Covid-19: Further labour and tax provisions to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Greek economy

The Greek government has taken further measures in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Greek economy and labor market. These measures are described in detail in the latest Legislative Act announced by the Minister on 30.03.2020, and cover all major sectors affected by the pandemic not only on an individual but also in a business context. The most important Labour, Tax and other measures of the latest Legislative Act that followed the Minsters announcement yesterday, are described in the brief below:

A. LABOUR PROVISIONS

The most important Labour provisions include:

1. Easter Bonus payment time

Companies - employers whose operations have been suspended by a public authority order, or by virtue of their Code of Business Activity (CBA) may pay the Easter Bonus at a time subsequent to that defined by Law (15 April 2020 as it stood until now) but in any case not later than the 30th of June 2020.

It is important to point out that, in case of suspension of employment contracts of employees who work for the above-mentioned employers, and provided that the suspension covers a part of the period between the 1st of January and the 30th of April, the Easter Bonus is paid partially by the employer. In this case, the employer is obliged to pay only the proportion of Easter Bonus that corresponds to the actual employment of the employee during the period between 1st January and the time of suspension of the employment contract. The rest and up until the full amount of Easter Bonus is covered by the State. In the latter case, the Easter Bonus calculation is based on the employee’s salary of the last day before suspension.

The procedure and details about the above issue and its implementation, can be determined further by decisions of the competent Ministries. 

2. Reduction of self-employed individuals and self-employed professionals’ insurance contributions by 25%

This measure applies to self-employed individuals and self-employed professionals provided that they pay their current insurance contributions of February & March on time. The reduction of insurance contributions shall not apply if the option of prolonging the payment of insurance contributions has already been selected.

 

B. TAX PROVISIONS

The most important Tax and other provisions include:

1. 25% discount on monthly installments of certified debts or monthly installments of regulated debts for businesses and individuals

This benefit is applicable for debts payable from the 30th of March 2020 to the 30th of April 2020, on the condition that they are paid in due time. VAT and Withholding taxes certified debts are excluded from this benefit. 

2. Suspension of deadlines for submission, display and payment of cheques

Suspension of the aforementioned actions for seventy-five (75) days from the indicated date of every note, for companies whose operations have been compulsory suspended by the government or for those affected by virtue of their Code of Business Activity, already announced, or that will be announced in April. This is applicable from the 30th of March 2020 to the 31st of May 2020. Companies whose CBA belong to a group of CBAs showing a significant increase in their turnover during the COVID-19 epidemic crisis are excluded from this benefit.

3. Provisional governmental measure in the form of a repayable advance

Companies affected by the emergence and dissemination of the COVID-19 coronavirus may be granted a grant in the form of an ‘advance’ which will be partly or in whole repayable to the state. This aid will be irrevocable, tax-free and cannot be offset against any other debt.

4. Arrangements for extending or suspending time-limits of the Tax Procedure Code

  • Suspension until the 30th of April 2020 of the notification of provisional corrections of tax or fines and of definitive corrections of tax or fines issued in accordance with the Law 4174/2013.
  • Suspension of the imposition of safeguards for the above cases for as long as the measure of temporary, partial or total suspension of the operation of the courts and prosecutors’ offices of the country is maintained.
  • Suspension of the deadline for the taxpayer's views or objections regarding the provisional corrections of tax or fines until the 31st of May 2020.
  • Suspension of the deadlines regarding provision of information, copies of books and records or other documents requested by the Tax Administration in the context of inspection, until the 31st of May 2020.

5. Extension of the deadline for the publication of annual financial reports for the issuers of listed shares on the Athens Stock Exchange for the financial year ending 31.12.2019 until the 30th of June 2020.

6. Suspension of the Information System "Central Register of Companies Real Beneficiaries" for 3 months starting from the 30th of March 2020

7. Possibility of videoconferencing for the Board of Directors

The decision-making of the boards of directors of private legal entities may also take place by teleconference for all or some of their members, by any appropriate means of telecommunication, as well as by distributing the minutes to each member of the Board. In all the above cases, the signatures of the members of the Board may be replaced by e-mail or other electronic means. This entry is valid until the 30th of June 2020.

8. Suspension of deadlines for the conduct of proceedings and the payment of installments

For debtors who are proven to be affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 coronavirus spread risk, there is a suspension of the payment of installments within the framework of the provisions of Law 4469/2017, 4605/2019 and 3869/2010 (A 130) concerning bank loans and arrangements to tax and insurance authorities for a period of three (3) months, without any consequences due to non-payment and without amending the total duration of adjustment. For borrowers not included in the above decisions, such suspension may be granted at the request of the borrower and a credit rating.