De minimis in ESF
De minimis is the most commonly used exemption to state aid rules. It enables an enterprise to receive up to €200,000 in aid over a three year rolling period with no requirement to notify it to the Commission. When this is the case, the managing authority requires the aided enterprise to keep detailed records of any de minimis aid received for 10 years.
Priorities one and three of the European Social Fund (ESF) are not in the scope for state aid rules, however priorities two and four are (they provide support to individuals in employment). This may have implications because their employers are receiving support towards the costs of training.
ESF providers and organisations using the 'de minimis' rules should put in place a monitoring system to ensure the limit is not breached. Typically, such a monitoring system will involve:
- Asking enterprises receiving support under their scheme to identify all other sources of support that they have received in the last three years
- Checking if previous de minimis aid is involved, to ensure that the combined assistance does not exceed €200,000 over any three-year rolling period
The ESF providers should also write to each recipient to remind them that:
- Any de minimis aid granted over €200,00 euros may be subject to repayment with interest
- They should declare any de minimis aid received
- Make this information available for the next three years
Full details can be found in Manual 2 of the ESF Guidance.
A decision as to whether support received is state aid applicable should be given by the supplying organisation and not the recipient. If you have received resources which you believe may be state aid applicable, please contact the organisation from which you received them for clarification. Read the government’s action note on state aid in ESF (click on 073/12 - State aids in ESF - reminder).