Representational Image

Ministry of Finance, the agency tasked to implement the COVID-19 relief package, began accepting applications of affected businesses on Wednesday at the designated processing center, across from former Cause Way Shell Gas Station.  The building currently houses Finance Minister’s Office and Code of Ethics Office.

The press release issued by the Ministry of Finance said that they are currently accepting applications for Temporary Relief Measures as authorized by public law RPPL 10-56.  The relief measures include temporary job programs, unemployment stipends, basic utility access, tax deferral and small business loans with priority going to visitor-service industries.

The information invites employers with registered business names from A through I to apply on Wednesday April 29.  Business names beginning with letters J to R are invited to apply on Thursday April 30 and businesses names beginning with letter S through Z are invited to apply today, Friday, May 1, 2020.

Employers are required to provide copies of the employer’s Social Security Quarterly Returns (Yellow Slips and Accompanying Receipts) for the periods ending December 31, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

For employees affected, Ministry of Finance said they don’t need to submit individual applications, employers and former employees are responsible for providing benefit information after the application process is complete.

Individual employees that have no business applying on their behalf may apply directly at this office according to Minister Sadang.  Again, this relief assistance is for employees that were affected due to COVID-19 impact such as a company closure or company terminating staff due to lack of customers, suspending or reducing employee work hours.

Employees that have been terminated or no longer working may be placed in work programs through Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs or with other companies.

Authorized relief measures for affected individuals and businesses are outlined in the law and they include temporary job programs, unemployment stipends, basic utility access, tax deferral and small business loans.  How much the stipend will be and how it will be distributed are still being put together in the regulation.

In earlier government briefings, Minister Sadang expressed that the assistance provided under the Temporary Relief Measures law are aimed at ensuring that employment in the private sector is sustained by providing means for businesses to maintain their employees during this COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also aimed at helping businesses sustain their operations through other relief options such as tax deferment, power utility subsidies or no interest loans.