Dutch government demanding repayment of 1.4 billion euros in coronavirus wage support

THE HAGUE - Tens of thousands of employers who received wage support from the Dutch government between June and the end of September 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis must repay some or all of the money. So far, the UWV is demanding the repayment of 1.4 billion euros from 39,000 companies. There are also employers who are entitled to a supplementary wage subsidy, like KLM which will receive an additional 59 million euros for the period from June to September 2020. 


As part of the temporary NOW scheme to prevent massive job losses during the pandemic, employers were entitled to be reimbursed part of their wage costs in the event of a significant loss of turnover as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The amount to which they were entitled depended on the eventual loss of income and total wage costs, but the benefits agency UWV first paid out advances based on the estimated loss of turnover. 


Between June and September 2020, the second period in which the NOW money was available, UWV granted an advance to more than 63,500 employers. About 55,000 employers now know what they were definitively entitled to for those months. 


Seven out of ten of them must repay some level of the NOW support they received. For 42 percent, it even concerns the entire amount of support received, for example because the loss of turnover was not large enough or employers waived the support. A small group has to return all the money they received because they failed to indicate how much turnover they had actually lost. 


On the other hand, there are 16,000 employers who will still receive money from the UWV. This involves a total amount of 302 million euros. A spokesperson for UWV indicated that this is not always because these companies had made too conservative an estimate of the loss of turnover or wage costs. The advance they received in 2020 was 80 percent of the final amount they were entitled to. Anyone who had calculated correctly will still receive the remaining fifth of the NOW subsidy payment. 


Temporary employment agency Adecco must repay almost 7 million of the 11 million euros advanced to them, according to the NOW register that the UWV published online. The Dutch branch of chemical company Chemours must repay 3.7 million euros. 


KLM, the largest recipient of NOW support, will have soon received a total of more than 344 million euros in compensation for wage costs for the second period. Budget airline Transavia, also part of Air France-KLM, will receive almost 6 million euros in additional support. 

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