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Extended COVID-19 economic measures in Slovakia: what do employers need to know?

Written by
NITSCHNEIDER & PARTNERS largest boutique firm focusing on HR law.
Authors
Dušan Nitschneider
Partner - Slovakia
NITSCHNEIDER & PARTNERS
Marek Bugan
NITSCHNEIDER & PARTNERS
Slovakia
18.11.20
4
On 1 November 2020, the Slovak Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs, and Family introduced details of an extended state aid package ‘First Aid +’ to mitigate the consequences of the second wave of COVID-19. This article provides highlights of the most relevant measures for employers and practical answers to questions about this package.
1. Who is entitled to apply for the First Aid+ package, what is the amount of contributions and what are the possible combinations
Which First Aid+ package measures apply to employers?

Only employers who managed to keep job positions are entitled to the reimbursement from the government set out below.

Scheme 1 covers employers who were forced to shut down their operations based on the Slovak Public Health Authority (SPHA) measures.

Scheme 3 covers employers who:

  1. • A) closed their operations, but were not ordered to do so (e.g. material did
    not arrive); or
  2. • B) did not close their operations, but have suffered drop in revenue of 20% or
    more.
Who is considered an employer for the purposes of First Aid+?

Employers who started activities before 3 September 2020. In addition to a regular company, ‘employer’ in this context also means:

  1. • an organisational unit of a foreign entity that has employees and is
    authorised to do business in Slovakia.
  2. • a person (legal and natural) who mainly performs the following activities in
    Slovakia: paid recruitment activities, temporary employment, supported
    employment, professional counselling services, education services, and
    training for the labour market.

The full wording of the definition is available in Article 3 of the Employment Services Act.

We already benefited from the first package of state aid. Has the amount of state aid changed?

Yes. Please refer to the table below:

Can we combine measures?

An employer with a single operation can choose only one option (i.e. Scheme 1 or one of the Schemes 3A/3B) for one month. However, if you applied for a contribution under Scheme 1 in October, you can apply for a contribution under Scheme 3A or 3B in November.

Employers may combine Scheme 1 or Scheme 3A/3B if they have two and more operations.

Please note, that if you apply for Scheme 3B, the decrease in revenue is always calculated according to the company ID number, not the individual operation.

We have more than one operation in Slovakia, where should we submit our application for a contribution?

You need to submit the application where the company is based according to the commercial register (or another register).

As the contribution is paid by the state, do I have to register in the Register of public sector partners?

By the end of 2020, it is assumed that you have met the registration condition. From the beginning of 2021, this assumption will not apply and you must register.

When can I apply for the First Aid+ contribution?

You can apply for the period from 1 October 2020, (meaning you can apply for October).

2. Who can apply and when the contribution will not be provided
Which employees are entitled to reimbursement?

Employees with an employment contract. The most common cases excluded categories are:

  1. • negotiators;
  2. • managing directors or partners without an employment contract;
  3. • people who can work who do not have to have an employment contract
    (e.g. parents, wife, children of a self-employed person or a single-person
    company, as defined in s2a of the Act on Illegal Employment);
  4. • volunteers.
We hired new employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Can we apply for a contribution?

Employers can apply for reimbursement for employees who started employment no later than 2 September 2020.

Can we apply for a contribution for an employee who has not worked for the whole month?

If you are applying for Scheme 1 or 3A, you cannot apply for the allowance during the time when the employee was on sick leave, on leave to care for a family member (i.e. receiving social security benefits), or on holiday.

If you are applying for Scheme 3B and the employee had an obstacle to work on his/her side or took leave on more than 50% of his/her working time fund, then you cannot apply for the allowance.

Can we apply for a contribution to an employee during his/her notice period?

No.

If I receive an allowance for an employee, can I dismiss him or her?

For both measures, restrictions only apply where the reason for the dismissal is redundancy of the employee or cessation of operations of (all or part of) the employer. In this case, termination is prohibited for:

  1. • one calendar month after the month for which the contribution is/was
    provided if the declared state of emergency is/was in place in the month
    for which the contribution was provided;
  2. • two calendar months after the month for which the allowance is/was
    provided if no state of emergency has been declared at this time.

Other reasons for termination of employment are not subject to the restriction.

When can we apply?

You can apply for the October allowance until the end of January 2021. For subsequent months, you must apply by the end of the month following the month in which the employee’s salary was paid. For example, if an employee works in December, the December salary will be paid in January, so you will have to apply by the end of February.

The full wording of the new rules can be found here.They also include measures for regular self-employed or selected self-employed groups that have no other income.