6th 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 for contractors and agencies from some of the most popular contracting hotspots as of April 3rd, 2020:
Coronavirus: What do contractors and agencies need to know?
On March 14th, in order to stem the spread of coronavirus the Spanish Government declared a state of emergency and nationwide lockdown. Residents are mandated to remain in their normal residences except to purchase food and medicines, work or attend emergencies. Lockdown restrictions also include the temporary closure of non-essential shops and businesses, including bars, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and commercial and retail businesses.
The lockdown was extended on the 27th of March, with the government deciding that all work that is not considered essential for the country to continue running will stop temporarily. That includes all sectors that are not directly related to healthcare, food supply, state security, media & communication, refuse collection/management and public transport.
On the 17th March, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a support package of more than 200 billion euros, to cushion the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The Royal Decree approved by his government includes:
- A moratorium on the payment of mortgages for workers and self-employed in economic vulnerability and for those affected by COVID-19.
- €100 billion to be made available to businesses in the form of public guarantees.
- Unemployment benefits for workers even if they have not paid enough in social security contributions.
- Companies will not have to pay taxes for employees who have been temporarily made redundant.
- Those who become unemployed or lose their regular income will be able to postpone monthly mortgage payments as well as their utility bills.
- Companies will not be able to take measures against employees who can’t show up for work because they need to look after children or the elderly.
- Self-employed professionals will now also receive benefits similar to those that are unemployed.
Since the middle of March, Slovenia has closed all schools, bars, restaurants, hotels, and shops, apart from food and drug stores, sports centres and cultural institutions. It has also cancelled all public transport, including air traffic and prohibited any socialising in public areas.
On 17th March 2020, Slovenia adopted emergency fiscal measures, extending the deadline for filing tax returns and submitting annual reports until 31 May 2020. Further actions were announced on the 2nd of April, with parliament approving measures worth about €3 billion. Under this new package:
- The state will pay compensation and taxation for the national pension and health systems for workers hit by the virus, as well those who are temporarily laid off.
- It will also Increase wages of those who work in difficult conditions, like doctors and nurses, and reduce wages of government officials by 30% for as long as the epidemic lasts.
- Finally, one-off financial help will be given to students, large families and pensioners whose monthly pension is lower than €700.
On March 20, 2020, the Latvian parliament adopted a law titled “On measures for prevention of national threat and overcoming of consequences related to the spread of COVID-19”.The law is aimed to support companies that have been severely affected by the spread of COVID-19. The main aspects are as follows:
- Taxpayers working in industry’s most severely affected by COVID-19 will have the right to submit a request to the SRS, Latvia’s tax authority, asking to postpone the deadline for tax payments (maximum term – up to three years) or to split tax payments over several instalments.
- From April 1, 2020, enterprises will not have to wait until the end of the year for a VAT refund. The SRS shall refund the approved amount within 30 days of submission.
- Credit guarantees will be available to companies that had not been in financial difficulties before the crisis. To successfully apply, companies will have to prove that difficulties result from COVID-19, and that assistance will help them to continue commercial activities.
- If an employee is on downtime due to an employer not being able to provide work, they will be entitled to receive a monthly downtime compensation in an amount of 75%, with a maximum limit of EUR 700 per one employee.
The Malaysian government has imposed a 14-day ‘Movement Control Order’ from 18th – 31st March 2020 nationwide to curb the spread of the COVID-19, which has since been extended to 14th April. In addition to this:
- For all statutory tax filing submissions that fall in between March to June 2020, the filing dateline will be extended 2 months as per the revised Tax Filing Program.
- Furthermore, on the 27th March the country announced an $83.6b stimulus package to deal with the coronavirus fallout. The package includes $30 million for welfare programmes and $23 billion to support businesses including small and medium enterprises.
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.