On 16 September 2022 the federal government reached an agreement on support measures for companies in difficulty as a result of the energy crisis.

The government has adopted similar support measures as those which were in force during the coronavirus pandemic. In this respect, the government has introduced a temporary unemployment scheme “energy” and companies can obtain longer deadlines for the payment of their social contributions.

For whom?

The measures are intended to apply to all companies that find themselves in difficulty as a result of the energy crisis.

However, each measure taken may be subject to specific conditions.

Which measures?

Energy-related temporary unemployment

Principle

The scheme guarantees workers and employees an allowance of 70% of their gross salary which can be capped to a maximum, supplemented by an allowance of €6.10 per day. This additional allowance will be paid by the employer.

The conditions of eligibility are part of the European Union's Temporary Crisis Framework to compensate for high energy prices.

Conditions

This support measure is only applicable to companies whose (1) energy costs exceed 3% of production costs and (2) energy bill has doubled between 2021 and 2022.

Regarding to the conditions of implementation, companies must give their employees three days' notice.

Temporary deferral of social security contributions

A deferral, reduction or exemption from the payment of social security contributions may be granted. This measure is reserved for companies for which difficulties have been identified during the last two quarters of 2022, the first quarter of 2023 or during the annual holidays. Such measures are subject to conditions. These conditions have not yet been published.

Other measures

Other measures such as a moratorium on bankruptcies or a reduction in excise duties paid by companies have also been adopted.

From a fiscal point of view, it has been foreseen that the payment of taxes can be postponed.

For how long?

These measures will take effect on 1 October 2022. Some measures, such as the possibility of temporary unemployment, seem to be currently planned to last until the end of 2022. However, this end date may be postponed.

Conclusion

The exact contours of these measures are yet to be determined. The government has not yet published precise descriptions of these measures or their conditions of application.