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How government Covid-19 benefits change around the world

We are all in it together but some more than others


While we all know about the physical toll Covid-19 has caused, we can’t ignore the financial hit we have taken globally. So just what are governments doing to offset this and help their citizens? From one-off payments to wage subsidiaries, we take a look at how financial relief differs across the world.


It’s win/lose in India. While the government has pledged $265 billion into coronavirus relief, mainly into anti-poverty projects to give the country’s poorest basic amenities, the government is yet to unveil a furlough scheme to help those with no cash coming in.


There’s quite impressive things going on over in Malaysia. The state has launched a furlough programme that pays displaced employees $140 per month for up to three months, as well as issuing a one-off payment of $375 to its poorest citizens.


Thanks to Thailand’s “We Do Not Leave Anyone Behind” campaign, the government has helped non-permanent employees, including freelancers, all who are not eligible for social security, by issuing them with three monthly payments of $159. This is pretty impressive when you consider the fact that there are around 15 million Thai people who have been deemed eligible for this scheme.


Known for their generous state handouts, Canada has developed a $75 billion coronavirus relief package with an added medley of measures to help the nation financially. One of the first incentives was the payroll subsidy to cover 75% of the wages for furloughed employees for small and medium-sized firms as well as having increased child benefit payments and monthly payments of $1,490 for those who have lost their jobs. 


Over in China, although the Chinese government has pledged billions to help the economy, funding for the jobless still seems to be lacking with only half those in need being able to claim. Despite the fact that the government pledged $82.4 billion, the majority of it looks to be going to loan extensions and tax breaks.


Poor old Italy really got battered by Covid-19 and to compensate for this, the government is really stepping up. To help the whopping 7.2 million furloughed workers, the government is offering a wage compensation of 80% of the staffs’ salary for nine weeks. Mortgage repayments have also been suspended to help households.


As part of the global fallout, nearly 40 million Americans have lost their jobs, meaning the government has had to be pretty swift to help. Under a newly founded CARES Act, 159 million stimulus checks of $1,200 have been issued for people earning less than $99,000 per year with help also being given to small businesses in the form of a new Paycheck Protection Program that helps small businesses keep workers on.

New Zealand

To date, New Zealand are winning the battle on coronavirus, having eradicated it from their shores. As such, people are able to return to work and normal life but before this, the government were helping out in the form of a COVID-19 Wage Subsidy program to give laid-off workers $380 payments weekly. In addition to this, the government are reportedly in talks to help the economy by building up individual New Zealanders finances to give the local economy a much-needed kick start.


Australia is already pretty much back to normal, with many restrictions having been lifted. Another area they are excelling in is in stimulus initiatives to revive the economy and keep jobs. There’s a $520 cash handout to those on benefits already, which is one in four Australians currently, a JobKeeper scheme of $1,100 per fortnight for the six million furloughed staff and out of work freelancers and then there’s the HomeBuilder scheme to give first-time buyers $17,300 in grants to enable them to buy homes.


Another country hit badly from COVID-19 is the UK. To offset the effect on the economy, the government is offering payments of 80% of wages up to a cap of $3,200 per month for the 8.9 million people who have been furloughed due to the pandemic. The government is also giving grants of up to $9,500 for out-of-work freelancers with the Job Retention Scheme, making up $168 billion, set to continue until October.