Draft bill on new application round for business cost support and closure compensation now out for comments
A new application round will be organised for business cost support and closure compensation. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment invites comments and opinions on the proposed amendments to the Act on Support for Business Costs by 3 February 2022. The aim is to submit the bill to Parliament for consideration in early February. The Act is due to enter into force on 1 March 2022, after which companies could apply for support from the State Treasury.
The Government proposes amendments to the Act on Support for Business Costs concerning closure compensation and business cost support. The closure compensation will compensate for the losses to business activities caused by the coronavirus-related closures and prohibitions of public events. The business cost support compensates for the negative impacts of the less severe restrictions on the sectors and companies affected by these restrictions.
With regard to closure compensation, eligible companies would include those where premises have been closed in full or in part or where public events organised by these companies have been prohibited by a provision of an act or by order of an authority to manage a pandemic. A less severe restriction or recommendation issued by an authority would not constitute a closure measure referred to in this section. The compensation would not cover events for which the use of a COVID-19 passport would be permitted. The closure compensation would cover the period from 21 December 2021 to 28 February 2022. The amount of compensation would be based on the number of closure days during the support period.
Closure compensation applies to companies with fewer than 50 employees. The Government is currently preparing a separate scheme for large companies. Support for large companies requires EU notification. The business cost support is not restricted based on the company’s size.
The provisions on business cost support for sectors and companies that have suffered from other restrictions will be amended to meet the need for compensation caused by the new and ongoing less severe restrictions. The time periods in the section would be amended to correspond with the new situation, i.e. the support period would be 1 December 2021–28 February 2022 and the months of the reference period would be from autumn 2021. In other respects, the Act would mainly correspond with the content of the current Act. However, the support would be allocated during a later support period and the reference period would be redefined. The percentage in the decrease in turnover and the company’s own liability would be reduced from 30% to 20%.
The amount and procedure of the support would largely correspond to the current provisions. Since the support and reference periods would be redefined, the amounts of support paid may differ from the earlier periods. Aligning the reference periods more closely with the support period will make companies established later (business activities must have started no later than 1 October 2021) eligible for support. The total maximum amount of compensation per group would be EUR 2.3 million.
All coronavirus-related aid will be affected by the duration of the EU’s exemptions to state aid rules, which will expire on 30 June 2022.
Certain operators in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Education and Culture and, for example, cultural institutions are not considered economic activities referred to in the EU’s business subsidy legislation and they therefore fall outside this support. The Ministry of Education and Culture is currently preparing a support scheme for these operators.
Mikko Huuskonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 3732