WE STAND BY YOU IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES
DICLAIMER: Please note that some parts of the relief package have not been adopted in the form of valid and effective acts or regulations yet, and during the COVID-19 state of emergency changes to the relevant legislation are being continuously, frequently adopted in an expedited legislative process. Therefore the final, valid and effective form of this package and conditions of individual measures may differ from the outline below. If you stay in touch, we will keep you informed about any further changes and update the information below.

Updated to 24.09.2020

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[accordion_title]SUMMARY OF ACTUAL LEGISLATIVE CHANGES[/accordion_title]
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GOVERNMENT AGREEMENT ON STATE GRANTS WITH RESPECT TO RENT PAYMENTS – this measure has not been adopted in a form of valid and effective legal act yet.
  • more details in section IMPACTS OF QUARANTINE MEASURES ON BUSINESS AND DAILY LIFE - PROTECTION OF TENANTS

ORGANIZATION OF RELIGIOUS EVENTS, WEDDINGS, FUNERALS AND PUBLIC MEETINGS HAS BEEN ALLOWED – decision of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic No. OLP/3796/2020, effective as of May 6, 2020 in connection with decision No. OLP/3881/2020, effective as of May 7, 2020.

  • more details in section IMPACTS OF QUARANTINE MEASURES ON BUSINESS AND DAILY LIFE – BAN ON ORGANIZATION OF THE MASS EVENTS

ACTIVATION OF THE SECOND AND THIRD PHASE OF THE SEQUENTIAL OPENING OF OPERATIONS, CHANGE IN SENIORS’ DEDICATED SHOPPING HOURS – decision of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic No. OLP/3796/2020, effective as of May 6, 2020.

  • more details in section IMPACTS OF QUARANTINE MEASURES ON BUSINESS AND DAILY LIFE – THE PLAN OF RELEASING QUARANTINE MEASURES, SENIORS’ SHOPPING HOURS

POSTPONEMENT OF ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDING AGAINST NATURAL PERSONS, PROTECTION OF TENANTS – Act No. 92/2020 Coll. amending Act No. 62/2020 Coll. on extraordinary measures concerning the COVID-19 disease and in the judiciary, as amended, effective as of April 25,2020.

  • more details in section IMPACTS OF QUARANTINE MEASURES ON BUSINESS AND DAILY LIFE - POSTPONEMENT OF ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDING AGAINST NATURAL PERSONS, PROTECTION OF TENANTS

ABOLITION OF OBLIGATIONS TO PAY CERTAIN SOCIAL INSURANCE CHARGES – Act No. 95/2020 Coll. amending Act No. 461/2003 Coll. on social insurance as amended, effective as of April 25, 2020.

  • more details in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 – POSTPONEMENT OF DUE DATES WITH RESPECT TO INSURANCE CHARGE PAYMENTS

POSTPONEMENT OF DUE DATES WITH RESPECT TO ADVANCE INCOME TAX PAYMENTS, DEDUCTIBLE ACCUMULATED LOSSES – Act No. 96/2020 Coll. amending Act No. 67/2020 Coll. on extraordinary measures in the financial realm concerning the COVID-19 disease (as amended by Act No. 75/2020 Coll.), as amended, effective as of April 25, 2020.

  • more details in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 - POSTPONEMENT OF DUE DATES WITH RESPECT TO ADVANCE INCOME TAX PAYMENTS, DEDUCTIBLE ACCUMULATED LOSSES FROM PREVIOUS YEARS

CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS AND NATURAL PERSONS WHO ARE SOLE SHAREHOLDERS OF LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES WITHOUT ANY INCOME – notice about the option to apply for state contributions, effective as of April 23, 2020

  • more details in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 - CONTRIBUTIONS FOR OTHER EMPLOYERS (“KURZARBEIT”) AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED

CONTRIBUTIONS FOR EMPLYOERS AND SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE EMPLOYERS (“KURZARBEIT”) – notice about the option to apply for state contributions within the project “FIRST AID”, effective as of April 17, 2020

  • more details in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 - CONTRIBUTIONS FOR OTHER EMPLOYERS (“KURZARBEIT”) AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED

CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS WITH SIGNIFICANT SALES DECLINES – notice about the option to apply for state contributions within the project “FIRST AID”, effective as of April 8, 2020

  • more details in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 - CONTRIBUTIONS FOR OTHER EMPLOYERS (“KURZARBEIT”) AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED

CONTRIBUTIONS FOR EMPLOYERS, IN CASE THEIR COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS HAVE BEEN ENTIRELY CLOSED DOWN – notice about the option to apply for state contributions within the project “FIRST AID”, effective as of April 6, 2020

  • more details in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 - CONTRIBUTION IN AMOUNT OF 80 % OF EMPLOYEES’ WAGES
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[accordion_title]FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED in connection with COVID-19[/accordion_title]
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The Government’s  package „First aid for employees, firms and the self-employed“ includes the following measures towards the protection of the Slovak economy.The implementation of these measures has necessitated amendments to multiple acts, and further changes to legislation are expected in the near future.

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[accordion_title] CONTRIBUTION IN AMOUNT OF 8O% OF EMPLOYEES´WAGES [/accordion_title]
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Firstly, please note that based on information published on the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Matters’ website, the contributions provided to freelancers will not be subject to income tax, to be paid based on the tax return for the year 2020.This statement is expected to be adopted in a form of valid and effective act during the coming days.

ADOPTED MEASURE: On March 31, 2020, the Government adopted its Resolution No. 178 governing the conditions of applying for state contributions in the amount of 80 % of employees’ average earnings. As of April 6, 2020, employers who have been forced to close their operations based on measures of public health authorities, may request state aid towards the payment of employees’ wages, up to 80% of each employee’s gross earnings (contributions Measure No. 1).

Who can apply for the contribution and when? Employers, including self-employed individuals (who are employers), in case their commercial operations have been entirely closed down by measures of the Public Health Office, causing obstacles to the performance of work by employees on the employer’s part, where the employer has an obligation to pay wage compensations to employees.

Who is not eligible to apply for the contribution? Employers that are public administration institutions (legal entities registered in the Statistics Registry of Organisations) and limited liability companies (hereinafter referred to as “LTD”) without employees.

Since when can you apply for the contribution? Since April 6, 2020.

Amount of the contribution? The contribution shall be provided in amount of 80 % of affected employees’ average earnings, up to the amount of EUR 1.100,00 per employee (Up to the amount of EUR 880,00 per employee, where their employer provided to them wage compensations under 80 % of average earnings due to an agreement with employee representatives).

If the employer provides to an employee wage compensations in an amount under EUR 1.100,00, the contribution will only be provided in the amount which was actually provided to the employee.

For which period(s) will the contribution be provided? As of March 13, 2020, when certain employers’ commercial operations were entirely closed down, to the end of mandatory closure.

To be eligible for this contribution the following conditions must be met:

  • the employee is in a standard employment relationship and the employment relationship was established on March 1, 2020 at the latest,
  • the employee is not subject to a termination period (based on a notice of dismissal),
  • sickness benefits or nursing benefits are not being provided to the employee,
  • another type of state contribution has not been provided to the employer,
  • the employer must not terminate the corresponding employment relationship(s) by notice, earlier than 2 months after the state paid out the corresponding contributions,
  • the contribution can be provided only to employers who pay to their employees a wage compensation under the relevant provisions of the Labour Act, 
  • the employer fulfils conditions under Section 70 paragraph 7 of the Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services,
  • the employer is not subject to procedure initiated by the European Commission on the return of unlawfully provided contributions,
  • the employer was established and started its activity on February 1, 2020 at the latest.
Where or to whom is an application for the contribution to be addressed? To an employment office (úrad práce) located where the employers official seat of business is registered. Employers are required to apply for the contribution by electronic means. The application includes a written declaration that the conditions stated above are met, and a statement concerning the number and salaries of relevant employees.

As of July 15, 2020, employers – kindergartens who have been forced to close their operations based on measures of public health authorities and who did not terminate the corresponding employment relationship(s) during the COVID-19 state of emergency, may request state aid towards the payment of employees’ wages under the following conditions (contributions for kindergartens).

Who is eligible to apply for the contribution? Employers:

a) kindergartens with legal personality, or

b) founders of kindergartens without legal personality,

if they do not terminate any corresponding employment relationship(s) even when their operations are closed or their activity is discontinued due to measures of the Public Health Office.

The following nursery schools are eligible to ask for the contribution:

  • primary school connected with nursery school,
  • united school,
  • external (“elocated”) departments.

The primary condition is that the kindergarten must be classified within the Network of Schools and School Facilities of the Slovak Republic.

Who is not eligible to apply for the contribution: Entities whose:

  • funding from public sources does not reach 51 % of all earnings,
  • founder is a local state authority (District Office).

Amount of the contribution? The contribution shall be provided in the amount of 80 % of affected employees’ gross earnings, up to the amount of EUR 1.100,00 per employee for one month.

For which period(s) will the contribution be provided? As of March 13, 2020, when certain employers’ commercial operations were entirely closed down, to June 30, 2020 at the latest.

To be eligible for this contribution the following conditions must be met:

  1. the employee is in a standard employment relationship and the employment relationship was established on March 1, 2020 at the latest,
  2. the employee is not subject to a termination period (based on a notice of dismissal) or if the employee´s employment relationship is concluded for a fixed period where this period elapsed during one of the months for which the contribution is provided,
  3. sickness benefits or nursing benefits are not being provided to the employee,
  4. the contribution will not be provided for remuneration for overtime work,
  5. another type of state contribution has not been provided to the employer,
  6. the employer must not terminate the corresponding employment relationship(s) by notice, earlier than 3 months after the state paid out the corresponding contributions,
  7. the contribution can be provided only to employers who pay to their employees a wage or a wage compensation under the relevant provisions of the Labour Code,
  8. the employer fulfils conditions under Section 70, paragraph 7 of the Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services,
  9. the kindergarten must be classified within the Network of Schools and School Facilities of the Slovak Republic,
  10. public funds represent at least 51 % of the total funding (except kindergartens, the founder of which is a municipality),
  11. an employer which is partially funded from public sources, where public funds represent from 51% to 80 % of the employer’s total funding, is obligated to include in the application a link to the website where it has published a profit and loss statement and/or a statement of income and expenditure for at least the last 2 years.

Where or to whom is an application for the contribution to be addressed? The application must be submitted electronically via the Central Public Administration Portal “slovensko.sk” with a qualified electronic signature to the electronic box of the employment office (úrad práce) located where the employment relationships shall be maintained. The application includes a statement concerning the number and salaries of relevant employees.

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[accordion_title] CONTRIBUTIONS FOR OTHER EMPLOYERS ("KURZARBEIT") AND THE SELF - EMPLOYED [/accordion_title]
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Firstly, we would like to note that based on information published on the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Matters’ website, the contributions provided to freelancers will not be subject to income tax, to be paid based on the tax return for the year 2020. This statement is expected to be adopted in a form of valid and effective act during the coming days.

The state contribution provided to self-employed individuals is not considered income to be included into the freelancer’s sales for the purposes of calculating his/her sales decline.

ADOPTED MEASURE: Due to the information published on the website of the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Matters as of April 8, 2020, there is an option for (Who can apply?):

the self-employed individuals

who discontinued or reduced their activity due to measures of the Public Health Office, or

if their sales declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic by at least 20 %  (at least 10 % in March).

to apply for a state contribution in amounts depending on the extent of the decline in their sales. (contributions Measure No. 2).

As per a directive of the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Matters published on its website, a specification of self-employed individuals eligible to ask for this contribution has been adopted. The following self-employed individuals are eligible, established and conducting their business activities under:

Act No. 455/1991 Coll. the Trade Act (most businesses)

  • specific regulations, e.g. Act No. 78/1992 Coll. on Tax Advisors, Act No. 323/1992 Coll. on Notaries and Notarial Activities, Act No. 586/2003 Coll. on Attorneys-at-law, Act No. 540/2007 Coll. on Auditors, Audits and Monitoring of Auditing Activities, Act No. 185/2015 Coll. (Copyright Act), Act No. 103/2014 Coll. on Theatrical and Musical Activities, Act No. 40/2015 Coll. on Audiovisual Services, Act No. 595/2003 Coll. on Income Tax, or
  • self-employed individuals active in agricultural production under Act No. 105/1990 Coll.

As stated above, service providers in the free professions and liberal arts such as actors, choreographers, dancers, musicians, journalists, sculptors, sportsmen, interpreters, architects, private doctors, surveyorspersonal assistants of persons with health difficulties, etc. will be eligible to apply for these contributions.

Who is not eligible to apply for the contribution? Limited liability companies (hereinafter referred to as “LTD”) without employees.

To be eligible for this contribution the following conditions must be met:

  • the self-employed individual´s sales declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • the self-employed individual has to be a health-insured self-employed person with social insurance at least until March 31, 2020 and his/her insurance lasts after that day, (including persons with deferred levies),
  • the social security and health insurance charges do not have to be paid by the self-employed individual as of the end of February 2020,
  • the self-employed individual´s business was established and started its activity on February 1, 2020 at the latest,
  • is not in a standard employment relationship,
  • the applicant’s business license is currently not cancelled or postponed,
  • was not considered as an enterprise in difficulties as of December 31, 2019,
  • fulfils conditions under Section 70 paragraph 7 of the Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services,
  • the self-employed individual is not subject to any procedure initiated by the European Commission on the return of unlawfully provided contributions.

For which period shall be the contribution provided? Since March 13, 2020 until the end of mandatory closures of commercial operations.

The amount of the contribution?

The specific amount of this contribution will be in the amounts as follows:

- if sales declined by at least 20 %, EUR 180.00 per self-employed individual,

- if sales declined by at least 40 %, EUR 300.00 per self-employed individual,

if sales declined by at least 60 %, EUR 420.00 per self-employed individual,

- if sales declined by 80 % or more, EUR 540.00 per self-employed individual.

The amount of the contribution for March 2020 will be in the amounts as follows:

- if sales declined less than 10%, EUR 00,00 per self-employed individual,

- if sales declined by at least 10%, EUR 90,00 per self-employed individual,

- if sales declined by at least 20%, EUR 150,00 per self-employed individual,

- if sales declined by at least 30%, EUR 210,00 per self-employed individual,

- if sales declined by at least 40%, EUR 270,00 per self-employed individual.

How to determine the sales decline? Several methods may be used:

  • comparing the sales within the month when the sales declined, with the sales from the same month in the previous year (for example comparing sales during March 2020 with sales during March 2019),
  • comparing the sales within the month when sales declined, with the amount of average sales as for the whole previous year (for example comparing the sales from March 2020 with the average monthly sales in 2019),
  • if the self-employed person did not operate all year or did not operate in the relevant month in the previous year, it is possible to compare the sales within the month the sales declined with sales as for February 2020.

Where or to whom may the self-employed address their applications for the contribution? To an employment office located where their official seat of business is registered, by electronic means. The application includes a written declaration that the conditions for the contribution are met, and a statement about how the sales declined etc.

As of April 17, 2020employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a state contribution in amounts according to one of 2 options also known as "KURZARBEIT" (contributions Measure No. 3), which will be provided pursuant to conditions described below.

Who can apply for the contribution?

Employers who will keep the corresponding employment relationship(s) in effect during the COVID-19 state of emergency, despite the closure or reduction of their commercial operations.

The distinguishing factor between Measure No. 1 and No. 3 is that the commercial operations of these employers (Measure No. 3) have not been entirely closed down or restricted by measures of the Public Health Office, but they are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in a general sense.

Who is not eligible to apply for the contribution? Employers that are public administration institutions (legal entities registered in the Statistics Registry of Organisations) and limited liability companies (hereinafter referred to as “LTD”) without employees.

Amount of the contribution?

There are 2 options for these employers, and the one they choose will be applicable to them during the whole period of the contribution grant:

  • a contribution commonly known as the "kurzarbeit" scheme in the amount of 80 % of affected employees’ average earnings, up to the amount of EUR 880,00 per employee, where the employees are unable to work due to the objective temporary inability of the employer to assign tasks,
  • a contribution in the amount depending on the extent of the decline in the employer’s sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to the amounts described above with respect to Measure No. 2.

The amount of the contribution will be limited:

  • up to EUR 880,00 per employee, where their employer provided wage compensations in the amount under 80 % of average earnings, due to an agreement with employee representatives,
  • in the amount of 80 % of employees’ average earnings, up to the amount of EUR 800.00 per employee, where their employer provided wage compensations in the amount of at least 80 % of average earnings.

If the employer provides to an employee wage compensations in an amount under EUR 800,00, the contribution can only be provided in the amount which was actually provided to the employee.

To be eligible for the contribution, the following conditions must be met:

The contribution can be provided under the same conditions as the Measure No. 1, but certain additional special conditions must be met:

a) the employee is not drawing paid leave,

b) if the employer wants to draw these contributions (i.e. contributions depending on the extent of the decline in its sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the relevant employee may not be affected by obstacles to work on part of the employee and may not be drawing paid leave with respect to more than 50 % of his/her monthly distribution of working hours.

Since April 23, 2020 it is possible to apply for the contribution Measure No. 4 which is meant to help certain subjects who were not included in and eligible for state aid earlier.

Who is eligible to apply for this contribution?

Persons who do not have any income as of March 13, 2020 (including old-age pensions, early old-age pensions, disability pensions, partial disability pensions, state pensions) and who are:

  • self-employed individuals (defined under the Measure No. 2), who discontinued or reduced their activity and who are not health-insured and are without social insurance or they are not persons with deferred levies,
  • natural persons, who are sole shareholders limited liability companies (hereinafter referred to as “LTD”).

Self-employed individuals are eligible to the contribution, if

  • they do not have any income from business activities, non-profit activities or  dependent activity as of March 13, 2020,
  • they do not receive any old-age pensions, early old-age pensions, disability pensions, partial disability pensions, state pensions,
  • they were not considered an enterprise in difficulties as of December 31, 2019,
  • they fulfil conditions under Section 70 paragraph 7 of the Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services,
  • they are not subject to any procedure initiated by the European Commission on the return of unlawfully provided contributions,
  • they were established and started their activity on February 1, 2020 at the latest,
  • they are not health-insured and are without social insurance or they are not among persons with deferred levies,
  • their business license is currently not cancelled or postponed.

Sole shareholders of LTDs are eligible for the contribution, if

  • they are sole shareholders in an LTD,
  • the profits of the relevant LTD within the year 2019 did not exceed EUR 9,600.00 and cumulative sales were  at least in the amount EUR 2,400.00,
  • they are simultaneously an executive director of the LTD,
  • they are not an employee of that LTD,
  • they are not a shareholder in another company at the same time,
  • they do not have any income from business activities, non-profit activities or  dependent activity as of March 13, 2020,
  • they do not receive any old-age pensions, early old-age pensions, disability pensions, partial disability pensions, state pensions,
  • they were not considered an enterprise in difficulties as of December 31, 2019,
  • they fulfil conditions under Section 70 paragraph 7 of the Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services,
  • they are not subject to any procedure initiated by the European Commission on the return of unlawfully provided contributions.

The amount of the contribution?

  • for March 2020: EUR 105.00,
  • for April and May 2020: EUR 210.00.

The period during which contributions under Measures No. 3 and 4 shall be provided and the office, where an application for those contributions must be addressed, are the same as for the contributions under Measures No. 1 and 2. The main distinguishing factor between the application for contributions Measure No. 4 and the others is that this application does not include any company records/reports, only a written declaration that the conditions for the contribution are met.

In addition to selected eligible applicants stated above, there is an option for natural persons who do not perform any gainful activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but who worked before the crisis situation started, to ask for state support also known as the SOS GRANT.

Applicants for the SOS GRANT may not simultaneously apply for one of the contributions stated above (contribution Measures No. 1, 2, 3 or 4).

To be eligible for this contribution, the following conditions must be met:

  • the applicant is a natural person, who does not perform any gainful activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he/she had an income from such gainful activities before the state of emergency was ordered, and who does not have any income subject to income tax,
  • the applicant does not receive any old-age pensions, early old-age pensions, disability pensions, sickness benefits, unemployment benefits, state pensions, disability state pensions, benefits in material need, parental allowances, nursing benefits, or any other social benefits or other similar benefits from abroad,
  • the applicant is not a person applying for any contributions determined to maintain employment relationships (including relationships with freelancers) and to maintain employees in employment relationships due do the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • the applicant fulfils conditions under the provisions of Art. 8, paragraph 4 of the Act No. 523/2004 Coll. on the Budgetary Rules of Public Administration, i.e. he/she:

- has all financial relations with the state settled,

- is not a subject of enforcement proceedings.

The applicant is obligated to communicate every change in the conditions stated above to the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Matters, up to the end of the calendar month in which the change has settled. In May 2020, the applier is obligated to announce any change up to May 20, 2020, otherwise it is assumed that the applicant remains eligible to this grant.

The amount of the grant?

  • for March 2020: EUR 105.00,
  • for April and further months until the end of the pandemic: EUR 210.00.

The grant will be provided for every month in which the conditions for the grant are met for at least 15 days (in March the conditions must be met at least for 10 days since March 12, 2020).

Where must an application for the grant be addressed?

The application must be addressed directly to the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Matters. The application includes a declaration that the conditions for the grant are met. Approval or non-approval of the application will not be communicated to the applicants directly, but will be published on the website www.employment.sk.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title] BANK GUARANTEES AND DEFFERAL OF MATURITY DEADLINES ON INSTALMENTS OF LOANS [/accordion_title]
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ADOPTED MEASURE: Financial assistance may be sought by small and medium enterprises, provided by state institutions, as well as private banks based on state loans, mainly in the form of incentivized loans to keep the employees of those enterprises employed, as provided by two state banks: Exportno-importná banka SR (EXIMBANKA SR) and Slovenská záručná a rozvojová, a.s.

The state’s financial relief takes the form of:

a) Guarantees for provided loans – the Ministry of Finance will take up guarantees over and meet the liabilities of small or medium enterprises resulting from these bank loans, if those enterprises are unable to fulfil their obligations on their own;

b) Bonuses concerning interest if the debtors:

  1. keep their employment rates at a level stated in the loan agreement,
  2. do not get into arrears with respect to social security and health insurance charges.

The Ministry of Finance specifies the conditions which must be met to provide subsidized bank loans to small and medium enterprises in specific agreements concluded with relevant banks.

These bank loans are intended for small and medium enterprises to support their operations and their employment rate, which has been affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are known as:

  • Operational bank loan BUSINESSMAN 2020” provided by Slovenská záručná a rozvojová banka, a.s. as of April 20, 2020 (hereinafter referred to as “Loan No. 1"), and
  • “COVID loan” provided by EXIMBANKA SR as of April 27, 2020 (hereinafter referred to as “Loan No. 2").

Who is eligible to apply for these loans?

  • small enterprises: an enterprise with less than 50 employees and whose sales per year and/or total annual balance sheet did not exceed EUR 10 million,
  • medium enterprises: enterprises with less than 250 employees and whose sales per year did not exceed EUR 50 million, where their total annual balance sheet did not exceed EUR 43 million.

To be eligible to ask for the Loan No. 2, the enterprise must include at least some export activities in its business portfolio.

The purpose of the loans:

  • to fund costs to maintain enterprises’ operations and rates of employment,
  • to fund investments into tangible and/or intangible assets, in order to maintain enterprises’ operations and employment rates,
  • to pay off liabilities to the Social Insurance Institution and to health insurance institutions.   

The maximum maturity period of these bank loans is 3 years, whereas a deferral of instalment due dates will apply over the first year.

Advantages of these loans:

  • the postponement of instalments of the principal of the loan and of interest on the loan for 1 year,
  • interest reduction for the whole term of the loan (under some conditions defined below).

The maximum total amount of such a loan provided to one enterprise is in the amount of 50% of its cumulative sales in the year 2019, whereas the maximum cap of the Loan No. 1 is EUR 350,000.00 and the minimum amount is EUR 10,000.00, and the Loan No. 2 is capped at EUR 500,000.00, with a minimum amount of EUR 100,000.00.

Bonuses (reductions) concerning interest may be provided if the enterprises:

- keep their employment rates at a level stated in the loan agreement,

- do not get into arrears with respect to social security and health insurance charges.

A new legal regulation has been adopted with effect as of April 9, 2020 which governs a further measure of financial assistance,  available to citizens, self-employed individuals and small and medium enterprises in the form of an option to defer maturity deadlines on instalments of loans as opposed to the pre-agreed payment deadlines. The option to apply for the postponement of payment deadlines may be applied at any time during the pandemic. Banks will provide the option to defer due dates by up to 9 months; leasing companies and non-bank credit providers will allow for up to 3 months with the option to apply for 3 more months after the first postponement.

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[accordion_title] SICKNESS BENEFITS AND NURSING BENEFITS [/accordion_title]
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SICKNESS BENEFITS

An employee to whom quarantine measures or isolation have been ordered, during the period of the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak, is acknowledged as temporarily incapacitated due to mandatory quarantine measures, and is entitled to sickness benefits as of the first day of his/her temporary incapacity, in an amount of 55 % of his/her daily assessment base, whereas these benefits will be paid by the Social Insurance Institution as of the first day.

Insured self-employed individuals and other insured persons enjoying voluntary health insurance, who were quarantined during this period, are likewise entitled to the same amount of sickness benefits.

In such situations, each employee is obligated to communicate to their employer that he/she is entitled to any sickness benefits.

Please note that this type of quarantine may only be ordered by the Public Health Office of the Slovak Republic or by its Regional Public Health Departments and the measure stated above is valid only for persons who are considered temporarily incapacitated due to such quarantine measures as of March 27, 2020 at the earliest (if you are temporarily incapacitated starting before this day, the Social Insurance Institution will only pay sickness benefits in an amount of 55 % of your daily assessment base as of the 11th day).

How to apply for sickness benefits? (as per information published on the website of the Social Insurance Institution):

  1. Call or e-mail your doctor, who will issue a confirmation about your temporary incapacity and insert your phone number on this confirmation.
  2. The doctor will send the confirmation (without your personal signature) to the Social Insurance Institution.
  3. If you are an employee, the Social Insurance Institution will send a relevant part of the confirmation to your employer and you are also required to communicate to your employer that you are temporarily incapacitated.
  4. After that the Social Insurance Institution will call you and issue an application for the corresponding sickness benefit. If the doctor’s confirmation does not list your phone number, you will have to call the Social Insurance Institution on your own and only then will the Social Insurance Institution prepare an application for your sickness benefit.

NURSING BENEFITS

During the COVID-19 state of emergency, persons entitled to nursing benefits will receive such benefits as of the first day of a need on their part of full-time and personal attendance/care with respect to certain relatives, i.e. if the entitled person:

a) personally attends full-time to a child younger than 16 years of age, which based on its health conditions and pursuant to a medical confirmation requires attendance, or

b) cares for a child younger than 11 years of age (or a child younger than 18 years of age with long-term health difficulties), if:

  • quarantine measures or isolation have been ordered to the child, or
  • the pre-school facility or social services facility, in which care is normally provided to the child, or the school which it attends are closed by a decision of competent authorities or under mandatory quarantine, or
  • another person, who otherwise personally cares for the child, is incapacitated by illness, quarantine measures or isolation, or where such a person has been institutionalised, or
  • cares for a relative in the direct line, sibling, spouse, or spouse’s parent(s), if the social service facility normally providing intermittent social services or full accommodation to such dependents is closed by a decision of competent authorities, or in which quarantine measures have been ordered,

d) has mandatory health insurance and personally cares full-time for a child, where, during the COVID-19 state of emergency, the month elapsed in which:

  • the child reached 3 years of age, or
  • the child reached 6 years of age, if it is a child with long-term health difficulties, or
  • the child younger than 6 years of age ceased to have long-term health difficulties, or
  • the child (committed to the care of this person replacing the parents’ care) reached 6 years of age, where 3 years since the finality of the relevant custody decision have not elapsed, or
  • 3 years have elapsed as of the finality of the custody decision on care of the child, if the child is younger than 6 years of age.

The persons stated above are also entitled to these nursing benefits if the conditions above were fulfilled before March 27, 2020 and still last.

The amount of nursing benefit? These nursing benefits are paid by the Social Insurance Institution in an amount of 55 % of the daily assessment base, and only one caretaker is entitled to these nursing benefits for the same period of time if more persons care/attend to one of the above dependents.

How to apply for the nursing benefit? (as per information published on the website of the Social Insurance Institution):

  1. Complete an application for a nursing benefit published on the website of the Social Insurance Institution and send it by post or e-mail to the Social Insurance Institution; the Institution will start nursing benefits proceedings.
  2. If you are an employee, you have to communicate to an employer that you have to care or attend full-time to another person.
  3. You have to send to the Social Insurance Institution a written declaration (a draft is available on the website of the Institution) by the end of each month in which you cared or attended to another person. In this declaration you will need to indicate the period of time you cared or attended to another person.
  4. If you care or attend to:
  • child younger than 11 years of age (or a child younger than 18 years of age with long-term health difficulties), it is not necessary to contact its doctor first, and you are entitled to a nursing benefit automatically as of the first day of mandatory closures of facilities,
  • child older than 11 years of age (and younger than 16 years of age), you will be required to call its doctor first, and the doctor will decide if he/she will issue an application for nursing benefits; if so, he/she will send it to the Social Insurance Institution. Based on this application, the Social Insurance Institution will start nursing benefits proceedings.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] POSTPONTMENT OF DUE DATES WITH RESPECT TO INSURANCE CHARGE PAYMENTS [/accordion_title]
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ADOPTED MEASURE: A new amendment to relevant legislation has been adopted with effect as of April 6, 2020:

if an employer’s or self-employed individual’s sales declined by at least 40 % due to the COVID-19 situation, the employer or health-insured self-employed person with social insurance are obligated to pay social security and health insurance charges with deferred deadlines, instead of the standard payment deadlines.

This measure is also applicable if the relevant employer or self-employed individual loses its status as an employer or the self-employed individual before those longer due dates.

Contributions to old-age pension savings and supplementary pension savings systems are also due in the abovementioned payment deadlines set for social security levies.

Relevant due dates have been set as separate, different deadlines as for health insurance charges and social security charges respectively:

  • health insurance charges for March 2020 must be paid by July 31, 2020,
  • social security charges for March, May, June and July 2020 must be paid by December 31, 2020.

Based on the Government Resolution No. 76/2020 Coll., effective as of April 10, 2020, several methods may be used to determine the sales declines:

  • comparing the sales within the month when the sales declined, with the sales from the same month in the previous year,
  • comparing the sales within the month when sales declined, with the amount of average sales as for the whole previous year,
  • comparing the sales within the month the sales declined with sales as for February 2020, if the employer or self-employed person did not operate in the relevant month in the previous year.

If a business opts to defer payment of social security and health insurance charges to a later deadline (July 31, 2020), instead of the standard payment deadlines, this choice must be communicated to the Social Insurance Institution and to the relevant health insurance institution(s) by means of an application published on their websites, indicating the amount of relevant decline in sales. The application is to be sent to those institutions by post or e-mail.

A further deferral of the payment deadline with respect to health insurance and social security charges may yet be announced by the government, to a later date than stated above.

Under the bill adopted by the Parliament, employers and self-employed individuals with social insurance are not obligated to pay social security insurance payments, contributions to old-age pension savings and to supplementary pension savings for the month of April 2020 (the relevant period may be prolonged by the Government), if they were affected by the mandatory closures ordered by the Public Health Office for at least for 15 days in April 2020. To be relieved of those payments, they have to submit a written declaration to the Social Insurance Institution that the conditions for this relief are met in their case, up to the 8th day of the month following the relevant month (i.e. no later than May 8, 2020). Please note that this relief does not affect the duty to pay health insurance charges.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title]
POSTPONTMENT OF DUE DATES WITH RESPECT TO ADVANCE INCOME TAX PAYMENTS 
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The act effective as of April 25, 2020 amends the rules of advance income tax payments.The amendment will, for the first time, apply with respect to payments with due dates at the end of May 2020.

This measure allows relevant taxpayers to postpone the due dates with respect to advance income tax payments to later dates if their sales declined by at least 40 % due to the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with their sales in the same month within the previous year. The condition is that these due dates occur during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the taxpayer is obligated to pay those advance payments quarterly, they must compare sales within the relevant quarter with the sales of the same quarter in the previous year.

Therefore, if a taxpayer should wish to defer payment of advance payments for May 2020 (due date: May 31, 2020), their sales in April 2020 must be compared with the sales in April 2019. In case of quarterly payments for the quarter May, June, July 2020 (due date: July 31, 2020), the taxpayer’s sales in February, March and April 2020 must be compared with their sales in February, March, April 2019.

The obligation to pay advance income tax payments must not be fulfilled immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but up until the next deadline to file a tax return.

Taxpayers wishing to defer such payments must file a written declaration to the tax authority that the conditions stated above are met, at least 15 days before the due date of the relevant advance income tax payment.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title] DEDUCTIBLE ACCUMULATED LOSSES FROM PREVIOUS YEARS [/accordion_title]
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The act effective as of April 25, 2020 governs an option for business entities to include their accumulated loss from the period from the year 2015 to the year 2018 in their tax return as a deductible item.

The maximum amount of such deductible loss is limited to EUR 1 million.

If the taxpayers have losses from more years, first they must take the oldest loss into account, so if they have losses from 2015, 2016, 2017, they will be required to apply them as deductibles in that order.

The accumulated loss can only be included in the tax return concerning the annual period between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title] TEMPORARY PROTECTION OF BUSINESS ENTITIES [/accordion_title]
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On April 22, 2020 the Parliament has adopted a draft bill, amending Act No. 62/2020 Coll. on Extraordinary Measures Concerning the Spread of COVID-19, includes measures which are meant to provide relief to business entities whose operation and especially financial stability was affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The act governing the temporary protection will be effective as of May 12, 2020, and since this day the business entities may apply for that protection.

Who is eligible for the temporary protection?

Business entities (legal persons or freelancers):

  • whose official seat of business is registered in The Slovak Republic,
  • whose business license was issued before March 12, 2020.

Who is not eligible for the temporary protection?

Banks, institutions of electronic money, insurance companies, reinsurance companies, health insurance companies, asset management companies, securities traders and stock exchanges, depositories of securities, collective investment entities, payment services operators, pensions management companies, additional private pensions investment managers, payment institutions and creditors with a business license to provide consumer loans without restrictions.

What does the temporary protection entail?

  • proceedings on creditors’ petitions to declare bankruptcy over a debtor, filed after March 12, 2020 or during the temporary protection term, are interrupted and postponed, as well as bankruptcy proceedings based on a creditor’s petition, filed after March 12, 2020, where bankruptcy has not been declared,
  • business entities and their statutory bodies are not obligated to file a petition to declare bankruptcy over a relevant insolvent entity during the term of temporary protection,
  • interruption of enforcement proceedings against the relevant business entity initiated after Mach 12, 2020, concerning claims derived from business activities,
  • it will not be possible to begin an execution of liens (pledges) over the property or rights belonging to an enterprise under temporary protection, whereas any notifications of execution of such rights shall only be effective again as of the end of the term of temporary protection,
  • it will not be possible to set off a claim which arose after the temporary protection was provided, against a claim which arose before the temporary protection was granted, if the later claim belongs to a person or entity associated with the business entity under temporary protection (as per Act No. 7/2005 Coll. on Insolvency and Restructuring – the Insolvency Act),
  • after the grant of temporary protection, the other contractual party is not entitled to terminate a contract with an entity under temporary contract by notice, withdrawal or to  deny contractual performance in case of payment delay, which occurred in period from March 12, 2020 to the effective date of the present Act, and which was caused by the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will not apply if the other contractual party would thereby severely endanger the countinued functioning of its own enterprise; the right to take such steps remains unaffected if the payment delay of the entity under temporary protection occurred after the effective date of the present Act,
  • terms to apply claims as against a business entity under temporary protection, including terms to oppose the entity’s acts of legal significance, do not run and will be interrupted during the temporary protection,
  • the business entity under temporary protection and its statutory body or bodies are obligated to expend all reasonable and earnest effort in order to satisfy its creditors’ claims in the highest possible amount, and to prefer the common interests of creditors before its own interests or interests of others, as of the date of application for temporary protection; this mainly includes the prohibition to pay out profits or other resources to shareholders, the duty to refrain from manipulating the business entity’s property to a material extent; if bankruptcy is declared on an entity under temporary protection, legal acts effected in breach of these provisions, will remain ineffective as against the entity’s creditors,
  • the affected business entity is obligated to pay financial obligations which can save its existence and operation as a first priority, especially those arising after the temporary protection was provided, before the satisfaction of other claims,
  • improved conditions for credit and loan funding provided to a business entity under temporary protection, as such means of funding will not be assessed under the provisions of the Commercial Code and Insolvency Act on businesses in crisis.

How to apply for the temporary protection?

Any business entity may apply for the temporary protection at a relevant court by means of a special form published on the website of the Ministry of Justice. Legal entities will be required to file the application by electronic means with an authorized Qualified electronic signature; freelancers will also be able to file an application personally or by mail, but in this case they will be required to attach a copy of their identity card to the application.

The relevant court competent to handle such applications is the general court corresponding to the official seat of business of the applicant, as follows:

- the District Court in Trnava for the districts of the Regional Court in Trnava and in Bratislava,

- the District Court in Žilina for the districts of the Regional Court in Žilina and in Trenčín,

- the District Court in Banská Bystrica for the districts of the Regional Court in Banská Bystrica and in Nitra,

- the District Court in Prešov for the districts of the Regional Court in Prešov and in Košice.

Please note that any applications sent to the incorrect court will not be taken into consideration (will be summarily dismissed); additionally, the application may not be taken back. However, the option remains to apply for cancellation of the temporary protection after the temporary protection had been provided to the business entity, without the need to state reasons.

What must the application contain?

General information:

  • address of the relevant court
  • identity of the applicant:
  • as for a freelancer: name, surname, seat of business, registration number (IČO),
  • as for a legal entity: business name, registered seat, registration number (IČO),
  • e-mail address of the applicant, if the applicant is a freelancer  and does not have an activated official electronic mailbox,
  • declaration that all information and data stated by the applicant in the application are true, and that the applicant asks for temporary protection under the relevant act,
  • date of the application and the applicant’s signature.

Specific information stated in the application in a form of declarations that the applicant:

  • is eligible to ask for the protection, and follows the main goal of this kind of protection because of the significant increase of his/her claims unpaid after due dates or because of the significant decline in sales compared to the same period in the previous year, and if he/she did not operate all year, compared to sales in February 2020,
  • was not considered insolvent as of March 12, 2020,
  • no reasons for the liquidation of the applicant exist, and that no effects of bankruptcy or restructuring proceedings apply to the applicant,
  • as of March 12, 2020 no enforcement proceedings were ongoing against him/her, concerning claims derived from business activities,
  • as of March 12, 2020 no enforcement of liens (pledges) was ongoing over the property or rights belonging to his/her enterprise,
  • has not distributed profits or other own resources in the calendar year 2020, or that it has restored any and all consequences thereof,
  • did not take any measures which could endanger the financial stability of its business enterprise in the calendar year 2020, except for measures mitigating the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,  or that it has restored any and all consequences of non-compliant measures,
  • keeps its books (accounting) properly and is not in breach of the obligations to duly lodge financial statements under Section 40 par. 2 of the Commercial Code.

How will the court decide on a grant of the temporary protection?

The relevant court will issue a confirmation on the providing of temporary protection to the applicant, and will publish information about the fact that the temporary protection has been provided, included the identification of the business entity in question, in the Commercial Bulletin. The temporary protection will be effective as of the day following the day when the information was published in the Commercial Bulletin.

After that the business entity will be considered a “business entity under temporary protection”.

How and when does the temporary protection expire?

  • automatically as of December 31, 2020
  • as soon as the business entity applies for cancellation,
  • when the court decides to cancel the protection.

Once the temporary protection is cancelled regardless of the reasons, there is no option to ask for this kind of protection again.

The court will publish information confirming the cancellation in the Commercial Bulletin, including the identification of the business entity. The cancellation will be effective as of the day following the day when the information was published in the Commercial Bulletin.

How can the business entity ask for cancellation?

A cancellation application must be filed the same way as the application for a grant of the protection, i.e. by means of a specific form published on the website of the Ministry of Justice.

How and when will the courts decide on a cancellation?

If the conditions for providing temporary protection were not met at the time of application or cease to be fulfilled, or if the business entity in question breached the obligations resulting from the temporary protection, the relevant court will issue a decision about the cancellation of the temporary protection:

  • of its own motion, or
  • based on a qualified motion of another entity.

Anyone will be entitled to file a motion to cancel another entity’s temporary protection. Such a qualified motion must be filed to the competent court in the form of a proposal containing the general formalities and information required of court filings, and the description of the reasons any of the conditions for the protection were not met, or are no longer met.

Upon initiating proceedings on the cancellation of the temporary protection, the court will issue and deliver to the protected entity a resolution giving the business entity 5 days to respond in written form to the reasons stated in the motion, and to submit a list of property, a list of obligations and a list of associated entities as of March 12, 2020 as per Act No. 7/2005 Coll. on Insolvency and Restructuring – the Insolvency Act.
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[accordion]
[accordion_title]LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES IN TIMES OF COVID 19[/accordion_title]
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In regard to the recent developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high probability of the disease affecting a large portion of the population in the near future, the Slovak Republic has adopted several emergency measures to ensure that as many as possible avoid contact with others (social distancing) and possible infection.

- By the Government Resolution No. 111 dated March 11, 2020, a general state of emergency was declared on the territory of the Slovak Republic.

- By the Government Resolution No. 114 dated March 15, 2020 extended the emergency state with respect to the field of healthcare as of March 16, 2020.

- By the Measure of the Public Health Office No. OLP/2595/2020 as of March 16, 2020 and by the Measure of the Public Health Office No. OLP/2777/2020 as of March 31, 2020 many retail facilities and commercial operations providing services have been closed.

- By the Measure of the Public Health Office No. OLP/2640/2020 effective as of March 18, 2020, quarantine measures were adopted.

In consequence of these measures adopted by the state, significant doubts persist among employers and employees regarding the current and near-future state of matters during the COVID-19 situation. Therefore, we would like to provide as much information as possible to contribute towards dispersing the current uncertainty.

There is no doubt that Slovak employers are in very tight corner and many tough questions still need resolving. Moreover, some of the emergency legislation referenced above, especially with respect to government stimuli, has yet to be finally adopted. That is why we remain at your disposal to assist you with resolving any situation you may find yourself in, in these uncertain times.

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[accordion_title] WORK FROM HOME - "HOME OFFICE" AND TELECOMMUTING [/accordion_title]
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One of the most effective measures which can be used by employers to protect their employees from infection by COVID-19 and to enable them to work even if they could not perform their work at the workplace under normal circumstances, is to simply allow them to work at home or at another place different from the usual place of performance of their work. This form of performance of work is called “home office” and isn’t specifically governed by the Labour Code.

Obviously, not every employer will be able to allow its employees to work at a “home office”, as not every type of work can be performed at home - that is why it is necessary to assess the suitability of such an arrangement individually.

According to the last amendment of the Labour Code adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic,

a) an employer is entitled to unilaterally order an employee to perform work at a “home office”, if the agreed type of work can be performed at home,

b) an employee is entitled to perform work at a “home office”, if the agreed type of work can be performed at home and there are no substantive operational reasons preventing the employee from working at home.

If an employee refuses to work from home, the employer remains entitled to use certain other measures based on the provisions of the Labour Code governing obstacles to the due performance work on part of the employer.

Please note that with respect to “home office”, we recommend employers to modify their employees’ rights and obligations, the health and safety measures, as well as personal data protection in internal policies and regulations.

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[accordion_title] COMPULSORY PAID LEAVE [/accordion_title]
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The next option for an employer under the Labour Code is to order a collective drawing of paid vacation on part of employees for operational reasons. This measure must first be negotiated with employee representatives and only in case no employee representatives operate in the employer’s enterprise, may an employer act independently. This measure may not be imposed for a period exceeding 2 weeks.

The employer wishing to adopt this measure is obligated to announce the mandatory drawing of paid leave to the affected employees at least 7 days in advance. The mandatory drawing of paid leave transferred from previous years must instead be announced to the employees at least 2 days in advance. With an employee’s individual consent, this notification period may be reduced and the employee may start drawing their paid leave earlier.

As this kind of paid leave is for all intents and purposes equivalent to standard paid vacation, the employees in question will be entitled to wage compensations in the amount of (100% of) their average earnings.

We would like to note a recent change in legal regulations concerning the scope of paid vacation of employees who, at the end of the relevant calendar year, will have reached at least 33 years of age or are continuously caring for a child - such employees now have a claim to paid leave in the total amount of at least 5 weeks.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title]
ADRAWING SUBSTITUTE TIME - OFF FOR PREVIOUSLY WORKED OVERTIME
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In case an employee has previously worked overtime, the employer may agree with the employee on a drawing of substitute time-off for that overtime work (instead of paid leave or other options).
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[accordion_title]
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE DISTRIBUTION OF WORKING HOURS
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In connection with the spreading of COVID-19 employers have the option to reconsider the distribution of working hours and  potential adjustments thereto, in which case this measure must be announced to each affected employee by the employer at least two days  in advance, if a shorter period of advance notice has not been mutually agreed, and with effects lasting at least one week.

In the context of adjustment of the set weekly working time, an employer does, however, also have the obligation to allow an employee, if possible under the circumstances of the employer’s operation, an appropriate adjustment of the agreed weekly working time at the employee’s request, for health reasons or for other serious reasons on part of the employee, or to agree on such adjustments with the employee under the same conditions as set forth by the relevant employment agreement.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title] TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES TO DIFERRENT KINDS OF WORK [/accordion_title]
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Exceptionally, in case it is necessary according to a medical opinion or a decision of public health authorities, an employee may be required to perform work of a different type or in a different place than that agreed in their employment agreement, and in these cases an employer has an obligation to transfer an employee to a different posting.

If the objective of this compulsory transfer cannot be achieved by transferring the employee within the type of work as per the employment agreement, the employer may transfer the employee, upon mutual agreement, to a different type of work. The transfer to different postings, the reasons behind it and the duration of the transfer must be negotiated with any employee representatives in advance, and if the transfer of an employee should result in amendments to relevant employment agreements, the employer is obliged to provide the employee(s) with a written notification of the reasons for the transfer and the duration thereof.

If an employee is transferred to other work for reasons of quarantine measures imposed on him/her pursuant to special regulations, and if after the transfer he/she attains, proportionate of the number of hours worked, wages lower than those earned for the performance of work pursuant to the original employment agreement, he/she shall be entitled to a supplementary compensation at least to match the level of the average earnings he/she received before the transfer.

The costs of the supplementary pay due to quarantine measures shall be reimbursed to the employer by the public health authority which ordered the measures in question, and any contributions to the pension and health insurance funds (mandatory charges) must also be paid on the supplementary compensations. Please note that the employer is obligated to claim repayment from the public health authority by means of a written application within 30 days as of the termination of quarantine measures.[/accordion_content]

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MATERIAL PERSONAL OBTACLES TO THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK ON PART OF EMPLOYEES
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The Labour Code governs, under Section 141 par. 1, certain important personal obstacles to the due performance of work on the employee’s part, which may include  the currently very notable situations where an employee:

a) suffers from temporary incapacity to perform work due to disease or accident,

b) is in quarantine or isolation,

c) personally attends (full-time) to an ill family member pursuant to special regulations,

d) personally cares (full-time) for another person pursuant to special regulations,

e) personally cares for a child younger than 10 years of age and must undergo an examination or treatment in a medical facility, which infeasible to arrange outside of the employee’s working hours.

In the above cases, an employer is obligated to excuse the absence of an employee at work for periods of the employee’s temporary incapacity to work, regardless of the actual duration of these obstacles. During such periods, an employee is normally not entitled to wage compensations pursuant to the Labour Code. An employee who cannot perform work due to abovementioned material personal obstacles (see letters b) through d) above) is considered temporarily incapacitated for working purposes.

Please note, however, that under Act No. 462/2003 Coll. on income compensations for employees’ temporary incapacity, as amended, the employer provides income compensation for any employee’s temporary incapacity to work in the amount of:

a) 25 % of the daily assessment base of the employee as of the first day until the third day of temporary incapacity,

b) 55 % of the daily assessment base of the employee as of the fourth day until the tenth day of temporary incapacity.

Starting on the eleventh day of temporary incapacity to work, the employee is entitled to sickness benefits under the provisions of Act No. 461/2003 Coll. on Social Insurance (Social Security Act), which are paid by the Social Insurance Institution in the amount of 55 % of the employee’s daily assessment base (a figure based on and proportional to the employee’s average earnings).

QUARANTINE

Quarantine may be ordered to a person only by the Public Health Office of the Slovak Republic or by its Regional Public Health Departments. An employee to whom quarantine measures or isolation have been ordered, is entitled to sickness benefits and is considered temporarily incapacitated for working purposes, whereas this fact must be communicated to the employer by the employee and duly proven, for example by means of the relevant decision, an official confirmation of the employee’s temporary incapacity to work, or medical statement.

An employee quarantined during the period of the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak is acknowledged as temporarily incapacitated due to mandatory quarantine measures, and is entitled to sickness benefits as of the first day of his/her temporary incapacity, in an amount of 55 % of his/her daily assessment base, whereas these benefits will be paid by the Social Insurance Institution as of the first day.

NURSING BENEFITS

An employee is entitled to nursing benefits if he/she:

a) personally attends to an ill family member full-time, or

b) cares for a child younger than 11 years of age (or a child younger than 18 years of age with long-term health difficulties), if

  • quarantine measures or isolation have been ordered to the child, or
  • the pre-school facility or social services facility, in which care is normally provided to the child, or the school which it attends are closed by a decision of competent authorities or under quarantine measures ordered based on special regulations, or
  • the person who otherwise personally cares for the child, is incapacitated by illness, quarantine measures or isolation, or where such a person has been institutionalised.

The employee is obligated to communicate to the employer that he/she is entitled to any nursing benefits.

During the COVID-19 state of emergency, employees are entitled to nursing benefits as of the first day of a need on the employee’s part of full-time and personal attendance/care with respect to certain relatives, i.e. if the employee:

a) personally attends full-time to a child younger than 16 years of age, which based on its health conditions and pursuant to a medical confirmation requires attendance, or

b) has fulfilled conditions for a nursing benefit (except the cases when the employee personally attends to an ill family member full-time), or

c) cares for a relative in the direct line, sibling, spouse, or spouse’s parent(s), if the social service facility normally providing intermittent social services or full

accommodation to such dependents is closed by a decision of competent authorities, or in which quarantine measures have been ordered.

These nursing benefits are paid by the Social Insurance Institution in an amount of 55 % of the daily assessment base of the employee.[/accordion_content]

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TIME-OFF FROM WORK WITH AND WITHOUT WAGE COMPENSATIONS
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An employer may provide to its employee(s) additional leave with or without wage compensations in the following cases, upon an agreement with the employee(s):

a) for reasons other than those stated in the Labour Code, or upon request by the employee(s) concerned, with or without wage compensations,

b) always with wage compensations if the employee(s) undertake to perform additional work as a compensation.

Please note that employers cannot unilaterally order employees to take time off from work without wage compensations, i.e. unpaid leave, under any circumstances. Any unpaid time off must be agreed between the employer and the employee(s) in question. 
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[accordion_title] OBTACLES TO THE PERFORMANCE OF WORK ON PART OF THE EMPLOYER [/accordion_title]
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”Obstacles to work on the employer’s part” can be described as each situation where an employee is unable to work due to the objective temporary inability of the employer to assign tasks, based on which the employee cannot perform the agreed type of work.

While such obstacles persist and prevent the employer from assigning work to any of its employees, the employer may provide to such employees paid leave from work with wage compensations in the amount of 80% of the employee’s average earnings, at least in the amount of the minimum wage. This option is not applicable for employees subject to mandatory economic mobilisation during the state of emergency and to whom a duty to remain at work was imposed (physicians, nurses etc.).

With respect to COVID-19 such obstacles can be caused by mandatory closing of retail and commercial operations, where the employers and employees have not agreed on any of the options stated above (to a sufficient extent). Especially in case an employee disagrees with the option to draw paid leave, or where an employee does not meet the conditions to draw paid leave, or where the employee is entirely unable to work under “home office” arrangements, etc.

An employer may enter into an agreement with employee representatives that the current situation is to be considered a substantive operational reason preventing the employer from assigning work to relevant employees, based on which the standard 100% wage compensations due to obstacles on the employer’s part may be reduced to (a minimum of) 60 % of average earnings.

Important note: If there are no employee representatives operating at the employer’s enterprise, this process may not be applied.

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[accordion_title] EMPLOYERS’ OBLIGATION TO PAY CHARGES AND LEVIES [/accordion_title]
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If the employers sales in March 2020 declined by at least 40 % due to the COVID-19 disease situation, the employer is obliged to pay (the employer’s) social security and health insurance charges by July 31, 2020, instead of the standard payment deadlines.

The contributions to the old-age pension savings and to supplementary pension savings systems are also due in abovementioned payment deadlines set for social security levies.

Please note that the postponed payment terms of abovementioned charges do not refer to payments that the employer is required to pay on behalf of employees (the deferral of payment deadlines only concerns the employer’s own contributions).

Employers are also not obligated to pay social security insurance payments for the month of April 2020 (the relevant period may be prolonged by the Government), if they were affected by the mandatory closures ordered by the Public Health Office for at least for 15 days in April 2020. To be relieved of those payments, they must submit a written declaration to the Social Insurance Institution that the conditions for this relief are met in their case, up to the 8th day of the month following the relevant month (for the month April 2020, it is required to submit a written declaration up to May 18, 2020 instead). Please note that this relief does not affect the duty to pay social security insurance payments on behalf of employees and to pay health insurance charges.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title] OPTION TO ASK FOR EMERGENCY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE STATE [/accordion_title]
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In case an employer’s commercial operations have been entirely closed down by measures of the Public Health Office, such an employer is entitled to apply for the state’s contribution in the amount of 80 % of each of its employees’ average earnings, up to the amount of EUR 1,100.00 per employee.

To be eligible for this contribution the conditions specified in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 - CONTRIBUTION IN AMOUNT OF 80 % OF EMPLOYEES’ WAGES, must be met: 

Employers not directly affected by mandatory closures, but impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a state contribution in amounts according to one of 2 options, also known as “KURZARBEIT”as follows:

- a contribution in the amount of 80 % of affected employees’ average earnings, up to the amount of EUR 880,00 per employee, where the employees are unable to work due to the objective temporary inability of the employer to assign tasks,

- a contribution in the amount depending on the extent of the decline in the employer’s sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as follows:

  • if the employers sales declined by at least 20 %, EUR 180.00 per employee,
  • if the employers sales declined by at least 40 %, EUR 300.00 per employee,
  • if the employers sales declined by at least 60 %, EUR 420.00 per employee,
  • if the employers sales declined by 80 % or more, EUR 540.00 per employee.

More information about conditions, which must be met to be eligible to apply for the contributions described above, please, is available in section „FIRST AID FOR EMPLOYEES, FIRMS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED“ in connection with COVID-19 - CONTRIBUTIONS FOR OTHER EMPLOYERS (“KURZARBEIT”) AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED.

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[accordion_title] SAFETY AND HEALTH PROTECTION AT WORK [/accordion_title]
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First, we would like to note employers’ liability regarding the health and safety of their employees at work. In this context, first of all, every employer has a general prevention obligation, i.e. an obligation to assess the risks and dangers facing their employees and upon such assessment, to adopt measures necessary towards securing the safety and health protection at the workplace.

  • Among these measures, the following are of note with respect to contagions and infectious diseases:
  • workplace measures: to disinfect any working area at regular intervals, to ensure protective gear for employees
  • measures concerning the performance of work: to determine the drawing of paid vacation, to refrain from posting employees on business trips to countries where     COVID-19 is prevalent, possible transfers to different positions or postings, performance of work in the form of “home office” and/or telecommuting, etc.

If an employer fails to fulfil its duties as stated above, i.e. fails to adopt necessary measures to secure the safety and protection of its employees in work, such a breach of the employer’s legal duties counts among the more serious violations of labour regulations.

Under the Labour Code, the corresponding obligation for employees to mind their health and safety and the health and safety of persons affected by their activities exists.

In accordance with the above it is recommended to all entities within labour-law relations to try to solve the current situation primarily by an agreement between employer and employee, whereas an employer and employee may also agree on an amendment of their employment agreement. Thus, a shortening of working hours, a change of the place of work, a change of the type of work or posting, etc. may be achieved by mutual agreement. In this respect, please note that the employer is in all cases obligated to draft any amendment to an employment agreement in writing.

During the current extraordinary situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers’ obligations to provide employees with health and safety information immediately have been mitigated, if an employee takes up new work or is transferred to a different workplace/type of work during a crisis, where the employer is objectively unable to inform employees immediately. The non-performance of this duty on part of the employer may not, however, cause immediate and essential endangerment of life or health of employees, whereas the employer will be required to fulfil their obligations immediately after the crisis situation ends, one month after the state of emergency was cancelled at the latest.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title]INABILITY TO PERFORM CONTRAKTUAL OBLIGATION DUE TO THE PANDEMIC[/accordion_title]
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The situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic is severe worldwide and the governments of most countries have been forced to adopt strict measures to prevent the spread of this disease. As Slovakia is no exemption in this respect and due to the fact that the state emergency was declared by the Slovak Government by Resolution No. 111 dated March 11, 2020, as well as the Decision of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic No. OLP/2595/2020 dated March 15, 2020 and the Decision of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic No. OLP/2777/2020 dated March 29, 2020 many retail operations and operations providing services were closed. Furthermore, by the Decision of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic No. OLP/2640/2020 dated March 18, 2020, quarantine measures were adopted.

It may be expected that the measures adopted to prevent further spread of the disease will have significant effect on the commercial environment and it is probable that these measures will also affect, among others, the ability of businesses to perform their obligations arising from contractual relations established before the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic broke out.

In this respect we would like to provide Slovak entrepreneurs with answers to certain questions they may have as to what to expect should they become unable to perform their obligations due to the current emergency regulations adopted by relevant Slovak authorities.

The particular cases occurring as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic vary to a great extent, and considering the contractual freedom of the parties in concluding commercial contracts, it will be necessary to review each case individually. That is why our team remains at your disposal to help you with solving any of the issues or specific situations that could possibly occur.
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[accordion_title] COMPENSATION OF DAMAGE - DAMAGES [/accordion_title]
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The breach of one party’s obligation arising from its contractual relationship can cause damage to the other party. The obligation to repay damages under the Commercial Code is to be considered an objective responsibility of the breaching party, with the possibility of liberation. The party that breaches its contractual obligations shall be required to compensate any damage caused to the other party regardless of fault with respect to the causation of damage (intention or negligence), unless it is proven that the breach of its obligation was caused by objective obstacles.

In general, the claim to damages arises only if all of the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • one of the contracting parties performed an action or omitted to perform an action contrary to its obligations, whereas the fact whether the liable party breached its   contractual obligations or obligations set by law has no relevance,
  • the other contracting party suffered damage (asset loss and/or lost profits),
  • there is a causal relationship between the breach of obligations by the relevant act/omission and the damage incurred.

The contracting party that performed an action causing damage to the other contracting party will not be liable for damages, however, if it proves that circumstances excluding its liability prevented this party from performing its obligations. Such circumstances are set forth and specified in Section 374 of the Commercial Code. The following requirements must be met in order to release the breaching party from its obligation to pay damages:

  • the circumstances must have arisen independently of the liable party’s will and must have been beyond the liable party’s control,
  • the nature of these circumstances prevents the liable party from performing its obligations,
  • the obstacles must be unavoidable, which means it cannot be reasonably expected that the liable party would avert or overcome such obstacles,
  • the occurrence of such obstacles was unpredictable at the time of contract conclusion,
  • the obstacles must be arisen prior to the default of the liable party on performance of its obligations,
  • the obstacle may not stem from internal financial or economic circumstances on part of the liable party.

Preventive measures adopted due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the closing of retail operations by which a selected scope of entrepreneurs are limited in performing their business activities, and therefore in achieving profits, may in all probability be considered circumstances excluding the liability of that contracting party which failed to perform its obligations duly and in time due to such restrictions.

The question whether in each particular case all of the above-mentioned conditions required towards the exclusion of liability were fulfilled, shall be reviewed individually in each single case, however. Please note, additionally, that the above circumstances excluding liability are limited only to the duration of the obstacles to which they relate, i.e. such circumstances do not have a permanent effect automatically and usually do not lead to the termination of the contract in question (see sections belows).

In this regard we would also like to point out the difference between actual objective circumstances that exclude the liability of an affected business, and those circumstances that occur subsequently as a result of these objective circumstances. While, for example, the long-term supply and service outage by a subcontractor caused by border closures, or impossibility of rendering personal services provided by employees abroad in a similar case of travel restrictions shall generally remain within the scope of circumstances excluding liability, other secondary consequences on the other hand may no longer qualify. It is advisable to pay attention especially to those cases where employees are put in quarantine after returning from abroad or affected by illness, which may no longer satisfy the requirement for any circumstances to be of an objective nature, and therefore may not qualify as unavoidable obstacles in performing obligations under the Commercial Code.
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[accordion_title] INTEREST ON ARREARS [/accordion_title]
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Interest on arrears is another legal consequence of any debtor’s default on the performance of its monetary obligations. A creditor who has fulfilled its legal and contractual obligations is entitled to claim interest on arrears accruing on the outstanding amount, at the rate specified in the underlying contract, otherwise at a rate set by a specific government regulation, whereas the creditor is not obligated to notify the debtor separately. The debtor’s default also entitles the creditor to a flat-rate refund of the expenses associated with enforcement of claims, likewise without further notice.
If the debtor’s delay in the performance of its monetary obligations causes damage on part of the creditor, the creditor shall be entitled to a compensation thereof only if such damage is not covered by relevant interest on arrears and the flat-rate refund of expenses associated with the enforcement of the creditor’s claims.
Accordingly, a creditor is entitled to interest on arrears and the flat-rate refund of expenses whenever the debtor is in arrears with the performance of its monetary obligations, regardless of the circumstances that caused the delay. That means that if the debtor is not able to perform its obligations due to the measures adopted with respect to the COVID-19 disease, these circumstances have no effect on the debtor’s obligation to pay interest on arrears as well as to compensate the creditor for any expenses associated with the assertion and enforcement of the creditor’s claims.[/accordion_content]
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CONTRACTUAL PENALTY
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[accordion_content]The obligation to pay a contractual penalty, as a lump sum set by the parties’ agreement that the debtor is obligated to pay to the creditor in case an obligation arising from the underlying agreement is breached, is defined by the Commercial Code as an absolute objective liability without the possibility of liberation.
The debtor cannot avoid its duty to pay an agreed contractual penalty, even if it by no means caused the breach of the obligation(s) secured by the contractual penalty and it will is obligated to pay the contractual penalty even if it is able to prove the existence of circumstances excluding liability for damages. The fact that the debtor's breach of its obligations secured by a contractual penalty originated in measures imposed on the debtor in accordance with the COVID-19 pandemic, thus has no bearing on its duty to pay that contractual penalty.
It is to be emphasised that the provisions of the Commercial Code concerning contractual penalties should only apply in case the contracting parties did not agree otherwise (e.g. by explicit force majeure clauses). The question whether the parties did not agree on a possibility of liberation from the obligation to pay contractual penalties should be reviewed individually in each particular case.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] IMPOSSIBILITY OF PERFORMANCE [/accordion_title]
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An obligation is  considered rescinded if the performance of that obligation becomes permanently and objectively impossible after the contractual relationship in question was concluded. Such an impossibility of performance can, however, still cause damage to the creditor, which the debtor, being unable to perform its original obligation to the creditor, shall be obligated to compensate. Such a compensation shall include any damage arising to a creditor from the causal effects of rescission of any obligations, the performance of which has become impossible.

This liability is considered an objective liability with the possibility of liberation. The debtor therefore does have an opportunity to relieve itself of the ensuing liability for damages, if it is able to prove that the impossibility of performance was caused by circumstances excluding its liability for damages, whereas such situations are detailed in section 2.1 above concerning general compensation for damages.

It may be assumed with a high degree of probability that in the given situation, debtors will not be liable for damage caused to their creditors due to any actual impossibility of performance caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, as long as they prove that all the conditions required towards the exclusion of liability were fulfilled.

Please note that a rescission of obligations due to the impossibility of performance occurs only in the event of a permanent impossibility of performance, i.e. for example if the performance is limited to a certain period of time which expires during the duration of the nationwide pandemic emergency measures, or if the performance is limited to a particular person quarantined at the agreed time of performance (e.g. artistic performances, appearance at a pre-agreed time and place). If, according to the contract and the nature of the agreed performance, the due performance can be achieved later, such a situation could qualify as an impossibility of performance but only as a delay on part of the debtor (see section above).[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] WITHDRAWAL FROM A CONTRACT [/accordion_title]
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withdrawal from a contract as a unilateral act of legal significance addressed to the other contracting party, which terminates the contract in question with effects as of the moment when the notice of withdrawal is served to the other party, constitutes a further sanction for delays on part of the debtor.

Any creditor is entitled to withdraw from a contract only in cases stipulated by law or pre-agreed by the parties. Presumably, many creditors will indeed exercise their right to withdraw from contracts in a situation where their debtors are unable to perform their obligations due to the current measures adopted in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In this respect, it is to be noted that a contract terminates by withdrawal at the moment when the withdrawing party’s manifestation of will - notification of the withdrawal is delivered to the other party. Correspondingly, the parties shall be obliged to mutually return any consideration that has already been mutually rendered.

According to the Commercial Code, a delay on part of the debtor delay is (in most cases) not automatically considered a reason for withdrawal from the relevant contract, however it may often form a reason for a legitimate withdrawal in cases where the debtor does not perform its obligation even in an additional reasonable period of time provided to him by the creditor.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING INSOLVENCY [/accordion_title]
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Any contracting party is obliged to notify its contracting partner regarding the breach of its obligations, i.e. each and every subject of commercial relations is obliged to notify its counterpart about the nature of any obstacles which prevent it, or will prevent it, from performing its obligations, and of the effects thereof. The notification obligation must be fulfilled without undue delay after the liable party has learned of such an obstacle, or could have learned of it if all due care had been taken. In the event that the liable party fails to fulfil this obligation, the other injured party shall be entitled to compensation for the damage caused due to the failure of the liable party to satisfy the notification obligation.

If a contracting party, due to the measures adopted with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak, is no longer able to perform its obligations and therefore the other party would be exposed to a risk of damage, it is necessary for the liable party to reach out to its contracting partner and to notify it about the situation, in order to provide the opportunity to take necessary measures in order to avert any damage or to mitigate it. 

With respect to the above, we recommend to any businesses and other legal entities that may during this period of time become unable to perform their obligations, to immediately contact their counterpart and initiate negotiations so that existing contracts may be amended. This way the negative consequences of the current situation may be prevented, since there is a chance that a change of due date of receivables, partial performance, changes of the subject of obligations, changes in securing measures, and other modalities can be agreed upon by the parties to mutual satisfaction.

Please note that in case of bankruptcy and/or insolvency, even if it originated due to the current emergency, the statutory body of any legal entity is obliged to file a petition to declare bankruptcy or initiate restructuring proceedings within a 30-day period. This period has been prolonged to 60 days by the Act No. 62/2020 Coll., effective as of March 27, 2020. However, a breach of this obligation may still, besides substantial fines imposed directly on the statutory body or bodies, lead to criminal charges.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title]TAX OBLIGATIONS AND THE CORONAVIRUS[/accordion_title]
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The following amendments have been adopted concerning the businesses’ tax obligations due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

In general the Tax Offices shall permit extensions of default time limits elapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic, if the taxable entity undertakes the delayed procedural action at latest by the end of the calendar month following the end of the pandemic. The only exemption is the obligation to file the tax return and pay taxes,to pay advance income tax payments and to file control and summary VAT reports.

Tax due for payment during the COVID-19 pandemic must be paid by the end of the calendar month following the end of the pandemic situation and delayed payments shall not be considered as a default of payment in such cases.

The tax return with respect to income tax must be filed by the end of the calendar month following the end of the pandemic situation and within the same period it is necessary to pay the corresponding income tax.

If a taxable entity files the tax return and pays income tax (due during the pandemic period) by the end of the calendar month following the end of the pandemic situation, the Tax Office will not levy default charges for the delay.

If a taxable entity applies for a return payment based on overpayment in its tax return, the return payment will be paid back to the taxable entity within 40 days as of the end of the calendar month, in which the tax return was filed.  If the taxable entity filed an additional tax return for the year 2019 up to March 12, 2020, the return payment will be paid to it within 40 days as of March 31, 2020. We would like to note that in case the taxable entity applies a higher overpayment sum than its actual claim, a fine will be imposed in the amount of 100% of the difference between the right amount of the overpayment and the requested return payment.

Taxable entities may include their accumulated loss from the period from the year 2015 to the year 2018 in their tax returns as a deductible item. The accumulated loss can be included in the tax return concerning the annual period between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The maximum applicable deductible amount is EUR 1 million.

The obligation to pay advance income tax payments, due dates of which occur during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, can be postponed to later dates if the taxable entitys sales declined by at least 40 % due to the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with its sales in the same month in the previous year. The taxable entity will be required to submit a declaration to the Tax Office that the condition for the postponement are met, up to 15 days before the due dates of the respective advance income tax payments. The postponement may be applied for the first time with respect to payments with due dates at the end of May 2020.

The due dates to file a value added tax return (hereinafter referred to as “VAT”) and to pay VAT have not been amended during the pandemic, which means that VAT returns must be filed and VAT must be paid in standard due dates.  If VAT is not  paid in the standard deadlines, but will be paid by the end of the calendar month following the end of the pandemic situation, the delay shall not be considered a default of payment, but the relevant Tax Office will levy default charges for the delay.

If the taxable entity is not able to file a VAT return or to pay VAT within the statutory term, it may still  apply for annulment of consequences of the delay. The Tax Office is only obligated to excuse and annul delays for serious reasons, under the conditions that the taxable entity applies for annulment up to 30 days after the reasons for the delay expired, where the delayed VAT payment is paid within the same deadline. The serious reasons for the delay must be specified in the relevant annulment application (e.g. illness, hospitalization). The period of the COVID-19 pandemic in itself is not a relevant reason to excuse and annul the delay. In case the VAT return was not filed in statutory period and the delay is annulled by the Tax Office, fines will not be imposed to the taxable entity and if the relevant VAT amounts are paid simultaneously with filing the VAT return, default charges will likewise not accrue for the period of the delay.

If a taxable entity repeatedly does not file a VAT return, does not pay VAT or does not file a control report in the statutory period during the pandemic, the Tax Office will not publish this entity in the registry of VAT registered subjects which fulfil conditions for cancellation of their VAT payer status.  The condition is that the delayed obligations must be fulfilled by the end of the month following the end of the pandemic period.

Taxable entities are not obligated to pay advance vehicle tax payments with due dates occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, as of April 2020. These payments will be the subject of a following tax return.[/accordion_content]

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[accordion_title]IMPACTS OF QUARANTINE MEASURES ON BUSINESS AND DAILY LIFE[/accordion_title]
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[accordion_title] HYGIENE MEASURES IN OPERATIONS [/accordion_title]
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Due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to restrict social contact between people to the maximum possible extent the Decision of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic was adopted, based on which several hygiene measures for customers must be followed by all operations as of September 01, 2020 and until further notice, in particular:

  • ensure that persons enter the operation and stay there (inside or outside  the operation) only if they have upper respiratory orifices covered with face masks or scarfs (etc.) except the required time while the customer is eating or drinking;
  • ensure hand sanitizer or disposable gloves at the store’s entry,
  • it is recommended to ensure distancing between customers at least 2 metres while queueing,
  • is recommended that the number of customers in the operation at any given moment does not exceed the concentration of one customer per 10 square meters of the operation’s sales area, except children, it is further recommended to ensure distancing between customers of at least 2 metres and as for retail operations providing meals, where they ensure distancing between tables of at least 2 metres;
  • ensure that at every entry a notice is placed warning of the necessity to comply with all of the abovementioned hygiene measures;
  • ventilate the operation’s area frequently and disinfect contact places, door handles, trolleys shopping baskets, used tools and instruments frequently,
  • grocery stores, retail operations providing meals, including fast food stands and other take-away vendors of food and drinks must ensure regular and effective cleaning and disinfection of their operations, which must be done carefully during daily sanitation and on the basis of common standard hygiene practices.

Operators are obligated to demand from employees or self-employed individuals, who came back from high-risk countries:

  • proof that they have fulfilled the obligation to complete home isolation with a negative result of the COVID-19 virus RT-PCR test performed in laboratories on the territory of the Slovak republic,
  • confirmation of crossing the Slovak border older than 10 days,
  • other evidence of the existence of negative results of a COVID-19 test, or
  • proof of the applicability of an exception to the obligations stated above.

If the person is unable to prove they are COVID-19 negative in one of the ways stated above, the operator will be eligible to notify the relevant regional public health authority and deny that person entry into the operation. However the operators will only be obligated to require one of the above confirmations if they have knowledge or reasonable suspicion (commencement of employment, days-off, business trip, etc.) that they have such an obligation.    

To ensure fresh air and its good quality in the operation, following measures are recommended:

  • ventilate the operation’s area frequently and intensively, mainly in the natural way by opening windows;
  • ensure more frequent air exchange in operations with air conditioning and ensure its permanent functioning;
  • put air conditioning systems at nominal flow of air approx. 2 hours before the opening of the operation and to a lower air flow approx. 2 hours after closing; when the building is not use, do not switch off the air conditioning system, but keep it in operation at a lower air flow;
  • turn on the air conditioning system at least 24 hours before the opening of operations, if it was not used during the last 2 months;
  • do not open windows in restrooms, if they are ventilated by forced ventilation;
  • do not use rotary heat exchangers or make sure they do not show leaks, which may allow penetration of inflow air into supplied air;
  • switch any recirculation units to 100% outdoor air supply, if technically possible;
  • do not use air cleaners without HEPA filters;
  • use all options of vacuum ventilation (ventilators) in halls, restrooms and kitchens;
  • perform regular filter replacement and maintenance using ordinary protective measures including protection of respiratory orifices.

Retail operations providing meals must follow measures specified as follows:

  • disinfect tables and contact areas after every customer,
  • if dishes are used (plates, cutlery, drinking glasses), they must be washed in accordance with the requirements set forth in the Regulation of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic No. 533/2007 Coll.; where dishes are hand-washed, it is recommended to use appropriate disinfectants before rinsing,
  • personnel must wear face-masks and use hand-sanitizer between serving meals to different tables must,
  • cutlery must be wrapped in a paper wipe and brought to the table when a new costumer is seated, whereas it may not be freely available to customers;
  • hand soap and single use wipes must be available in the operation’s facilities;
  • the facilities (bathrooms) of the operation must be disinfected at least once every hour.

Taxi operations may provide simultaneous transport under the condition that driver’s upper respiratory orifices are covered. A recommendation is in place to separate the passenger area from the driver’s area in a suitable manner and to arrange passenger seating on the back seats only. Taxi drivers must disinfect the passenger area after every passenger.

Body care facilities must follow measures specified as follows:

  • the personnel must cover their upper respiratory orifices in an appropriate manner,
  • the operation’s time schedule must be modified in accordance with the obligation to clean and disinfect the workplace (workbenches and tables, chairs, basins and foot baths) after every customer,
  • covering of the customer’s upper respiratory orifices is not necessary during the unavoidable time where such protection would prevent the relevant procedure (face treatment, washing hair, etc.),
  • hand soap and single use wipes must be available in the operation’s facilities.

Wellness Body care facilities are obligated to follow additional measures specified as follows:

  • the personnel must cover their upper respiratory orifices,
  • hand sanitizer and paper wipes must be available in all wellness areas,
  • any contact areas must be disinfected regularly and frequently.

Fitness centres must follow measures specified as:

  • the personnel must cover their upper respiratory orifices
  • hand soap and single use wipes must be available in the operation’s facilities,
  • the area of operations must be cleaned, and contact areas disinfected, more frequently than usual.

Driving schools and operations of other entities authorized to provide courses of elementary qualification and regular training are obligated to:

  • ensure covering of drivers’ and instructors’ upper respiratory orifices,
  • disinfect the interior of the vehicle/object (especially the steering wheel and gear lever) after every training (in a vehicle or simulator),
  • the practical driving training within group A (motorcycles) may be executed only under the condition that every driver has his/her own helmet and protective equipment (for example protective gloves).

Theatres and musical venues, cinemas and other types of artistic performances may provide their services under conditions specified below:

  • do not allow the entrance of artists and performers into the area(s) of artistic activity, if their body temperature is above 37,2 °C,
  • it is recommended to restrict the number of available tickets (seat tickets) so that a minimum of one seat between audience members is unoccupied, and every other row of seats is likewise unoccupied,
  • hand soap and paper wipes must be available in the operation’s facilities;
  • facilities (bathrooms) must be disinfected every hour;
  • contact areas (door handles, handrails, desks) must be disinfected before each performance.

Swimming pools (and natural pools) are obligated to follow these requirements:

  • before re-opening, pools without recirculation must be emptied of water, mechanically cleaned, disinfected and filled with new water; the water in pools with recirculation must be cleaned in the recirculation apparatus; any technical equipment must be cleaned and disinfected and the process of disinfection must include procedures necessary towards the liquidation of microbiological pollution including legionella pollution (e.g. thermal disinfection);
  • pools may be re-opened only if the results of water quality analysis are acceptable;
  • ensure hand sanitizer or disposable gloves at entry are used by visitors,
  • during water treatment,  longstanding procedures confirmed to be effective must be followed; the content of free-chlorine and other disinfectant products must be kept at
  • upper limits of the permitted  scales according to valid legislation for pools, whereas the frequency of checking these values must be doubled,
  • the pool’s area must be ventilated frequently, mainly by natural means,
  • it is recommended to ensure distancing between people/members of families/households of at least 2 metres,
  • ensure the non-functionality of drinking fountains,
  • the pool’s area, sports and pool equipment must be disinfected and cleaned more frequently, especially contact areas (toilets, doors, tables, chairs, backrests, handrails),
  • pools designed for infants and toddlers must be disinfected at adequate intervals, and at least once after every group of visitors,
  • hand soap and single-use wipes must be available in the operation’s facilities.

Waterparks and outdoor pools are at the same time obligated to:

  • ensure that the number of visitors in the operation at any given moment does not exceed 1000,
  • operators must be able to ascertain and prove the number of visitors present at any time. 

Shopping centres are obligated to:

  • ensure soap and single-use wipes in hygienic facilities,
  • disinfect facilities (bathrooms) at least once every hour,
  • operations located in areas determined for eating and drinking must follow measures applicable to operations providing meals, as detailed above.

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[accordion_title] FINES [/accordion_title]
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Failure to comply with the abovementioned measures of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic by retail operations and operations providing services is an administrative offense for which a fine may be imposed in amounts up to EUR 20,000.00.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] LIMITED DISTRIBUTION OF PERSONAL PROTECTTIVE EQUIPMENT [/accordion_title]
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Since April 6, 2020 the sale or another means of supply of particular types of personal protective equipment is permitted only to buyers/recipients explicitly listed by law, whereas this measure only applies during crisis situations.

The ban on sales concerns personal protective equipment – FFP2 and FFP3 respirators (also designated as KN95 in other jurisdictions).

FFP2 and FFP3 respirators may, as of April 4, 2020 only be sold and supplied to the following recipients:

  • healthcare providers that provide healthcare within the territory of the Slovak Republic, medical professionals who pursue a medical profession in the Slovak Republic,
  • state administration bodies and local self-government authorities,
  • legal entities and self-employed entrepreneurs obligated to secure the personal protective equipment according to particular regulations and perform activities during which use of such personal protective equipment is necessary to the protection of life and health,
  • legal entities and natural persons that have concluded with the Healthcare Surveillance Authority an agreement on performing post-mortem examinations,
  • legal entities and self-employed entrepreneurs that provide funeral services in the Slovak Republic,
  • employee of forensic medicine and anatomic-pathological departments of the Healthcare Surveillance Authority,
  • persons with medical conditions necessitating the use of such equipment,
  • entities enagaged in distribution of such personal protective equipment in the Slovak Republic, with a registered office or place of business in the Slovak Republic, which further sell or supply the equipment in question to persons and/or entities listed in sections 1) through 8) above.

Until this day the Ministry of Healthcare of the Slovak Republic has not published any decrees regulating the list of specific diagnoses and sales conditions with respect to persons with associated medical conditions (see section 8 above): it may be assumed, therefore, that the sale or supply of the designated respirators will be permitted under those conditions only after such specific regulation is adopted, which is expected in the following days.

The use of respirators in order to protect health and life according to section 4 above is required during the following types of work:

  • with dangerous substances,
  • in tanks, in limited spaces, in industrial devices and areas with unbreathable atmosphere, for example with pollutants or with a lack of oxygen,
  • near to blast furnaces,
  • near to gas convertors and gas pipelines of blast furnaces,
  • near to blast furnace tapping areas where smoke containing heavy metals may occur,
  • building furnace linings and skillets with high dust levels,
  • in facilities with high dust levels,
  • elimination of consequences of accidents, firefighting,
  • in shafts, sewers and other underground areas related to sewerage,
  • in refrigerated goods factories and stores with refrigerant leak danger,
  • application of paints and coatings,
  • mining, dressing and refining of minerals with high dust levels,
  • mechanical sanding and polishing of wood,
  • medical examinations and treatments,
  • in archives.
Please note that upon breaching the ban on the sale/supply of FFP2 and FFP3 respirators to persons and entities other than the above, a fine in amount from EUR 1,000.00 up to EUR 10,000.00 may be imposed on legal entities and a fine from EUR 500.00 up to EUR 1,000.00 may be imposed on natural persons. These fines may be imposed within 2 years since the day the breach of the ban was ascertained, and 5 years as of the day the breach occurred at the latest.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] OBLIGATION TO USE PERSONAL PROTECTTIVE EQUIPMENT [/accordion_title]
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Since September 02, 2020 until September 14, 2020, a duty is in place for all persons to use a face mask or to cover upper respiratory orifices with another type of protection (scarfs, bandannas, etc., hereinafter referred to as “face mask”) when they go out and move in public in the interiors of buildings and in public transportation, except:

  • children younger than 3 years old,
  • persons with severe autistic spectrum disorders,
  • drivers of public transport, if they work in closed cabins separated from the sections used to transport passengers,
  • first-grade pupils of primary schools in the interior within the educational process,
  • pupils with medium or severe mental or hearing impairments,
  • students during entrance examinations, commission exams, language exams, professional qualification examinations and other final educational examinations;
  • participants of state language exams;
  • children in interior premises of kindergartens and nurseries;
  • persons participacing in sports activities;
  • persons being photographed;
  • the bride and groom during weddings;
  • children during the First Holy Communion;
  • performers during shooting an audio-visual work or producing programs and artists during art performances;
  • persons during a visit of wellness or swimming pools;
  • participants during rehabilitation events for children and youth, including personnel and while all activities in areas determined for rehabilitation, and also while staying outdoors;
  • employees working in common workplace areas if they ensure distancing at least 2 metres apart, or where an employee works at such a workplace alone.
It is recommended to all persons to still cover upper respiratory orifices during outside presence in public in the exterior, if the distance between them and other persons is less than 2 metres.
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[accordion_title]
MANDATORY LABOUR DURING THE CRISIS SITUATION
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The Government has adopted the Resolution No. 114 dated March 15, 2020, by which the emergency state with respect to the field of institutional healthcare was declared on the territory of the Slovak Republic as of March 16, 2020.

Since March 16, 2020 compulsory labour obligations and a nationwide ban on strike have been declared with respect to employees of providers of the institutional healthcare, such as:

  • The University Hospital, Bratislava,
  • The National Institute of Children´s Diseases, Bratislava,
  • The National Institute of Cardiac and Cardiovascular Diseases, Bratislava,
  • The National Institute of Oncology, Bratislava,
  • The Hospital of St. Michael, Bratislava,
  • The University Hospital, Trnava,
  • The University Hospital, Nitra,
  • The University Hospital and Clinic, Nové Zámky,
  • The University Hospital, Trenčín,
  • The University Hospital and Clinic, Žilina,
  • The University Hospital, Martin,
  • The SNP Central Military Hospital Ružomberok – University Hospital,
  • The University Hospital and Clinic of F. D. Roosvelt, Banská Bystrica,
  • The Pediatric University Hospital and Clinic, Banská Bystrica,
  • The Central Slovak Institute of Cardiac and Cardiovascular Diseases, Banská Bystrica,
  • The University Hospital and Clinic of J. A. Reiman, Prešov,
  • The Poprad Hospital,
  • The National Institute of Tuberculosis, Lung Diseases and Chest Surgery, Vyšné Hágy,
  • The University Hospital of L. Pasteur, Košice,
  • The Pediatric University Hospital, Košice,
  • The East Slovak Institute of Cardiac and Cardiovascular Diseases, Košice,
  • The East Slovak Institute of Oncology, Košice.

Effective as of March 19, 2020 the mandatory labour obligations and the ban to go on strike have been extended to the following subjects:

  • holders of permissions to operate medical facilities of institutional healthcare,
  • holders of permissions to operate ambulant medical rescue services,
  • holders of permissions to operate ambulant transport medical services,
  • the Healthcare Surveillance Authority,
  • legal entities and natural persons that have concluded with the Healthcare Surveillance Authority an agreement on performing post-mortem examinations,
  • legal entities and natural persons that provide funeral services,
  • the Operational Centre of Rescue Medical Services of the Slovak Republic,
  • the Public Health Office,
  • regional public health offices,

and with effect as of April 18, 2020, the obligations and the ban have also been extended to providers of ambulant medical healthcare, specifically:

  • holders of permissions to operate a general medical practice,
  • holders of permissions to operate specific professional healthcare practices.

Since March 28, 2020, the above labour obligations and strike ban have been in effect, in order to ensure continuous nursing care, with respect to employees of social facilities, such as:

  • long-term inpatient social care facilities:

- social facilities for seniors,

- facilities providing nursing services,

- facilities providing social care services,

- specialized facilities,

  • child protection and family protection facilities.

The mandatory labour has been declared in order to ensure the proper and continuous provision of heathcare to endangered groups who need it the most.

The labour obligation is intended mainly to ensure that healthcare professionals remain on the job, as long as is necessary to vital public interests, and available to be transferred to another facility or place of work as may be necessary, etc.
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[accordion_title]POSTPONEMENT OF ENFORCEMENT PROCEDINGS AGAINST NATURAL PERSONS[/accordion_title]
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As of April 25, 2020, natural persons are eligible to apply for the postponement of the enforcement proceedings being conducted against them.

Only a natural person against whom enforcement proceedings are currently in progress is entitled to apply. The application for postponement must be filed directly to the respective bailiff / official enforcer.

An application will be taken into consideration if:

  • the application is complete,
  • the relevant enforcement proceedings has started before March 12, 2020,
  • a repeated postponement of the same enforcement proceedings is not requested,
  • the applicant has not been allowed to pay the enforced claim in instalments,
  • the enforcement proceedings does not concern maintenance claims,
  • the enforcement proceedings does not concern a non-monetary claim.

If the conditions stated above are not met, the bailiff will not take an application into account and he/she will inform the applicant about the relevant reasons.

The application must contain a declaration of the applicant that due to the COVID-19 pandemic his/her salary declined and continued enforcement may cause especially unfavourable consequences to him/her or to his/her family members. A summary of the applicant’s property must be annexed to the application.

After the application is filed, the bailiff will issue a notification of postponement of the enforcement proceeding, upon which the notification will be sent directly to all parties to that proceeding, the payer(s) of the applicant’s salary, bank(s), applicant’s debtors and/or other concerned parties.

The postponement will last 6 months as of the day the notification of postponement was filed, but no longer than until December 1, 2020.

Despite the postponement, the relevant bailiff may continue actions necessary towards finding and securing the applicant’s property, which may be subject to the enforcement proceeding, and if such actions were executed before the postponement, their effects remain valid.

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[accordion_title]PROTECTION OF TENANTS[/accordion_title]
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As of April 25, 2020 an act has been instituted, governing the protection of tenants from unilateral termination of their lease by their landlord because of the tenant’s delay with payment of rent (including all other payments related to the lease) with due dates between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020.

The protection only applies under the condition that the payment delay was caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas this reason must be duly demonstrable by the tenant.

Other reasons for the delay in payments of rent and related claims are not valid.

The protection is applicable up to December 31, 2020.

The protection applies to leases of:

  • real estate, including flats and apartments, and
  • commercial premises.

In this context, we would like to note that the landlord's right to rent does not expire in this case and the tenant remains obligated to pay it, including applicable interest.

With respect to the latest deliberations of the Slovak Government, we expect a measure alleviating tenants’ rent expenses to be adopted in the near future.

Such a measure should take the form of subsidy payments towards tenants’ rent by the state and apply to entities that were forced to close down their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemicThe state is expected to refund a part of relevant rent payments in the amount equal to the amount of any discounts provided by the landlord to relevant tenants. Where the landlord does not provide to any discount of rent payments to tenants, the tenant has a right to pay its rent in installments over the next 4 years. This measure is intended to convince landlords to provide at least some discount from rent payments in order to receive payments earlier. Several model situations come into consideration for how this measure may actually work:

1.    if the landlord waives 50 % of relevant rent, 50 % is to be refunded by the state,

2.    if the landlord waives less than 50 %, the state will refund the amount corresponding to the amount of the discount provided by the landlord and the rest of rent is paid by the tenant in installments spread over the next 48 months (for example, where a landlord provides a 40 % discount, the state pays 40 % of the tenant’s rent and 20 % is paid by the tenant over the next 3 years), or

3.    if the landlord does not provide any discount, the rent will be paid by the tenant in full, but with option to pay it in installments over the next 48 months, during which the landlord is not allowed to terminate the lease or increase the amount of rent.   

At the same time, the government intends to provide protection to those tenants who have already paid the relevant rent payments, for example if they have already paid the rent for 6 weeks, they will have option to apply for the abovementioned measures within 6 weeks as of the effective day of the act (which has not been adopted yet).

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[accordion_title]BAN ON ORGANIZATION OF THE MASS EVENTS[/accordion_title]
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Sports, cultural, social or other mass events or gatherings over 1000 persons in the exterior and over 500 persons in the interior are prohibited,.

In the case of sports and cultural mass events, only audience members are counted towards the above limits.

Currently, a ban on organization of cultural, entertainment, social or other mass events (disco, night clubs, pubs, etc.) is likewise in place, except weddings and funeral events and christening parties up to 150 attendees. The organizer of such mass events, among the exceptions stated above, must be prepared to prove that the event in question qualifies for the exception. The ban does not, however, apply to regular serving of meals in restaurants and other retail operations providing meals.

An exception from the ban applies to mass events, all visitors of which have negative COVID-19 test results not older than 12 hours at their disposal at the starting time of the mass event.

The above events may be organized only under the following conditions :(also applicable for mass events organized in the exterior):

  • entry and stay at the event is allowed only with covered upper respiratory orifices;
  • ensure soap and single-use wipes in hygienic facilities;
  • frequent mandatory disinfection of the event’s areas, contact areas, handles and objects;
  • hand sanitizer must be available at the entry of the event;
  • the organizer is to ensure that at the building’s entrance a notice is published reminding participants of the obligation to stay in home quarantine in case of acute respiratory disease;
  • the organizer is to ensure that a notice is published at a visible public place, concerning the obligations to:
    • contact a doctor by phone and leave the area of event, if symptoms of acute respiratory disease appear,
    • refrain from shaking hands;
  • it is recommended to ensure distancing between people at least 2 metres; except persons living in the same household, participants of sports activities, artists and performers during art performances, audience members, instructors while schooling other persons, or others where it is not possible to ensure distancing in accordance with the purpose of the event,
  • it is recommended to ensure seating of audience members so that a minimum of one seat between persons remains free and every other row of seats remains unoccupied, except where members of the same household are concerned,
  • organizers of sports events are obligated to ensure seating of audiences only in every second row,
  • serving snacks during sports and cultural mass events is prohibited,
  • ventilate the event’s area frequently,
  • organizers must be able to prove the number of each mass event's visitors at any time,
  • in the case of mass events organized in the exterior, the entrances and exits must be marked.

Sports campsites and workshops may be organized under the conditions stated above and at the same time under the following conditions:

  • at the starting time of the event every attender must submit to the organizer negative COVID-19 test results no older than 72 hours,
  • persons acting on behalf of the event’s organizer are obligated to have negative COVID-19 test results, no older than 72 hours, at their disposal,
  • the organizer is obligated to deny entry to the event to persons with symptoms of COVID-19,
  • the mass event must be organized under conditions of common isolation of attendees from persons not attending the event.

Meetings and sessions of state and local administration bodies and meetings organized by law may be organized under the following conditions:

  • ensure that at each relevant building’s entrance a notice is published reminding participants of the obligation to stay in home quarantine in the case of acute respiratory disease,
  • ensure hand sanitizer at building entrances,
  • ensure soap and single-use wipes in hygienic facilities;
  • publish at a visible place a notice informing of the ban to shake hands, the obligation to contact a doctor by phone if acute respiratory disease is detected and leave the workplace, and a reminder to wash hands with hot water and soap regularly;
  • ventilate the area frequently,
  • ensure disinfection of all contact areas (especially door handles, handrails, elevators etc.) and all contact objects (for example work desks, keyboards, cell phones, portable media, mouse).

The ban on gatherings and events is also no longer valid for religious services, first holy communions, confirmations,  weddings (civil or church) and the organization of funerals. These may be organized under the following conditions:

  • entry and stay in the church/registrar’s office/place of funeral only with covered upper respiratory orifices,
  • ensure hand sanitizer or disposable gloves at entry to the relevant event,
  • it is recommended to ensure that one seat between persons is unoccupied, except where members of the same household are concerned, and to ensure that every other row of seats remains unoccupied,
  • follow respiratory decorum (to cough, sneeze into a tissue or elbow bend),
  • it is not recommended to shak hands;
  • shaking hands as a sign of peace may be replaced with a bow or smile gesture,
  • the presence of persons to whom quarantine has been ordered or people with symptoms of acute respiratory disease is not allowed,
  • separate religious services for persons older than 65 and persons belonging to especially endangered groups must be organized on Sunday,
  • mandatory disinfection of objects used during religious services,
  • special measures must be taken while serving communion,
  • it is recommended to remove vessels with water (for example holy water fonts) from areas of ceremony/services,
  • disinfect ceremonial areas, especially contact places, door handles, floors, tools,
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[accordion_title]GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION[/accordion_title]
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WE PREPARE
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[accordion_title]FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS[/accordion_title]

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[accordion_title] ARE EMPLOYERS ENTITLED TO ORDER AN EMPLOYEE TO PERFORM WORK AT HOME, ALSO KNOWN AS „home-office"? [/accordion_title]
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Firstly, we consider it is important to note that the Labour Code distinguishes two types of work at home. The first type is the long-term performance of work at home, also called tele-work, which has an inherent long-term nature and this type of work must be directly agreed in the employment agreement. In this case some provisions of the Labour Code do not apply to the employee and need not be followed, for example the provisions on weekly distribution of working hours, or concerning regular daily or weekly rest periods (so the employee is able to distribute his/her work during working hours as it is convenient for him/her). The employee is likewise not eligible for wage compensations or other wage advantages due to work on certain occasions such as public holidays, if such wage compensations are not included in an agreement concluded with the employer. In this case the employer is obligated to ensure for the employee all technical and software equipment (except where the employee uses his/her own equipment under a specific agreement with the employer). The employer is also obligated to adopt measures to prevent isolation of the employee from contact with other employees and which enable the employee to meet with other employees on a regular basis.

The employee is eligible to perform work as a work at home (tele-work) only under a mutual agreement with the employer included in the employment agreement, in an amendment thereto or in another type of written mutual agreement concluded between the employee and the employer.

In case that the employee works at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such a situation is not considered work at home governed by the Labour Code per se, but another kind of arrangement. Several differences between these two options must be noted. The main difference is that this kind of “home-office” only has a temporary character. The employee works under the same arrangements as when he/she performed work at the workplace, which means that he/she works in the same working hours, and he/she is eligible for wage compensations and other wage advantages under the Labour Code (for work at night, on holidays etc.). In this case the employer is not obligated to ensure for the employee any special technical and software equipment, or to adopt measures preventing the employee’s social isolation. “Home-office” can be agreed by and between the employee and employer in a mutual agreement or, in the current emergency situation it may be unilaterally ordered to the employee by the employer, under the condition that the type of work permits such arrangements. There is no legal regulation prescribing the form of such an agreement or consent, but we recommend to conclude any such agreements concerning “home-office” in writing, or at least by e-mail.

As stated above, under normal circumstances where the is no pandemic or state of emergency, an employer is not entitled to unilaterally order their employees to perform work at a “home-office”, if the employee does not agree with that option. However, in the current situation with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of recently adopted special legislation, employers are currently allowed to unilaterally order their employees to perform work in “home-office” arrangements and employers are even obligated to enable their employees to work at “home-office” upon request, if the type of work concerned permits such arrangements and no important obstacles to such arrangements on part of the employer prevent this.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] ARE EMPLOYERS OBLIGATED TO ENSURE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES WORKING EQUIPMENT IF THE EMLOYEE PERFORMS WORK AT "home-office"DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC? FOR EXAMPLE NOTEBOOKS, INTERNET CONNECTION, ETC.?

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Where the employee performs work at a “home-office” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not considered a work at home (tele-work) scheme is governed by the Labour Code. The employer is thus not explicitly obligated to ensure that relevant employees have any and all required technical and software equipment at their disposal at home. However, please note that if the employee cannot actually perform his/her work at a “home-office”, that fact will give rise to obstacles to work on part of the employer, meaning a situation where the employer is unable to assign tasks to the employee. While such obstacles on part of the employer persist, due to the closure of commercial operations by official measures of the Public Health Office due to the declared state of emergency or the employer’s decision, the employer will be required to provide to such employees wage compensations in the amount of 80% of the employee’s average earnings (at least in the amount of the minimum wage) despite their inability to perform work. Please note that the employee and employer may conclude an agreement under which the employee will use his/her own technical and software equipment while performing work at “home-office”. They can also agree on the amount of any compensations for such use of the employee’s own equipment.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] IS AN EMPLOYEE OBLIGATED TO STAY IN HIS/HER DOMICIL DURING "home-office" OR IS HE/SHE ENTITLED TO PERFORM "home-office" WORK AT ANOTHER PLACE?

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The employee and employer may agree that the employee is to perform “home-office” work at one or more places. Those places do not need to include the same address as the address of the employee’s domicile.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] IS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC A VALID REASON TO TERMINATE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIPS? [/accordion_title]
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The COVID-19 pandemic does not constitute a lawful reason to terminate an employment relationship by ordinary notice given to the employee and it is likewise not among the specific reasons enabling the employer to terminate an employment relationship by notice with immediate effect.
The Labour Code exactly defines which reasons may be relied on to terminate an employment relationship with an employee and which reasons give rise to a right to terminate employment relationships with immediate effect, and the declaration of a state of emergency, the current crisis situation or any similar emergencies do not count among such reasons stated in the Labour Code.
 
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[accordion_title] ARE EMPLOYERS ENTITLED TO REDUCE EMPLOYEES´WAGES OR ORDER THEIR EMPLOYEES TO WORK SHORTER WORKING HOURS? [/accordion_title]
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The amount of wages, as well as the type of employment arrangements (part-time job, full-time job, etc.) must be the subject of a mutual agreement between the employer and employee, usually included in the employment agreement. In case the employer wants to reduce the amount of an employee’s wages or to change the employee’s job placement, such a change must again be instituted by mutual agreement between both parties. Such a change may not be unilaterally ordered by the employer.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title] IS AN EMPLOYER ALLOWED TO ORDER EMPLOYEES TO DRAW THEIR PAID VACATION? [/accordion_title]
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The employer may indeed order their employees to draw collective paid vacation collectively for operational reasons, whereas such a measure may not be imposed for a period exceeding 2 weeks. The employer is obligated first to negotiate this measure with employee representatives and only in case no employee representatives operate in the employer’s enterprise, may an employer act independently.
The collective drawing of paid vacation because of the current state of emergency must be announced to the affected employees at least 7 days in advance, and the drawing of paid vacation transferred from previous years must be announced no later than 2 days in advance. With an employee’s individual consent, this notification period may be reduced and the employee may start drawing their paid leave earlier.
ployer is obligated first to negotiate this measure with employee representatives and only in case no employee representatives operate in the employer’s enterprise, may an employer act independently.
The collective drawing of paid vacation because of the current state of emergency must be announced to the affected employees at least 7 days in advance, and the drawing of paid vacation transferred from previous years must be announced no later than 2 days in advance. With an employee’s individual consent, this notification period may be reduced and the employee may start drawing their paid leave earlier.
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[accordion_title] MAY AN EMPLOYER ORDER EMPLOYEES TO DRAW UNPAID TIME-OFF? [/accordion_title]
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Employer are prohibited from unilaterally ordering their employees to go on unpaid leave. Unpaid leave may only be granted and drawn for these reasons based on mutual agreement between both the employee and employer.[/accordion_content]
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[accordion_title]WHAT DOES THE TERM "KURZARBEIT" MEAN? [/accordion_title]
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“KURZARBEIT” is a form of state help for employees who are unable to work or at least partially unable to work due to obstacles on part of their employer. The German-inspired “KURZARBEIT” option was put into practice to help employers stabilize their employment rate in operations affected by the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, i. e. those employers who will keep corresponding employment relationship(s) in effect despite a closure or reduction of their commercial operations.

This form of the state support is intended to protect employees from termination of their employment relationships and will be provided to employers as a wage compensation. ”KURZARBEIT” is well known in many countries, but in the Slovak Republic it has been adopted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many employers must reduce or suspend their productivity even if they were not directly affected by mandatory closures ordered by the Public health Office. Due to the reduction or suspension of their activity, they are temporarily unable to assign tasks to their employees, however, under previously applicable legislation, they would still be forced to pay substantial wage compensations to affected employees.

The consequences of the reduction and suspension of these employers activity is normally such a burden on their financial stability that they are forced to terminate employment relationships. To avoid termination of relevant employees’ contracts, the state has adopted the “KURZARBEIT” measure based on a state refund to employers in the amounts which they are obligated to pay to their employees due to the abovementioned obstacles. The contributions will be provided in the amount of 80 % of affected employees’ average earnings, up to the amount of EUR 800,00 per employee.

To be eligible for the contribution, the employer must meet several conditions, especially it must undertake not to terminate the corresponding employment relationship(s) by notice of dismissal or by agreement with the employee earlier that 2 months after the state contribution was provided. Relevant employees must also not be subject to a termination period already, i.e. already dismissed with later effect.

The application must be filed to through the website www.pomahameludom.sk, specifically it is an application for the contribution Measure No. 3, option 3A.
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[accordion_title]USEFUL LINKS[/accordion_title]
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The Government Office of the Slovak Republic

The Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic

The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic

The Ministry of finance of the Slovak Repubic

The Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic

Financial Administration Slovak Republic

Contributions for employers and self-employed

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