By: L.N. Reklai

331 people who had lost their jobs as result of COVID-19 have applied to the government relief program, the Temporary Work Force Program as of last Friday, July 3, 2020.

The Temporary Work Force Program was designed, according to Minister ElbuchelSadang of the Ministry of Finance, to have people that have lost jobs due to impact of COVID-19, provide services to government agencies and non-profit organizations and be compensated for it.  Government pays minimum wage to all accepted applicants regardless of expertise with no deductions. The program is meant to provide some basic means of income but with services rendered as oppose to just getting weekly cash relief without doing any work.

Of the 331 applicants, 179 are Palauans and 152 are foreigners.  As of July 3, 158 have been placed with various ministries, agencies, NGOs and state governments with 100 still pending placements and 35 still being processed.

The foreign nationalities include Bangladeshi, Chinese, Chuukese, German, Japanese, Koreans, Kosraens, Nepalese, Filippinos, Russians, Taiwanese, Ukraine, US, and Yapese citizens.

In order for the people to qualify and apply to the program, their employers have to qualify for this assistance and have to approve having their employees temporarily employed elsewhere and promise to take them back upon the completion of the program.

This government assistance is part of the Palau CROSS Act, the humanitarian assistance provided by the government during this pandemic and will end on January 30, 2021. 

Temporary Work Force Program, pandemic unemployment financial assistance, and pandemic business relief loan are some of the programs provided under the government CROSS Act.