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Wage costs subsidy in The Netherlands, NOW First application period

Key support measure in the Netherlands Wage costs subsidy in the Netherlands, NOW first application period March, April and May 2020

What is NOW? Because of the emergency situation due to the coronavirus, you may have less work for your employees or no work at all. The NOW-scheme allows you to apply for a substantial compensation of wage costs. The NOW replaces the unemployment benefit during short-time working (werktijdverkorting, WTV). Are you an employer? You may be eligible for compensation of wage costs. This allows you to continue payment of wages to your employees on a permanent or flexibel contract.

On the 6th of April the official portal from the Dutch UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) has opened. Applications can be submitted through this page.

Do you have personnel who are socially insured in the Netherlands, but do not have a branch in the Netherlands? Click here for more information about the application procedure.

How does it work?

An employer who expects at least 20% loss of turnover can apply for a contribution towards wage costs from the UWV for a period of three months (starting in March, April or May 2020). UWV will then provide an advance of 80% of the requested compensation in three terms, based on your expected percentage loss of turnover. This allows companies to continue to pay their staff during the corona crisis. Ultimately, a final settlement follows in which the compensation is determined on the basis of your actual percentage loss of turnover. This may lead to a reclaim or to another payment.

How will the amount of the allowance be determined?

  • First of all, you take the total of the wage bill of the reference month January 2020. There applies a maximum of € 9,538 per month per employee. Because it concerns a period of three months, the wage bill is multiplied by three.
  • The wage bill is then increased by 30% to cover additional costs.
  • This amount is then multiplied by your expected percentage loss of turnover (minimum 20%). You can read more information about the calculation of the loss of turnover here.
  • The allowance is 90% of the following amount, over which you will receive an advance of the allowance of 80%. This will be paid in three terms.

Final settlement & additional report

Afterwards, the actual loss of turnover will be determined and a final settlement will follow. If the loss of turnover is higher than estimated, an additional payment may follow. However, if the loss turns out to be lower, the excess amount received can be reclaimed. In some cases, you must submit an additional report with the final application:

  • A third-party statement is required for an advance received between €20,000 and €100,000 or for a final compensation between €25,000 and €125,000.
  • An auditor’s report is required for an advance of €100,000 or more, or for a final compensation of €125,000 or more.

Read more about the final settlement here.


  • he allowance is used to pay the wage costs. Therefore, keep your employees in service and continue to pay your employees’ wages.
  • You have an obligation to guide your employee to other work if you dismiss an employee or if his contract expires. If you apply for commercial dismissal, you also have the obligation to report this to the UWV. With NOW 1.0, the subsidy is then reduced by the wage bill of the dismissed employees and an additional fine of 50% applies.
  • Keep records of which the UWV can check whether you meet all the conditions for the allowance. Keep this up to 5 years after the compensation has been determined. If the UWV or the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment carries out an investigation, you must cooperate.
  • Inform your works council, employee representative body or your employees about the allowance.
  • Keep filing your payroll tax return on time.
  • If an application is made at the level of the operating company, then there applies a ban on dividends for the entire group and a ban on bonuses for the board and management of the group and the applying entity/operating company. We have observed from the media that a foreign parent company may pay out bonuses and dividends as long as this foreign parent company does not receive NOW support in the Netherlands itself.

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Since 1972, Interfisc has offered international HR & Payroll solutions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. We do this from our offices in the Netherlands and Belgium, and with an international team of around 45 committed and caring employees. 

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