23 April 2020

Everything you need to know about applying for the NOW

By Amber Willemsen

The UWV began accepting NOW applications on Monday 6 April 9.00 am.

The NOW is intended to compensate an employer for their wage costs when faced with an acute decline in turnover due to extraordinary circumstances.

The government has chosen to pay this allowance in the form of a subsidy. A subsidy is an entitlement to a financial compensation from the government that is provided for certain activities of the applicant (4:21 General Administrative Law Act (Dutch: “Awb”). The definition of subsidy includes that the allowance is granted for a specific purpose. The purpose of NOW is to retain jobs.

Applications can be made retroactively from 1 March. Do you want to make sure that your application is going well? We are happy to help you with this.

When are you eligible for the NOW?

  • The sales decline is at least 20%.
  • This decline is an average over a period of three consecutive months.
  • One subsidy application can be made per payroll tax number.

How is the fall in turnover calculated?

  1. Calculate the reference turnover: this is 25% of the turnover for the year 2019.
  2. Determine the measurement period. This is a consecutive three-month period between March 1 and July 31, 2020. Choose the period for which you expect the most sales decline, and choose the start date of the measurement period. The start date is therefore either March 1, April 1 or May 1.
  3. Over this period, estimate the expected reduced turnover.
  4. Based on this, calculate the percentage of the expected decrease in turnover (compared to the reference turnover). Hopefully superfluous: there are many wrong example calculations of the fall in turnover circulating on the internet.
  5. Do you expect a turnover decrease of 20% or more? Then you can consider submitting an application. Applications can be submitted up to and including 31 May 2020.

Please note: if the company is a group company, then the decrease in turnover is assessed at group level.

How do you apply for the NOW?

  • Calculate the possible compensation that you can expect when you apply to the NOW. A number of calculation tools have been published for this.
    • The starting point is the wage bill for January 2020 (the SV salary).
    • The limit is EUR 9,538 gross per employee. Wages above that are not eligible for subsidy.
    • It is not necessary to include holiday allowance in the statement. UWV calculates the subsidy with a surcharge of 30%, which is intended for, among other things, holiday allowance, pension and employer’s contributions.
    • The subsidy amounts to a maximum of 90% of the wage bill with a 100% drop in turnover.
      • For example: turnover decrease 50% subsidy: 45%
      • For example: sales decrease 20%, subsidy 18% (= 20% of 90%);
  • Decide whether to apply for the subsidy or whether to proceed to dismissal. Take into account not only the finances, but also the possible consequences:
    • If you have made an application for the NOW and you still proceed to dismissal for business reasons (redundancy), this will be fined and deducted from the subsidy. The subsidy can also be reclaimed.
    • If you opt for a dismissal for business reasons and not for the NOW, bear in mind that the UWV will take into account whether the dismissal application could have been prevented by appealing to the NOW when they consider the dismissal application. You must substantiate with the application that this is not the case. If you could have applied for NOW dismissal, UWV can reject the application.
    • It is therefore very important to substantiate your decision.

What happens after the application?

  • The UWV will make a decision on the provisional award of the subsidy (the advance) within 13 weeks after the full application;
  • The UWV strives to apply a period of 2 to 4 weeks in practice.
  • The advance is 80% of the provisional subsidy.
  • The advance is paid in a maximum of three instalments.
  • Within 24 weeks after the end of the measurement period (the consecutive period of three months), you submit the request for a definitive determination of the subsidy. You need, among other things, an auditor’s report for the final turnover figures. The UWV monitors the drop in turnover and compliance with the rules and conditions of the NOW. On this basis, the final subsidy will be determined within 52 weeks. This can result in a claim for repayment or a supplementary payment.

What obligations do you have when you use NOW?

  • The best effort obligation to keep the wage bill as equal as possible. In other words, you have an obligation to maintain employment by keeping employment contracts unchanged and by continuing to pay wages. This applies to both permanent and flexible workers. With regard to the latter group, the government expressly appeals to employers to pay these flex workers their usual wages, and not just the legally required minimum. This additional wage is also subsidised.
  • You are obliged not to proceed with dismissal for business reasons over the period from March 18, 2020 over the measurement period of three consecutive months. Failure to do so may result in a fine (set off against the grant) or even the recovery of the entire grant.
  • Have you submitted a request for dismissal and do you wish to apply or have you also applied for NOW? Then you have five working days from the request to withdraw it.
  • You are obliged to use the entire subsidy for the payment of wages;
  • You are obliged to inform the Works Council / PVT / personnel.

The government and the UWV try to make the application process as easy and clear as possible. Nevertheless, you are expected to sign a letter of intent stating, among other things, that “you understand and accept that the provisions of the General Administrative Law Act apply to the application”. That is quite something.

Do you want to make sure that your application is going well? Then we are happy to help you with this.

Amber Willemsen

Amber Willemsen


Amber Willemsen is a lawyer within the Employment law section.

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