MPs, gov't look to extend benefits during pandemic for bankrupt entrepreneurs, taxi drivers, foster parents

Photo: Tobias Heine/Pixabay, CC0

Bankrupt entrepreneurs may be able to draw a so-called compensation bonus of 500 crowns per day, retroactively, if their businesses were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an amendment approved by MPs and government proposals. 

The proposed change applies to only natural persons – entrepreneurs in bankruptcy. According to Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová (for ANO), extending the range of beneficiaries was made possible by the preliminary consent of the European Commission, which had previously rejected such a measure.

The Ministry of Finance has previously stated that it wants bankrupt entrepreneurs to be able to draw on all assistance programs against the effects of the pandemic. If signed into law, as expected, persons in bankruptcy will be able to apply for the allowance within two months of its entry into force.

Based on a proposal by MP Jan Volný (ANO), deputies voted to expand the range of reasons for which it is possible to apply for a contribution. For example, for a hairdresser unable to provide services in hospitals or social care facilities because of restricted access.

At the proposal of the Pirate Party and Party of Mayors and Independents (STAN), foster parents who work under so-called agreements on the performance of work and under other arrangements will also be entitled to a contribution.

The government also decided this week that the compensation bonus should also apply to taxi drivers. Minister Schillerová said on Friday, when asked by MPs, that this was made possible following y a change in the interpretation of existing law by the Ministry of Industry, recognizing a taxi vehicle transporting persons as a mobile establishment. Taxi drivers will be able to request a contribution retrospectively.

Currently, drawing the compensatory bonus is one of the forms of public support, and therefore it must follow EU rules. In March 2020, the European Commission adopted the so-called temporary framework in which it set the conditions for the provision of public support during a pandemic.

Among these conditions was that the recipient of support must not be insolvent. During January, according to Minister Schillerová, a solution was found where assistance to bankrupt persons would be provided outside the scope of temporary support in the so-called de minimis regime.