Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius to be compensated for COVID-19 losses

The Dutch Government has developed an emergency package for employees and companies in Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius that are affected by social distancing policies imposed due to the coronavirus (covid-19).

The package was announced by Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops following a cabinet meeting on Friday.

Knops said: “Due to the restrictions imposed on travel, the tourism sector, on which the islands are highly dependent, is virtually ‘paralyzed’. This has a major effect on corporate profitability and employment. This new package provides employees and companies in the Caribbean Netherlands with the necessary extra support.”

Employers, who face a loss of turnover greater than 20% and as a result cannot keep staff working, may apply for a three-month compensation from the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN) Unit for Social Affairs and Employment.

Once entrepreneurs accept this emergency measure, they must keep their staff in service and continue to pay them in full

Self-employed islanders will receive 80% of their earnings through a subsidy set out in the Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act (WML).

Companies experiencing liquidity issues can receive a loan through the Borgstelling MKB-kredieten (BMKB) program. This loan will also apply to farmers and fisherfolk.

Larger firms can access the GO Scheme for loans above €1.5 million.

The cabinet is also discussing the possibility of ending the collection of island taxes on entrepreneurs.

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