Society 18 March 2020 How are governments around the world supporting workers during the coronavirus crisis? The UK is the only major country in Europe not to have announced it will subsidise employees’ wages or make direct cash payments to its citizens. Getty Images French president Emmanuel Macron delivers an address to the nation on the coronavirus outbreak. NSSign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Chancellor Rishi Sunak sought to protect the UK economy by providing new support to businesses through a fiscal “bazooka”. But there was precious little announced for workers. Here’s how other countries across the world have responded: Australia The Australian government will pay $750 (£373) to all lower-income citizens on 31 March. Small and medium-sized enterprises can apply for up to $25,000 (£12,431) to cover employees’ wages. Canada The Canadian government is expected to announce a package of measures later today. Canadian TV channel Global News has reported that this will include an expansion of employment insurance. Denmark The Danish government has said it will subsidise 75 per cent of workers’ salaries (up to a maximum of 23,000 kroner or roughly £2,840 a month) if firms promise not to fire employees. France The French government is expanding its “partial unemployment” scheme. It means employees can apply for state benefits during an economic crisis and that employers are banned from firing them. Germany The German government is expanding “Kurzarbeitergeld” – a scheme which provides government subsidies to employees sent home during economic crises. Italy The Italian government will provide more than €500 to each self-employed person. The state will subsidise the wages of some staff who are temporarily laid off. Japan The Japanese government last week announced an economic package that provided grants and loans to small and medium-sized businesses. This week it is considering handing out 12,000 yen (£94) to each citizen. Spain The Spanish government will subsidise workers who have been temporarily laid off by giving them access to the benefits system. A range of loans and grants is also being made available to businesses. Sweden The Swedish government will heavily subsidise workers’ salaries. Employees will collect 90 per cent of their wages and will work reduced hours. UK The UK government is offering £330bn of state-backed loans to businesses and has announced a range of tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses. Statutory Sick Pay of £94.25 per week will be available from the first day of illness rather than the fourth. US The US government appears to favour direct cash payments to workers, but the exact policy response has not yet been announced by Donald Trump. › Matthew Engel’s Diary: Distractions in tough times, people in their seventies are not waiting to die, and sex and sewage George Grylls is the winner of the Anthony Howard Award 2019. Subscribe To stay on top of global affairs and enjoy even more international coverage subscribe for just £1 per month!