Small business wage subsidy program
Application for financial assistance under the Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) of the Department of Labor and Employment has ended.
The DOLE said it has been swamped with volumes of requests and the P1.6 billion allotment for the CAMP is about to be depleted.
Online application for the Department of Finance Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program has also closed last April 15.
In the SBWS program, the national government will provide a two-month wage subsidy for affected employees of small businesses to help mitigate the impact of the quarantine in Luzon. The subsidy is meant to assist small businesses retain their employees during the quarantine.
Under the SBWS, the government, through the Social Security System, shall provide a wage subsidy of between P5,000 to P8,000 (based on the regional minimum wage) per month per eligible employee. In the Cordillera, an eligible employee will receive P5,500.
Applications will be completed by the employer on behalf of their employees. The SSS will only be accepting applications from April 16 to May 8.
Eligible small businesses are those registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the SSS. The business should have paid its tax obligations and SSS contributions during the past three years, up to January 2020.
Whether a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship, the business must not be in the BIR’s large taxpayer service list.
Small businesses are classified in two categories: category A (non-essential) and category B (quasi-essential).
Those in category A are those forced to stop operation due to the quarantine. Category B are those that are allowed to operate a skeleton force. Employers in areas where other forms of quarantine have been put in place by their respective local government unit may also qualify.
Eligible employees are those working in a small business; must be employed and active as of March 1, 2020 but unable to work due to the quarantine; did not get paid by employer for at least two weeks during the temporary closure or suspension of work in accordance with DOLE Labor Advisory 1, s. 2020; can be of any contract status (e.g., regular, probationary, regular seasonal, project-based, fixed-term) and must be certified by the employer in the application as having met all these criteria.
Employees who are not eligible are those working from home or part of the skeleton force; on leave for the entire duration of the quarantine, whether with or without pay; already a recipient of SSS unemployment benefits, to avoid duplication and those who have settled or in-process SSS final claims (funeral, retirement, death, and total disability).
Employees who have received a subsidy from the DOLE’s CAMP may only avail of the first month of the SBWS.
To avail of the program, first, small businesses must maintain the employment status of all eligible employee beneficiaries before the quarantine and throughout the SBWS period. This will be checked during the monitoring and evaluation stage. Non-compliance with this condition shall result in the employer refunding to the government the wage subsidy amount and second, employees cannot resign during the quarantine.
The application period is from April 16 to 30 and the first tranche of payout is from May 1 to 15. The second tranche of payout is from May 16 to 31. The schedule may change depending on the timing of the quarantine.
Modes of payment are via ATM through the employee’s SSS UMID cards; from employee’s bank account for PESOnet participating banks; employee’s Union Bank Quick Card (partnership with SSS); employee’s E-wallet: PayMaya and cash pick-up arrangement through remittance transfer companies.