100,000 jobs at risk because of small print
by Eduard Schaepman, on 29 Jan 2021
I know - I promised not to write about corona anymore. But I just can't let this go. Co-Founder Jasper Bekkering and I speak to each other several times a day, of course. That's always been the case, and even more so in times of crisis like these. We are doing everything in our power to ensure Tribes' survival: unfortunately, we have not been able to extend the contracts of some fantastic people, and we even let one location go because that made the survival of the rest even more certain. We've been 'fighting' to qualify since the first NOW subsidy, and this month we decided to go straight to the top.
In an open letter to Ministers Wiebes, Keizer and Ongering of Economic Affairs & Climate Change, Ministers Koolmees, Van 't Wout and Mulder of Social Affairs & Employment, Minister Hoekstra of Finance, and all members of the Lower House of the Economic Affairs & Climate Change and Social Affairs & Employment Committees, we raised the issue of the crooked regulations that make a lot of Dutch companies ineligible for the support packages.
Because for the NOW, the NBA also considers a parent-subsidiary relationship. As a result, Tribes' decline in turnover is not assessed as a stand-alone entity but is consolidated at the highest level. To achieve this, a company will have to incur high accounting costs, especially if it is a foreign parent company - as in the case of Tribes. The consequence is that it is practically impossible to demonstrate a decrease in turnover of at least 20%, and many companies do not qualify for the subsidy. This is also the case for us: we have a foreign investor as a parent company, and therefore Tribes alone is not considered, but all companies that are part of our parent company (and there are quite a few, so it is really not possible to 'just' demonstrate a decrease in turnover).
Very simple explanation: Suppose you have 5 companies under a mother company, four of which make an 80% loss. The other company is not making a loss at all but is doing extremely well because it is in the food sector. If you add and subtract everything, only a 10% drop in turnover remains at the highest level, that of the parent company. And that is why all four companies with 80% turnover loss can forget about the NOW subsidy. And a lot of jobs in the Netherlands are at risk.
The open letter is a direct appeal to our administrators to wake up. What are we doing? No support is being paid to companies in dire straits because they are part of a group that also includes companies that are doing well because of the crisis. As a result, employees are being made redundant, who will go to the UWV and subsequently receive social benefits there. The group of unemployed, and thus the number of social benefits, will be many times larger than when there are support packages for companies that have an investor.
And our government keeps saying that 'we are going to help everyone who has a 20% drop in turnover'. That is quite a disappointment when you read the small print.