While 12 months ago, the world in many ways felt as one in the fight against COVID-19, today there is a wide range of “normal” around the globe. Some countries are still watching their numbers rise, while others are far ahead in the vaccine race. Some locations are opening back up both for business and leisure, inviting employees to come back into the office, while others are still experiencing lockdowns and economic slowdowns.
As a result of the disparity in various geographies – it’s important to stay on top of the government relief that is available for your international employees. Let’s look at a few examples of government relief that’s currently available and being extended until the end of 2021 and even 2022.
Singapore’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant
The COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) is aimed at employees who lost their job during COVID-19 or were forced to take involuntary no-pay leave (NPL) for 3 consecutive months. These employees are eligible to receive up to $700 per month for 3 months. A reduced grant of $500 per month for 3 months is available to employees who lost at least half of their salary (or Net Trade Income for self-employed workers) on average over 3 consecutive months. Applications are currently open until 31st December 2021.
Australia’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
Down under, Australia managed to contain COVID-19 during the first and second waves, but is currently seeing a resurgence of cases. For those who are impacted, this payment is provided as a lump sum of $1,500 for every 14-day period where an employee cannot work due to quarantine, isolation or illness with COVID-19. You can also claim this benefit if you need to take off work to care for someone as a result of COVID-19. You need to be able to show that you have been asked to isolate by a relevant person employed by the department of health, such as WA Health for Western Australia, and ACT Health for Central Australia.
Canada’s Emergency Wage Subsidy
Providing support to employers who need to cover employee wages, Canada offers two initiatives, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Recovery Hire Program. The subsidy provides partial wages so that employers can re-hire workers to prevent unemployment, and keep employees on payroll even when they are not able to work due to the pandemic. This has currently been extended to October 23rd 2021. The recovery hire program is currently available until November 20th, and both relief grants need to be applied to after each 4-week period of the program. If you are a ‘highly affected sector’, you may be eligible for guaranteed low-interest loans of between $25,000 and $1,000,000 from the HASCAP program, open for applications until December 31st 2021.
Ireland’s Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme
Many businesses have relied on Ireland’s EWSS scheme to get them through the last 18 months, and last month the government announced an extension to 31st December 2021, with the current payment rates also extended through to 30th September 2021. Your business needs to demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover/customer orders for 2021 compared to its 2019 numbers. This scheme gives employees a subsidy per employee that can help keep these workers on your payroll.
Additional Government Benefits to Consider
As well as specific government stipends, grants and loan agreements – many countries have put into place deferrals or suspension of tax obligations to make it easier for employers. For example in Indonesia, the corporate income tax rate was cut from 25% to 22% in 2020 and 2021, and down to 20% starting in 2022. Any businesses that qualify will get a 30% reduction on their corporate income tax instalments.
In Iceland, the building sector will get 100% VAT refunds for the whole of 2021, and the bed-night tax on overnight stays has also been suspended until the end of 2021 to help boost the tourism industry.
In the UK, HMRC has announced that there will be no fines for late tax filing this year, as long as this can be proven to be connected to the coronavirus pandemic. In Cyprus, VAT payments due 10th May, 10th June and 10th July, many of which had already been deferred 3 months, are now being provided with an extension of an additional 2 months, making them due 10th October, 10th November and 10th December respectively.
Keeping Full Transparency Over Your Global Employee Interests
When your business works internationally, it can be tough to stay on top of the details of every single location where you have a presence. Which countries still have relief schemes happening? What are the deadlines and eligibility criteria for each initiative? Where are relief programs being closed down due to an economy that’s bouncing back – and where is the situation worsening where you need to keep an eye on employee wellbeing and business continuity?
This can be even harder when you do not have your own local presence in the location in question, and you’re relying on an intermediary who has hired your employees on your behalf. Some Employer of Record (EOR) providers won’t stay on top of government relief programs, subsidies, or tax adjustments for your employees – expecting you to do the leg work if you want to reap the available benefits.
At Papaya Global, transparency is one of our core values, and we work hard to ensure that our customers always have a full view of their global workforce, including the benefits and tax requirements in each country in which you do business. Your employees are part of your organizational family wherever they are in the world, and to keep morale high and your workers feeling like a single team, it’s essential to make sure that no-one feels left out in the cold.
Our aggregated EOR model means you have a single platform to see all your global employees, information about their location, and full transparency and visibility into their total gross and net payroll. Whilst our unique global governance method including our centre of excellence, customer success manager and local in-country partner EOR are on hand to answer all questions and assist with anything that can help make managing your remote workers and employees easier during this difficult time.
Want to see how Papaya Global works for yourself? Schedule a demo of our global workforce management solution.