State program to create companies reduces time to maintain employment

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Those who create companies through the Empreende XXI program will only have to keep their employees for two years instead of the current three. Whoever has a suspended employment contract will no longer have access to the measure.

The government has changed the Empreende XXI program, which allows the creation of companies by unemployed people with the help of public funds. As of Saturday, the 11th, projects will only have to maintain the job for two years, one less than at present. There are also changes in the value of support and access to the measure will be more restricted, according to the ordinance published this Friday in the Official Gazette.

The Empreende XXI program was launched in January 2022, just after the Covid-19 pandemic and on the eve of the start of the war in Ukraine. The measure covers people between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive), who have never signed a permanent employment contract or who are unemployed, not studying or attending any training. Also eligible for the program are emigrants returning to Portugal.

The first change to the program comes into effect from Saturday and states that “the projects must maintain the activity of the company and ensure the creation of the respective job of the promoter recipients, for a period of not less than two years, counting from the date of signature of the term of acceptance. Previously, at least three years of full-time employment was required.

Who will no longer have access to this measure are workers who have their contract suspended for non-payment of wages registered with the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP). This group has been removed from the ordinance.

There are also changes in the amount of support to help with job creation. Until now, projects were only publicly supported if they had a total investment of up to 175 thousand euros. In the new version, total expenses of up to 200 thousand euros are eligible for investment support.

Those who want the ideas to receive state support will now have to use the IEFP portal or Startup Portugal, the entity that coordinates the entrepreneurship strategy in Portugal. Those who create jobs through this state program will have to register their company on the startup ecosystem mapping platform made available by Startup Portugal.

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