Multi-billion dollar CARE programme for workers, small businesses
The Government has instituted a multi-billion dollar COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme to assist workers and businesses during the emergency period caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, who made the disclosure while closing the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 24, outlined that the Business Employee and Transfer of Cash (Best Cash) will help entities to retain workers in tourism and related sectors.
It will provide temporary cash transfers to registered businesses that are operating in the hotel, tours, attraction companies, and segments of the industry that are registered with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), based on the number of workers that they “keep employed, who are under the income tax threshold of $1.5 million,” Mr. Clarke said.
To qualify, each tourism business will need to apply for the Best Cash, by filling out the required form online, and then file the payroll returns on the 15th of April, May and June, and for the three months, the Government will provide $54,000 over the period for each employee that a beneficiary company retains, once their taxable income is below $1.5 million.
The Minister also told the House that individuals who earn below the income tax threshold of $1.5 million who are “most vulnerable to the effects of being suddenly laid off” will benefit from the Supporting Employees with Transfer (SET) Cash.
Adding that the response programme to the COVID-19 will be available to persons who lost their jobs in any sector from March 10, and before June 30, Minister Clarke said individuals will be required to apply online, and successful applicants will receive payment at a rate of $9,000 per fortnight, which will be paid monthly.
“It will be necessary to verify that the applicant was employed prior to March 10. This verification will be achieved by verifying that at some point in the last three months, statutory deductions were filed on behalf of the employee,” Dr. Clarke said.
The Minister said his Ministry will be working with umbrella groups of employers to encourage them to fill out P45 forms and upload them to the official system, so that employees can benefit from the CARE programme.
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