downtime aid to more than 8600 people, totalling over EUR 700 000. Sarmīte Bergholce, head of the Vidzeme division of the Agency, explained that the allowance was paid for the days where the employee was idle.

"For example, if the worker has been idle for the whole month, he is paid EUR 180. If he has been idle for half a month, it is EUR 90. On the other had, employees and self-employed persons who have been granted downtime compensation by the State Revenue Service but the amount is smaller than EUR 180, the Agency pays the difference," Bergholce explained.

The VID had paid downtime compensation of more than EUR 28 million by last week.

However, there are people who have not been able to receive state aid. The Ombudsman's Office received information on such cases and paid attention to it. Spokeswoman Ruta Siliņa pointed out that many exceptions were extended to the self-employed.

"The self-employed have worked in a state-recognized tax system. It's not that they've been in some sort of anti-law. Consequently, if it is a state-recognized tax regime, the State aid mechanism should be equal," said Siliņa.

Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča (KPV LV) said that solutions have been found in most cases. However, the situations are so different that every individual case would need "writing of their own rules".

The government is scheduled to discuss extending the circle of beneficiaries of downtime aid. 

Downtime compensations will be paid until June 30. The Minister pointed out that it is afterwards intended to subsidize salaries in certain companies and implement a retraining program for employees.


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