Who can Apply?
To make your claim for the Employee Stabilization Payment, you will need to first check with the Ministry of Finance to see if your business license category is qualified, or not qualified. You can do this by visiting their website.
If you are qualified, you need to be an Employer with a Bank account and Business License and paying staff VNPF through your company during the month of March. If you do not have these documents or a bank account please obtain them first.
Finance will be setting priority sectors to support – those that have been affected by COVID-19. While we do not have the detailed information on sectors yet, we suggest you apply and then finance will let you know if your application is accepted.
How to Apply?
Business Owners (employers) must have the following documents ready to make a claim:
- Business License
- Employer Contacts (Phone, Address etc.)
- Employer Bank Account Details
- Employee Contacts (Phone number)
- Employer VNPF Information
- VNPF ID number + Registration Certificate
- VNPF Employer Contribution Schedule & Receipts from December 2019 – January 2020 (February 2020 Optional)
Optional/If Available or Registered
- Business TIN/CT Number
- Government Vendor Code
- Tourism Permit (For Businesses in the Tourism Industry)
- Bank Verified Disk Pay records
Once you have these documents ready, if you have access to a scanner and printer and email, you will likely be able to do this submission yourself. If that is the case continue through the below notes and tips.
If you do not have a scanner, printer and email, you may come to VCCI office for support in your application. For businesses in the provinces, there will be support offered through the Department of Tourism from May onwards. You are requested to keep all receipts and paperwork and if you need support to contact Department of Tourism in May.
You can find the government form here: https://vcci.vu/resources/esp/
Notes & Tips:
- You only need to fill out this application form one time. After you submit it for March, assuming you continue to hire the same staff during the subsidisation period of Mar-June and if finance accept your application you will automatically receive payments after the first one is made (for the following 3 months to a total of 4 monthly payments).
- The stabilization payment is currently covering employees you employed and paid during the months of March, April, May and June 2020 and who were in your employ during Dec 2019, Jan and Feb 2020.
- The money is paid to the employer (not employee). However there will be spot checks in April, May and June to ensure payments received by the employer, get paid to the employee.
- Note the form is in XL and has 4 tabs. These are referred to as sections A,B,C and D
- Once you have read instructions, start with the Employer Details Tab 2 or section B. You must provide at minimum:
- Business name
- Business License number (if you do not have a business license you will need to obtain one)
- Business VNPF ID
- Contact details
- Bank details requested full details are mandatory
- Then complete the Employee details on tab 3 or section C. You must fill in each section on this tab. This is for Employees you paid and had under your employ during the month of March.
- Some helpful tips:
- Section J & K is Employment Status BEFORE 1st of March
- J9 HOURS OF WORK: is asking what type of employment you have the employee under. For example the drop down asks for you to choose: a. Full Time (meaning they are an open ended employee with no end date), Part Time (which means they are not full time hours but open ended employment on part time hours), Contract (means they have a start and finish date in your verbal or written contract), Temporarily Laid off (we assume means someone who was not actively working before March) and Terminated (not employed before March)
- K9 PAY: is asking if you had the employee on their usual salary or reduced salary.
- Section L & F is Employment Status AFTER 1st of March
- L 9 HOURS OF WORK: is asking the same as point 7.a.i above
- M9 PAY: is asking if you had the employee on their usual salary or reduced salary (as above).
- Once you have completed these details for employees who were paid during march, print out tabs B and C and D. Sign the print out of Section C (the checklist)
- Scan all the requested documents, and this signed paper copy of the form. IMPORTANT: you must attached scanned documents AND the actual XL electronically (not only a scan of the XL) and ZIP these before emailing or putting in the drop box to submit them to finance.
- Section J & K is Employment Status BEFORE 1st of March
Please be advised that the following are the means via which you can submit your application:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Use options II and III if you are not able to send the form as an attachment). Please set your email subject as “Form ESP-20-01 Submission”.
- Drop box: https://www.dropbox.com/request/IldyqMIsoBNSvaEbpj2p Please save all files submitted as a ZIP file before uploading into Dropbox.
- USB: to the Department of Finance & Treasury
Only the Checklist sheet needs to be signed so you might need to print that first in order to sign if you cannot sign this electronically. If you do print and sign the form, please submit both the scanned signed copy as well as the unsigned excel sheet.
Please direct any queries you may have to:
Department of Finance & Treasury
Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
1. ABOUT EMPLOYEES & EMPLOYERS
1.1. As an employer wanting support for staff costs how much will I get?
- Employers will be reimbursed 30,000vt per month per employee that you commit to continuing to employ for the 4 months of March, April, May and June 2020.
- 30,000vt will be the maximum monthly payment (for example for an employee with a salary of 45,000vt i.e over 30,000vt threshold)
1.2. As an employer will I get support too?
- Initially we understood that an additional 15% of total Employment Stabilization Payment will be paid to the Employer as an incentive to keep staff employed. However this has changed now to be 12%.
- The calculation of the 12% is that this will include 4% reimbursement for VNPF payment by Employer, 4% Employee VNPF payment and the remaining 4% is for the employer.
1.3. Is the amount given per employee the same? How much?
- The payment per staff will be 30,000vt per month per staff +12%. Employers are expected to give this 30,000vt to each staff member.
1.4. How quickly can I get the money?
- After finance have received and checked an application, they expect to pay this to the employer within 1-2 weeks.
1.5. As an employer who has terminated staff can I re-employ staff and get access to the relief so that they are now getting paid?
- Yes please do re-employ the same staff member into the same position. However note if you do this, you need to commit to continuing to employ the staff member for the full period and pay them at least 30,000vt each month.
- This subsidy does not apply to new staff that were not employed previously but that you employ after March 2020.
1.6. Do I need to be a business to access this money for employees? What about house girls and gardeners for example?
- This is for employers with a business license only. If you do not have a business license you can not claim.
1.7. What about casual staff?
- As long as you have a business license and the staff member is on your VNPF you can claim for her/him.
- You will be expected to pay 30,000vt to each employee for the 4 months.
- Please note the Vanuatu Law does not recognise ‘casual staff’ as an employment category. You may be referring to staff with verbal contracts.
1.8. How do I account for the ESP in my accounting? Do I have to pay VAT on this?
- This is vat free income. Note it as such on your vat return.
1.9. Does anything change for VNPF?
- No you continue to pay VNPF as normal on salaries paid to employees and normal employer contribution continues also.
1.10. What about my rent? Can you help me so that I don’t have to pay rent?
- I am sorry the rent is an agreement you have with your landlord and that is a private contract. We cannot help you with that. We suggest you go and talk to your landlord.
1.11. What about my payments to money lenders? My bus?
- I am sorry the money lender and your relationship with him/her is an agreement you have and that is a private contract. We cannot help you with that.
Click HERE to download the ESP Guide in French