The Swiss Confederation’s most expensive law to date is about to break through. The latest version of the Covid-19 Act regulates who is considered to be hardship and who is therefore entitled to compensation. The law also stipulates who receives À-fonds-perdu contributions.
The federal government can spend up to ten billion francs with the law to support cases of hardship. Until recently, the National Council and Council of States haggled hard over the details. On Wednesday morning, the National Council wanted to spend 1.7 billion francs more. Because the councils did not come to an agreement, a so-called unification conference was held. The Council of States, which pushed through the version of the Federal Council, prevailed there: 10 billion francs are now available for hardship cases instead of the previous 2.5 billion francs.
In the unification conference, the representatives of the National Council spelled back. They accepted a somewhat stricter definition of what constitutes a hardship case. In order to be eligible, companies must be able to demonstrate a high loss of turnover. The annual turnover must be below 60 percent of the multi-year average. The National Council had meanwhile set this benchmark lower. If he had prevailed with his maximum demands, the federal government would have had to provide around CHF 20 billion for cases of hardship.
Contributions to sports clubs
For the self-employed the councils already aA compromise was found on Wednesday morning. They can apply for compensation if they see a drop in sales of at least 30 percent elead – gmeasured on average turnover from 2015 to 2019. The current Covid law still stipulates a sales decrease of 40 percent.
There were also differences between the two chambers up to the unification conference in support for sports clubs in professional leagues. If you want full compensation, you have to reduce your average income from CHF 148,000 by 20 percent. However, wage cuts are not mandatory in order to receive À-fonds-perdu contributions. Those who do not reduce wages are still entitled to half of the compensation.
People will vote on June 13th
Also off the table is the National Council’s demand that officially closed businesses could benefit from À-fonds-perdu contributions. The Council of States did not want to know anything about it.
The COVID act was a priority for the National Council and Council of States throughout the session. The goal of finalizing the new provisions on Friday seemed to be jeopardized at times. With the compromise from the unification conference, a failure of the proposal is unlikely. Tomorrow both chambers will vote on the compromise proposal.
A referendum was called against the Covid law, which is already in force today. The law was passed as urgent on September 25th by the National Council and Council of States. The referendum will take place on June 13th. Interesting: If the Covid-19 law were rejected at the ballot box, the urgent provisions in the now revised law would also lapse from September 25th.