The Argentine Government announced on Monday a new plan for assistance to companies, which provides, among other things, for the payment of part of the workers’ wages, to “avoid a massive closure of companies and layoffs” in the midst of the COVID crisis- 19, as explained by the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas.
The so-called Emergency Assistance to Work and Production (ATP) program will consist of the postponement or reduction of up to 95% of the payment of employer contributions and the payment of about 50% of the salary of employees of companies in crisis. for the mandatory quarantine in force in Argentina since March 20 and the granting of loans at zero interest rates for self-employed workers who saw their incomes decrease.
In addition, unemployment insurance will rise from 6,000 to 10,000 pesos (from 89 to 148 dollars) per month, according to the decree published this Monday in the Official Gazette.
MEASURES TO AVOID THE CLOSURE OF COMPANIES
“We aim to avoid a massive closure of companies and layoffs because we know that this greatly affects the country’s productive capacity. They are damages that are often irreversible,” Kulfas said in an interview with Radio with Vos from Buenos Aires.
So far, some 420,000 companies have registered for the ATP program, out of a total of 600,000 that exist in Argentina, which means that nearly two out of three companies have considered that they are affected by the quarantine situation, in an already complicated situation. for the two years of recession dragged down by the Argentine economy since 2018, with high levels of inflation.
“We estimate that about half of registered private employment will receive benefits” from the new assistance plan, the official said.
The Minister of Productive Development specified that the companies most affected in the country, because they would also be the last to emerge from this situation, are tourism, hotels and some cultural activities because they require the mobilization and gathering of people, “which surely it is the last thing to be restored. ”
“The tourism industry, worldwide, foresees a lost 2020,” acknowledged Kulfas, who later pointed out that on another step are the companies that did not invoice or had a very sharp drop in sales, while in a better situation are those that they were not affected, in particular “the industry linked to health” and the sectors related to the sale of food.
PAYMENT OF PART OF THE WAGES AND CREDITS AT ZERO RATE
According to the new ATP plan, the State will pay all companies affected by preventive and compulsory social isolation, who were unable to open or had a very significant reduction in sales of 50% of the salary to each of their workers, ” with a minimum amount equivalent to a vital and mobile minimum wage of 16,800 pesos ($ 250), and up to a maximum of double the minimum wage, about 33,750 pesos ($ 500), “said the minister.
The portfolio estimates that 8 out of 10 employees will have coverage of half the salary, or even more, depending on the salary levels registered.
Meanwhile, loans of up to 150,000 pesos (about $ 2,230) will be provided to self-employed workers through their credit cards, with a grace period until October or November and payment in 12 installments, without interest, since the State will assume the financial cost.