What kind of financial aid is available for Self-Employed workers affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?
The abrupt end to the ski season hit everyone hard, but those whose livelihoods depend on the lifts turning were hit harder than many.
A good number of the 350 independent ski and snowboard instructors on SkiBro will have seen a good chunk of their annual earnings disappear with 7 of their 20 seasonal work weeks being cancelled, including two busy weeks at Easter.
The aim of this post is to help point them in the right direction for their respective government coronavirus assistance programs in France, the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
That said, we’re not lawyers and we read many of these sites in our second (and third, and fourth) language, so if we missed anything please let us know!
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Government Aid for the Self-Employed: France
Emergency funding for the self-employed was announced by the Federation of Auto-Entrepreneurs (FNAE) on March 16, 2020. This has since been confirmed by official decree on March 25, 2020. A solidarity fund has now been set up by the government to assist the self-employed.
The amount of this aid will be equal to your loss of turnover in March 2020 and will be capped at €1,500 per month for the duration of the health crisis. If your monthly turnover loss is less than €1,500 you will receive a smaller sum, in line with that figure.
Who is eligible to claim self-employed government assistance in France?
You are eligible for government support if you are self-employed, you have stopped working due to health reasons (coronavirus), or if your turnover has dropped by more than 70%.
You cannot claim this aid if:
- you created your self-business after January 31, 2020 and you declare your turnover monthly
- you created your self-business after October 1, 2019 and you declare your turnover quarterly
- you exercise a full-time salaried activity in parallel
- you receive a retirement pension
- you had sick leave of two weeks or more in March 2020 (update March 27: we do not yet have confirmation for work stoppages for childcare)
For more information please visit the Self-Employed Workers Portal.
Additional emergency financial assistance from URSSAF and CPSTI
If your loss of revenue causes you to encounter real financial difficulties, you can ask URSSAF for exceptional financial assistance. This should not be confused with the Solidarity Fund mentioned above.
How much is it?
The amount of this assistance is decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on your situation. Its amount can vary between 500 and 2000 €.
Who can benefit ?
All self-employed workers in serious financial difficulty can apply for this assistance.
You can apply here.
And download this form.
If you’re working as an independent instructor, but not registered as an auto-entrepreneur you can also apply for assistance from URSSAF. Download this form then visit https://www.impots.gouv.fr/portail/particulier click “votre espace particulier”, then “messagerie sécurisée” then “écrire” and choose “covid19“)
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Government Aid for the Self-Employed: UK
After considerable public outcry, the UK has introduced a scheme to allow the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed as self-isolation/government restrictions continue.
Who can claim self-employed government assistance in the UK?
You can apply for this coronavirus assistance if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- traded in the tax year 2019-20
- are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
- intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
- have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Government Aid for the Self-Employed: ITALY
The Italian government has gone as far as to say that nobody will lose their job because of the epidemic.
This includes self-employed workers who, due to their autonomous or atypical nature, generally do not have access to the main social safety nets. To this end, steps were taken to ensure income support for workers not covered by the exemption layoffs, such as seasonal workers, including those in the tourism sector, self-employed workers and temporary workers.
This compensation comes in the amount of a €600 payment which will reach nearly 5 million people in Italy, including around 83,000 people working in the sports industry.
Temporary Tax Benefits
Suspension of taxes, as well as payments/contributions/withholdings for employees, for people and businesses operating in the sectors most affected are in effect for March and April. The sectors concerned are: tourism-hotel, spa, passenger transport, catering and bars, culture (cinemas, theaters), sports, education, amusement parks, events (fairs / conventions), game rooms and betting centers.
Loan Repayment Suspension
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), professionals and sole proprietorships will benefit from a moratorium on an overall volume of loans estimated at around 220 billion euros . Until 30 September, lines of credit in current accounts, loans for advances on debt securities, maturities of short-term loans and installments of loans and installments due to expire are frozen.
More information on all the above COVID-19 financial measures is available at the Ministry of Economy and Finance
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Government Aid for the Self-Employed: Switzerland
On March 25, 2020, the Federal Council adopted new measures to mitigate the economic consequences of the spread of the coronavirus.
Who is eligible to claim self-employed government assistance in Switzerland?
Employees who are no longer able to work because (a) they need to stay at home to look after their children or (b) they are in self-quarantine, are eligible for federal compensation (“Erwerbsersatz”).
Employers who continue to pay their employees’ salaries may obtain the compensation on behalf of their employees.
Similar compensation is available for self-employed individuals who are unable to work due to closure of their business or a ban of public events.
If the person is eligible for compensation through other means (i.e., insurance), no government compensation is paid. Employees who receive a short-time work compensation (“Kurzarbeitszeitentschädigung”) are not eligible for government compensation.
How much can I claim?
The government compensation can be claimed from 19 March 2020 onwards. Compensation is 80 percent of average gross income with a maximum of CHF 196 per day.
How do I claim this assistance?
The allowance is not paid automatically. The claimant must personally contact the compensation office , which will then pay the compensation directly to him/her. The compensation fund is the one that collects contributions. The application form can be downloaded here.
The application procedure will be defined and implemented as soon as possible. Despite significant efforts, the system will only be fully operational in early or mid-April.
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Government Aid for the Self-Employed: Austria
Austria has announced a Hardship Fund for one-person companies and micro-entrepreneurs, said to bring ‘fast and unbureaucratic emergency aid’.
The newly self-employed, independent employees, one-person companies and micro-entreprises with up to a maximum of 10 employees receive payouts from the €1 billion fund.
The initial payment from this Hardship Fund is an ‘emergency aid payment’ of up to €1,000. Subsequently, additional support payments of up to €6,000 is possible.
Amount of support
- €500 for those with a net income less of than €6,000 per year.
- €1,000 for those with a net income of more than €6,000 per year.
Subsequent grants, for a maximum of three months.
- Up to € 2,000 per month depending on the level of income loss.
The grants do not have to be repaid. It is possible to switch to the emergency aid fund endowed with 15 billion euros. The benefit from the hardship fund is then credited there. The additional use of state guarantees is permitted.
Who is eligible to claim COVID-19 government assistance in Austria?
The basis for the funding is the partial replacement of lost income from self-employment and from businesses that are economically significantly affected by the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
The following requirements must be met to receive government funding:
- Independent operator of a commercial company or any freelance profession, regardless of whether or not a chamber member
- Key figure of the business register (KUR) or a tax number in Austria
- Establishment or start of business before December 31, 2019
- Registered office or permanent establishment in Austria
- Be affected “by an economically significant threat from COVID-19”,
ie. the funding applicant must
- no longer able to cover running costs or
- be affected by an officially ordered ban on entry due to COVID-19 or
- have a drop in sales of at least 50 percent compared to the same month of the previous year
The use of these aids and guarantees and short-time work (for any employees in small companies) AND the hardship fund is expressly possible.
You may not receive funding if:
- You have an income of more than approx €60,000 gross per year (80 percent of the annual social security law maximum contribution basis)
- You have ab income of less than approx.5,500 euros per year (annual de minimis limit)
- You have additional income within the meaning of Section 2 (3) of the Income Tax Act above the monthly de minimis threshold of EUR 460.66 (e.g. from renting and leasing)
- You hold insurance in health and / or pension insurance
- You have pending bankruptcy proceedings or reorganization needs
How to apply for financial assistance in Austria:
Apply online at the Chamber of Commerce until December 31, 2020
Businesses also have the opportunity to apply for bridging loans or government wage subsidies of up to 90%