The announcement by Governor Eugene Holiday during the opening of a new legislative year (see related story) that government will establish an unemployment insurance fund is no doubt good news for those who lose their jobs due to the unprecedented coronavirus-related socio-economic crisis from which the country has only just started recovering. The question seems warranted, however, whether it does not make sense to also prevent more layoffs.
One way to do that would be by extending the current payroll support to qualifying companies beyond the current October 1 deadline. According to a report from Aruba in today’s edition, they will continue their wage subsidy the entire year.
Curaçao business association VBC is asking for the same, especially because July payments were omitted there as the result of a change in government and delay in talks with the Netherlands. The Pisas Cabinet II was said to now be eyeing that possibility.
All three islands are mainly dependent on tourism, and everyone knows the traditional high season does not start until mid-December, peaking only after the holidays. Business earnings can therefore not realistically be expected to pick up significantly to anywhere near pre-pandemic levels before January.
Lacking further assistance, for many employers and their workers there is a risk that could ultimately prove too little too late, with the finish line in plain sight.