Government to pay tourism workers laid off because of coronavirus

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(Photo: www.theroot.com)

Tourism workers who were laid off from their jobs because of the coronavirus-COVID-19 will receive a grant of up to $9,000 fortnightly from the government.

The announcement was made by Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke in parliament on Tuesday as he closed the 2020 budget debates.

The programme, Supporting Employees with Transfer of (SET) cash, is to be implemented in April.

However, the Minister said to qualify, individuals will have to prove that they lost employment since March 10, and before June 30.

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(Photo: Chilled Magazine)

Dr Clarke also announced the introduction of a Business Employee Support and Transfer (BEST) of cash initiative. This initiative will provide temporary cash transfers to businesses operating in the hotels, tours and attractions segment of the tourism sector.

But to qualify, the businesses must be registered with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association. And the transfer will be based on the number of persons that they keep employed whose salaries are below the $1.5 million tax threshold.

Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke

Businesses can start applying on April 9. They will need to fill out the required form online, file payroll returns as per usual, and for each employee with taxable income that they keep employed, the Government will transfer funds at a rate of $9,000 per fortnight by direct transfer to the business’ account paid monthly.

Additionally, the Finance Minister said that small businesses with sales below $50 million that filed ta returns in the 2019/2020 year will be eligible for a one time small COVID business grant of $100,000. However, businesses must be tax compliant to benefit.