Ministry of Economic Development revealed on Monday that applications are now open for the ‘Income Support Allowance’, introduced as a relief scheme for individuals experiencing financial difficulties as a result of employment issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the program, the government will grant an allowance of up to MVR 5,000 to individuals that fall into four main categories: individuals that were dismissed or suspended from employment, individuals on leave without pay, individuals facing salary deductions, and freelance workers.
All Maldivian citizens with employment based in Maldives are eligible for a three-month allowance starting April 2020.
In order to apply for the scheme, individuals are requested to submit applications via the economic ministry's online portal ‘jobcenter.mv’ before the following deadlines:
- Claims for the month of April must be submitted before May 30
- Claims for the month of May must be submitted before June 7
- Claims for the month of June must be submitted before July 7
Alternatively, individuals can email their application form, along with the required paperwork, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the scheme, all individuals in employment until March 1, currently facing dismissals or suspensions and placed on leave without pay are eligible to receive an allowance of MVR 5,000. Individuals earning less than this amount as a result of pay cuts are eligible to receive the difference up to a maximum of MVR 5,000.
Freelancers eligible for the scheme must not receive an alternative source of income. Among these, individuals currently earning less than MVR 5,000 are eligible for the difference up to the maximum amount.
Although the relief scheme envisages provision of income support for a three-month period, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail stated that the scheme's duration will be extended if current economic circumstances do not improve within the stipulated period.
The economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected resort workers, expatriate workers, employees with temporary contracts, and freelancers.
Tourism Employees Association of Maldives (TEAM) estimated that 11,000 resort workers were forced to go on no-pay leave due to the shutdown of resorts across the country over the COVID-19 outbreak.