Human Rights Measure

Human Rights
Human Rights

Icelandic Government Announces 1.6bn USD Response Package to the COVID-19 Crisis

Date Enacted: March 2020
Country: Iceland

In March 2020, the government “announced the first-phase response measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic” with a “package . . .  equivalent to ISK 230 bn (USD 1.6 bn) or just under 8% of Icelandic GDP.” Through this package, the “Government aims to safeguard the economic livelihood of people and businesses, protecting the welfare system and creating a strong demand in the economy.” The measures include “allowing part-time workers to claim up to 75 per cent of unemployment benefits, to avoid job losses,” providing “[c]ompanies . . .  the opportunity to postpone the payment of taxes until next year to improve liquidity in business operations,” and “a one-off child benefit payment . . . to all families with children under the age of 18.” Subsequently, in April 2020, the government announced the second phase of the economic response package which is “[w]orth up to 420m USD” and “focuses on support and protections for small enterprises, innovation and vulnerable groups.” Specific measures include “Wage Enhancements for Healthcare Workers,” “measures that will make additional contributions to companies investing in growth,” and “a number of social measures to support vulnerable groups, job-seekers, and students.”