Siza Vieira says that more than 46 companies have asked for an extension of the lay-off

"In this transitional phase, support for employment will really be support for employment," he guaranteed.

The Minister of Economy said today that more than 46 companies, comprising 353 thousand workers, have asked for an extension of the lay off, with the Government working on a new version of this regime that less penalizes workers' income.

“In this transitional phase, support for employment will really be support for employment. Obviously, there must also be another attention to the level of workers' income”, said the Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition Pedro Siza Vieira, in a hearing this morning at the Committee on Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing on the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stating that "during this critical period of the 'lay-off'" the rules of the Labor Code were followed" (workers receiving two-thirds of the gross salary), the government official considered that, "in the coming months, the level of remuneration attributed to workers cannot rely on such a significant cut in their income'.

«The successor of the lay off it cannot be based on the cuts in the income of workers that you have at the moment, we have to evolve. We will continue to support companies, but not with the level of wage cuts that have been taking place», maintained Pedro Siza Vieira.

The numbers put forward today in parliament by the Minister of Economy refer that support in the context of lay off simplified «they initially reached around 100 employers and 780 employees, with a total of 321 million euros in payments».

The extensions of lay off, however, deferred amounts to 46.448, covering 353 thousand workers and a paid amount of 130 million euros, in an "effort" that the government official considers "effectively helped to protect employment".

While admitting that it was not possible, as intended by the Government, to pay by the end of April all initial lay-off requests, Siza Vieira guaranteed that, «at this moment, all initial requests for lay-off lay off in a position to be approved were satisfied'.

"We had 99 employers asking for 'lay-off' support in conditions to be approved and 321 million euros have already been paid, which corresponds to 99,9% of the requests submitted", he argued, noting that "there was a great effort to recover the payment time and, at the moment, things are at cruising speed».

"I no longer receive those signs of anguish and worry from businessmen about whether this was really going to happen," he said.

And if 77% initial requests for 'lay-off' were presented in the form of suspension of the employment contract, the minister considers that, at this moment, what is needed is to “help companies in a resumption of activity in which they have no demand and orders for the entire production capacity they have'.

“Maybe what we need is to ensure support for salaries, rather than keeping people at home doing nothing. This is the general philosophy of the sequel to the simplified 'lay-off' regime that we approved and the details of which will be known after the next meeting of the Council of Ministers», he said.

Stressing the "many significant" resources injected by the State into the economy from a social point of view, the minister stated that, "between the ability to make the unemployment benefit function normally, the reduction of guarantee periods for the social unemployment benefit and all automatic extensions of the unemployment benefit and the social unemployment benefit, the amounts processed at the moment are already 62 billion euros", having "close to 70 thousand people" already benefited from this support.

On the other hand, he said, support for reducing the activity of self-employed workers has already processed payments of around 63 million euros, payments to managing partners amount to 4,2 million euros and extraordinary support for families whose children stayed in home by school closing has reached about 172 people, totaling 40 million euros in payments.

In addition, the extension of social insertion income and payments for prophylactic isolation also represent "very significant amounts that, in total, reached 682 million euros in just a month and a half", he added.