The Maldivian government, on Wednesday, published the regulation on income support allowance, which stipulates that those whose livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic must meet specific conditions to be eligible for the allowance.
The regulation on income support allowance was drafted by the President’s office, and was published on this Wednesday’s issue of the Government Gazette.
According to the regulation, the income support allowance will be implemented by the Economic Ministry, and the allowance will be disbursed by Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) or National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) through the Finance Ministry.
The allowance is aimed at providing financial support to the people whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic to they are able to meet their essential needs.
People who have been laid off, suspended, forced to accept no-pay leave, or forced to accept pay cuts from March 1, 2020 are eligible for the allowance.
According to the regulation, anyone who was employed either on permanent or non-permanent basis by March 1, 2020, regardless of whether or not the person had an employment contract is eligible for the allowance. This includes those on probation, and non-permanent employment positions must be their sole source of income.
Those who have been laid off or put on no-pay leave will receive the full MVR 5,000 income support allowance.
Meanwhile, those who have pay cuts will be eligible for the allowance if their reduced pay is lower than MVR 5,000, and even if they reduced pay is lower than MVR 5,000, they will not be eligible the full allowance, but the difference.
Similarly, if the applicant has an additional income source and if that additional income source is lower than MVR 5,000 per month, the applicant will not be eligible for the full allowance, but the difference.
And if the additional income source exceeds MVR 5,000 per month, the applicant will not be eligible for the income support allowance.
Only Maldivian nationals between the ages of 18 years to 65 years who were locally employed at least up until March 1, 2020 are eligible for the allowance.
There are also additional stipulations that the applicant must agree to join and complete one of the government’s skills development programs, and must also be interested in being employed and must agree to accept employment if an employment opportunity is found through the government’s Job Center.
The allowance will be awarded for three months, from April to June.
Eligible parties will receive the allowance by the 15th of every month, and must inform the Job Center is they find employment within the period, upon which they will cease receiving the allowance.
Those who wish to receive the income support are required to apply for the allowance through the Job Center.
The regulation also establishes that criminal action will be taken against parties who provide misinformation to the government when applying for the allowance.
The regulation is effective the moment it is published on the Government Gazette, to until the relevant legislature passed by the Parliament takes effect.