(Updated 26 March 2020, 9am CET)
Writing this from my home in Norway, I know there are thousands of businesses like yours that are struggling to keep up with the barrage of news, announcements and information about assistance. So while it’s important to always check in on the latest with your local government or authority, here are a few key points you should get your head around to see if your business — and the people you employ — are eligible for government assistance or support, writes Planday’s Country Director for the Nordics Jens Blom.
There’s no denying things are pretty crazy out there. Life in the Nordics today is not as we normally know it. Businesses in hospitality, retail, leisure and entertainment are under unprecedented pressure and people everywhere are feeling the challenges of the crisis that is COVID-19.
Just a few weeks ago we were toasting the many Nordic success stories awarded a Michelin Star who are powered by Planday and yet today the world seems very different. We have tips for businesses like yours in the hospitality, retail, leisure and entertainment sectors to invest now and come out of this crisis even stronger, so head over to The Planday Blog to check out these ideas from our industry experts and see what this means for you.
So here’s a quick list of some of the support measures your business might be able to access in Sweden and Norway to help you bounce back stronger. If you do business in Denmark, the UK or Germany, we have an article about how businesses in those markets can also take advantage of Government support to bounce back stronger. They will be on our blog shortly.
The Government has the following forms of support available.
For businesses in Sweden 🇸🇪
1. Access to loans, credit and guarantees for Swedish businesses
Businesses around the world right now are making adjustments to manage cash flow and stay liquid as the challenges from COVID-19 continue. Small and medium-sized businesses in Sweden will be able to apply for funds to help them manage this time and keep as many of their people employed as possible.
Almi Företagspartner AB will get SEK 3 billion to increase its lending to small and medium-sized businesses. If your business has been impacted by the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19, please get in touch with the bank and see if the loans program is a possibility for you.
Businesses which export out of Sweden will be able to apply for private and state-sponsored credit after the Swedish Export Credit Corporation’s credit framework was increased by SEK 75 billion, to a total of SEK 100 billion. If your business’ export trade has been affected by COVID-19, you should contact the corporation to discuss your options.
A faster and more secure payment for small, medium and large export businesses and the suppliers which work with them has been introduced so your business and the people who work for you can continue to engage in export work during COVID-19.
2. Government support for workers’ wages
We encourage businesses like yours to look into the support that is available to keep the people who work for you in a job. To help ensure people retain around 90 per cent of their wage, the Government can make a contribution to your business’ wage costs, coming into effect from 7 April 2020.
3. Government pay of sick leave for two months
It can be tough covering things when you have sick staff at the best of times, but it’s even more stressful these days. During April and May, the Government is proposing to assume the cost of people’s sick pay.
4. Deferred tax payments
As I said above, keeping your business liquid and managing your cash flow is one of the most important things you can do for your business right now, no matter what that business does. There is also a Government proposal that the payment of an employers’ social security contributions, preliminary tax on salaries and value added tax that are reported monthly or quarterly can be deferred.
As always, the situation with businesses in Sweden and any access to assistance to help you get through changes regularly, sometimes even daily. You should monitor the sites I’ve linked to in this article to make sure you’re up to date with the most recent developments.
For businesses in Norway 🇳🇴
Like businesses across the Nordic region, Norway is also feeling the effects of the immediate economic downturn as a result of COVID-19. Here are some of the measures businesses in Norway should consider to help them bounce back from this crisis:
1. Loss-making companies can reallocate that loss against last year’s taxed surplus
Liquidity and cash flow are some of the most important investments you can make at the moment, so if your business becomes loss-making as a result of COVID-19, you can reallocate the loss against your taxed surplus from last year and try to save some cash.
2. Loss-making companies can postpone wealth tax payments
If your company makes a loss, you can now postpone the dividends you have to pay to owners to cover the wealth tax and — as in the above — save yourself some cash.
3. Reduced salary obligations for laid-off workers
To help avoid mass lay-offs and help businesses’ liquidity, the number of days’ salary you will have to pay for laid-off workers will reduce from 15 to two before the person is eligible for unemployment benefits.
4. Remove waiting time between when businesses provide salary to laid-off workers
In order to reduce the loss of income for workers who are laid-off, the ordinary three day waiting period will between when an employer stops paying salary and someone can access unemployment benefits has been removed.
Stay safe. Look after yourself. Look after your people.
We understand that this is a very worrying time for many businesses and people around the world. We are ready to support businesses, make communications more seamless and bring your team together with smart digital tools.
This piece is general in nature and should not be taken as professional, legal or qualified advice. Before taking any action at this time, we urge you to read the terms and conditions of each of the relevant agencies and seek your own specific professional advice before making any business decision. All information has been sourced from Government agencies and websites, as well as news and other coverage, and links are contained within.
If you or your business are a Planday customer, our support team is available to assist your business bounce back stronger once this crisis ends.