State aid: Commission approves €1.53 million Flemish scheme to support the protection of teleworkers’ health in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €1.53 million Flemish scheme to incentivize companies, in the context of liquidity shortages due to the coronavirus outbreak, to enhance the protection of workers’ health, negatively affected by an increased use of teleworking. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, which goes under the name of ‘Working from home in a healthy and vital way: call for projects’, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The scheme is open to companies of all sizes active in all sectors, except the financial sector, the primary agricultural production, fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The € 1.53 million budget will be allocated to a minimum of 10 and up to a maximum of 20 companies proposing innovative projects that will contribute to the mental and physical health of teleworkers. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €1.8 million per company and (ii) will be granted no later than 30 November 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.63252 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.