About Subsidies

FASE

Fase was announced early in the pandemic, Awg 950 in aid, for all who lost their jobs; the MinSAL, Social Affairs, Labor, wanted to look like a hero and invented this NEW instrument that could/should/would have been smoothly handled by SVB, but never mind, water under the bridge.

Over time, the rules were made clear, ZZP, the self-employed solo operators, not registered at SVB added, and a crew of 30 people hired, a committee set up, then slow processing began.

You have to understand that SVB has all names, numbers, dates and amounts on file, ready at the press of a button.

But, no!

FASE had to solicit applications, enter the data, including bank account information, tax ID number, and an employer business plan, in order to create the NEW redundant thing.

According to my sources about 12,200 FASE requests were made, many of them by people working in the grey economy which couldn’t present letters from their employers, had no pay slips, filing incomplete applications, destined for rejection.

That’s what they get for being tax-evaders, all these years.

Until Tuesday this week, 4,800 FASE subsidies were released. They are being paid every two days, at a random order. When received, inspected, and approved, they go to a committee which hands them down for execution to SVB. Efficiency has never been our strong suit.

My info is from May 12th, and we’re talking about April’s subsidy.

May & June are supposed to go smoother. Then the program will be evaluated.

FASE is hopeful to conclude its April round #1 payments, by the end of this week.  

If you receive a wage-subsidy in May, you will be dropped from FASE. Pensioners are not eligible.   

WAGE Subsidy

The famous Aruba salary subsidy, supposed to arrive in April, was discussed at the “Dialogo Social Laboral Tripartite,” at the beginning of May. The gathering included GOA, the private sector, and union representatives. In that meeting it was clearly agreed that the subsidy given to employers, and in turn handed out to employees, in lieu of lost wages, will be 60% of their pay, and not 80% as dictated at first.

Local businesses couldn’t pitch in with the original 20% during a zero income period, and after a great effort at persuasion, and lobbying, the Dialogo Social Laboral Tripartite was convened and the decision amended.

YET GOA DID NOT TELL ANYONE, and did not create a legal framework to enforce it, leaving the employers no choice but attempt to convince their staffers to sign letters of agreement, which would protect them down the road from possible lawsuits.

As a result of GOA’s intentional silence, employers are unable to easily reduce work hours and corresponding pay on a unilateral basis.

GOA is obviously talking out of both sides of its mouth here.

On one hand meeting employers’ needs.

On the other not telling a soul, so that potential voters won’t hang their 40% loss of income on the government.

Legal advice reiterates that the current law and jurisprudence does not give any space to business owners to make “reasonable” decisions on work hours and pay in an unprecedented crisis such as this one, depending on each company’s situation. 

Thus, it is still advisable to reach an agreement with the employees.

GOA could have made it easier, because it was agreed that “minimum payment of 60% of salary,” is a basis of the subsidy program. GOA was asked to publicly announce it. It was also asked for a legal framework, but nada.

All the business community has is an official letter from GOA and SVB outlining the subsidy conditions and the intent for a minimum of 60% of salaries to be paid.

And that sums up the tools available, at this time.

More work for accountants and lawyers, to make unique calculations and draw up agreements.

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May 14, 2020
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Bati Bleki by Rona Coster