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Czech government approves more aid to ease economic burden of coronavirus

Reuters | Prague | Updated: 01-04-2020 00:12 IST | Created: 01-04-2020 00:12 IST
Czech government approves more aid to ease economic burden of coronavirus

The Czech government approved more aid for companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday, an effort to prevent massive layoffs because large parts of the economy have ground to a halt. Companies will be covered for most of the salaries paid to employees if they retain them, with the exact level depending on how strongly the government's measures against coronavirus affected them, Labor Minister Jana Malacova said.

"It is a signal to companies - don't fire people, we know you are in trouble, we will help you with the biggest expenses, the salaries, and we will help you to keep your firm afloat, so when the crisis passes, you will be able return to normal," she said at a news conference after a special government session. The self-employed will receive a one-off subsidy of 25,000 crowns ($1,006.00) upon application and meeting a list of criteria like reporting a 10% drop in income in the first quarter, Finance Minister Alena Schillerova said.

Originally, the ministry proposed to pay the self-employed 15,000 crowns a month. As the country banned non-essential movement of people and closed pubs and most shops in mid-March, analysts and institutions such as the central bank forecast a steep drop in gross domestic product this year.

The Finance Ministry will offer the first glimpse of the size of the decline on Wednesday when it releases data on central budget revenue and expenditure for March. ($1 = 24.8510 Czech crowns)



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