24th April 2020
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, many contracting hotspots are taking action to prevent and mitigate the effects of the virus. Here is a round-up of the latest information – sourced from updates from GPA, for contractors and agencies from some popular contracting hotspots as of April 17th, 2020:
Coronavirus: What do contractors and agencies need to know?
On the 16th of April, Japan declared a nationwide state of emergency to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his government will also start providing cash handouts of 100,000 yen ($930) to all citizens. He urged citizens to reduce people-to-people contact by at least 80 percent to help stem the virus’ spread. The state of emergency will last at least until May 6th, the last day of the annual holidays. Here is some further information for contractors and agencies on the coronavirus outbreak in the country:
- As of April 17th, 2020 Japan had 9,167positive cases of COVID-19.
- Japan was the second country to report a confirmed case outside China (16 January 2020).
- There’s no nationwide lockdown yet, but a state of emergency has resulted in the closure of all schools, promotion of working from home and advice against using public transport.
- On the 6th April, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced a 108 trillion yen (US$989 billion) stimulus package to rescue the coronavirus-hit economy.As part of this, Japan has allocated $2.2 billion to help its manufacturing firms shift production back to Japan so that imports can be minimised.
- For businesses, the stimulus package offers larger subsidies for firms that keep workers on the payroll. Companies hit by the virus will be able to defer income and regional tax payments for a year. Some smaller businesses will see their property taxes cut back as far as zero.
- In addition to the payroll assistance, the Japanese government has announced a Sustainability Payment Program to pay cash to SMEs that have lost revenue due to COVID -19.
With the second-fastest global growth of new COVID-19 cases, the President of Turkey announced a number of financial relief measures. Here’s what contractors and agencies should be aware of:
- The period for offering compensatory work in place of forced unpaid leave has been extended from two months to four. The compensatory time will not be considered overtime.
- The withholding tax declaration due date has been extended by three months.
- April, May and June’s withholding, VAT and social security payments will be postponed for six months for the retail sector, shopping centres, iron-steel sector, automotive, logistics, cinema-theatre, accommodation, food, textiles and events-organisations sectors.
- Minimum wage support will remain unchanged.
- The processes for short-employment options will be expedited.
- The deadline for 2019 Annual Income Tax Declarations and the first instalment of respective tax payments which was 31st March 2020 has been postponed to 30th April 2020.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Tunisian government has introduced the following financial incentives to its citizens:
- Setting up a line of credit worth TND 300 million for employees placed on unemployment.
- Creating a special reserve of TND 150 million for granting of special allowances to disadvantaged classes of the population.
- Establishing a six month moratorium on the repayment of bank loans for individuals with a monthly income less than TND 1,000.
The following additional incentives have been granted to private sector companies:
- A deferral of tax payments for three months starting from 1st April 2020.
- A deferral of 2020 tax year second quarter social security contributions (CNSS) by three months.
- Establishing a six month moratorium on the repayment of bank loans for private sector companies.
- Restructuring of tax and custom duties related debts with up to seven year payment schedules.
- Extension of government guarantees of up to TND 500 million to allow companies to restructure their loans.
- Expedited processing of VAT refunds in less than one month.
The government of Lebanon has introduced the following restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- The government has imposed a state of health emergency and called for a self-applied lockdown.
- Rafic Hariri International Airport has been closed for all commercial flights.
- The issuance of all types of visas and work permits has been suspended until further notice.
- All government offices have introduced shifts to minimise potential exposure to COVID-19.
- All private companies have been closed and staff have been advised to work from home.
The following financial incentives have been granted to private sector companies:
- All National Social Security (CNSS) payments and declarations have been postponed for six months.
- The payment of National Social Security (CNSS) contributions have been postponed until the end of the state of emergency.
While this is the current situation regarding coronavirus in these nations, things are changing every day, and we encourage contractors and recruiters to pay attention to information from the relevant authorities before making any decisions. Should there be any interruption to your assignment or working life – 6CATS will be here to help.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like more information.