New year brings changes to adjusted daily allowances

A number of changes are being introduced to adjusted daily allowances as of the start of the new year. Some relate to the temporary measures that have been in place since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and that are now being made permanent. The new rules apply to all application periods starting on or after 1 January 2023.

New rules for calculating the working hours of persons on reduced daily hours

The working hours of persons whose daily working hours have been cut to match reduced demand for labour have, until now, been calculated per calendar week. The rules are now changing. As of the beginning of 2023, working hours are calculated on a payment basis per adjustment period, i.e. based on the adjustment period during which the wages for the hours worked have been paid. Either a four-week or a one-month adjustment period can be used.

The rules for calculating the working hours of persons whose weekly hours have been cut remain unchanged: working hours are calculated on an earnings basis per calendar week, i.e. based on when the work was performed.

No more special adjustment periods or notional wages

The system of special adjustment periods and notional wages is being abolished for good. As of the beginning of 2023, the length of each adjustment period is always either four calendar weeks or one month. Income and working hours are taken into account for every day of the adjustment period, including days for which no benefits are payable. The rules on payment-based adjustment are also being simplified. If a wage payment for an adjustment period covers a payroll period that is longer than the usual one month, the recipient’s income and working hours will be split between adjustment periods that correspond to the payroll system.

New rules for estimating working hours

Applicants whose working hours exceed 80% of the maximum working hours of full-time workers do not qualify for an adjusted daily allowance. It can sometimes be difficult to estimate whether the 80% ceiling has been exceeded, if the employer does not keep track of the actual hours worked. Such situations typically arise, for example, when workers are not paid by the hour.

As of the beginning of 2023, adjusted daily allowances can also be paid to applicants who, based on the nature of their work and other circumstances, are likely not to have exceeded the 80% ceiling. As before, a reduction in income does not constitute grounds for claiming a daily allowance on its own; eligibility for an adjusted daily allowance requires a reduction in the volume of work. If the employer has not cut workers’ hours below the threshold for full-time work and if the reduction in the availability of work is not due to the nature of the work and the prevailing circumstances, the estimation rule does not apply. The new law simply codifies an existing practice, and applications will in fact be processed exactly as before.