Measures taken by the European countries against COVID-19

18/03/2020
The crisis generated by the advance of COVID-19 in Europe has forced all governments to take measures to alleviate the spread of the virus and stop the economic crisis that it entails.

Measures were taken by some of the countries most affected by COVID19.

Measures in France

In response to the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic, the Government has implemented immediate support measures for businesses:

  • Delays in payment of bank/social obligations.
  • In the most critical situations, direct tax refunds can be decided in the context of an individual examination of applications.
  • 1,500€ aid for small businesses, the self-employed and micro-businesses thanks to the Solidarity Fund.
  • Support from the State and the Bank of France (credit mediation) to negotiate with your bank a rescheduling of bank loans.
  • Mobilisation by the State, with a budget of up to €300 billion and by Bpifrance to guarantee the bank cash lines that companies may need due to the pandemic.
  • Maintaining employment in companies through the simplified and reinforced partial unemployment system.
  • Support for the treatment of a conflict with customers or suppliers by the business ombudsman (médiateur des entreprises).
  • Recognition by state and local authorities of coronavirus as a force majeure for their public contracts. Consequently, for all state and local government contracts, penalties for delay will not apply.

You can learn more by entering this link.

Measures in Sweden

  • Additional amending budget for 2020. On 19th March, the government will present a draft law on this new additional budget to the Riksdag.
  • Compensation (transfer) to municipalities and regions.
  • To reduce the risk of the virus spreading in society, the payment of the sickness benefit for the first day of illness for civil servants will be made until 31 May.
  • The most relevant government agencies at this time will receive extra funding to cover the extraordinary expenses that the pandemic entails: personnel, health material, production of medicines, etc.
  • The central government will assume responsibility for payment for illness for two months.
  • Companies can defer the payment of social security contributions, preliminary wage tax and VAT by extending the deadline for tax payments from three months to 12 months, retroactively from 1 January (they will reimburse those companies that have paid into their tax account from January to March).
  • New system for short-term layoffs. Central government will cover 75% of costs in the face of reduced staff hours, compared to short-term work where central government covers one third of costs. This proposal means that employers' wage costs can be halved, while employees receive more than 90 percent of their salary. The aim is that the companies concerned can retain their staff and prepare quickly when the situation improves.
  • Riksbank is lending up to SEK 500 billion to companies through the banks to safeguard the supply of credit to Swedish companies.
  • Finansinspektionen (the Swedish financial supervisory authority) is reducing the counter-cyclical capital buffer for banks from 2.5% to 0% to safeguard a well-functioning supply of credit and help companies and households maintain production, consumption and investment.

You can find out more by following this link.

Measures in Denmark

  • Tripartite Agreement between Government, Unions and Companies. With the agreement, the government and the social partners ensure that companies that see their activity reduced, register a decrease in orders and have lost part of their clients as a result of COVID-19 and, therefore, cannot assume the costs of maintaining their staff, can receive a partial reimbursement for the salary costs incurred during three months. Companies agree not to dismiss employees for financial reasons during the period in which they receive compensation.
  • The agreement applies to employees of all private companies that are particularly financially affected by COVID-19 and therefore have to report layoffs by at least 30 percent or more of 50 employees. In that case, the company receives state wage compensation of 75 per cent of the wages of the employees concerned, but a maximum of DKK 23,000 per employee/month if they do not report the dismissals. For hourly employees, the national wage compensation amounts to 90 per cent, but a maximum of DKK 26,000 per hour/month.
  • The temporary compensation scheme will apply from 9 March to 9 June 2020.

You can find out more by following this link.

Measures in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna

  • The agreement signed by the Region and by all the social partners gathered in the Labour Pact, which makes available the first 38 million euros of regional funds. The previously agreed period (23 February to 23 March) is extended by a further 9 weeks. A social security network that guarantees the continuity of income for workers in all types of companies, even those with only one employee and that can be requested by any private employer, in any production sector, that does not have access to common compensation.
  • The Council approved a EUR 10 million call for access to zero' interest rate credit for businesses, with priority for SMEs. Up to EUR 150,000 can be obtained at a zero rate for 36 months. A transaction carried out together with credit consortia and banks and capable of generating investments of at least EUR 100 million, with the aim of ensuring liquidity in the immediate future and restarting investments as soon as possible.

You can find out more by entering this link.

Measures in Scotland

£320 million business support package. Support plan for businesses during the fiscal year 2020-21:

  • 75% tax relief for the retail, hotel and leisure sectors with a taxable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020.
  • A budget of £80 million for grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact from COVID-19.
  • 1.6% easing of property rates in the country, effectively reversing the planned under-inflation increase in the pound since April 1, 2020.
  • Fixed fee reduction of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020.
  • The Financial Secretary will contact local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from taxpayers for deferrals of payments for a fixed period.

You can find out more by clicking on this link.

Measures in Germany

Measures on employment:

  • Partial or complete exemption from negative working hour balances.
  • >short-term employment allowance also for temporary workers.
  • Full reimbursement of social security contributions by the Federal Employment Agency.

Tax liquidity assistance for companies

  • Facilitate the granting of deferments.
  • Speed up the adjustment of prepayments.
  • Delaying the implementation of implementing measures (e.g., setting up accounts) or late payments until 31 December 2020, provided that the debtor of a tax payment due is directly affected by the effects of the coronavirus.
  • 3 billion euros as a "protection shield" for companies and businesses.

Source: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-en

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