The Slovenia Times

Employers with new proposals to mitigate impact of epidemics


The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) has proposed that, in order to secure financial stability and liquidity, the obligation to pay taxes and social security contributions for March and April be written off.

The write-off rate would be 50% for companies who saw their turnover drop by more than 10%, and 100% for companies whose revenue dropped by more than 30%.

A 12-month moratorium would be in force for the payment of taxes and social security contributions for May, with the option of a 5% discount in case of immediate payment.

The chamber also proposes a EUR 1 billion capital injection in the SID Banka investment and development bank for loans to companies in 2020 and a guarantee scheme for all claims by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

On the labour market, the GZS proposes lay-offs without severance pay for the maximum of six months. These workers would get 80% of their wage, but not less than the minimum amount of the unemployment benefit.

The employer would commit to hiring back at least two-thirds of employees temporarily laid off in such a way under the same conditions, not later than six months after the lay-off.

The chamber furthermore proposes the option of a lay-off for the maximum of four months - employees would get 80% of their net wage, 20% of which would be covered by the employer, and the rest by the state.

During the temporary lay-off, the employee would have to be available to return to work for up to 16 hours a week.

Also proposed is that workers who are not able to work because they need to tend to small children get full compensation of their wages and that sick leave caused by the epidemic (including preventive self-isolation) is paid by the state.

In order to kick-start the economy when the time is right, the GZS proposes major public investment projects, preferably implemented by domestic companies, and a special programme for modernisation of public infrastructure.

Also proposed are incentives for private investments and a special programme for start-ups, promotion of venture capital funds, other measures for the financial market, and tax breaks for R&D and new investments, the chamber said in a release.

Additional proposals from the Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) include full coverage by the state of the wage bill in companies for sole proprietors who have been banned from working or have no work due to the crisis situation.

Sole proprietors should also be exempt from paying taxes and social security contributions and get compensation for the period in which they are not able to perform their activity, it added.

The OZS said that employers should be allowed to unilaterally order part-time work or use of annual leave for 2020, and that if a worker is dismissed because of a drop in sales or orders, the state should cover severance pay.

Employers should also be allowed to retire workers who meet the conditions for retirement for the duration of the emergency situation.

While welcoming the financial measures prepared by the state bodies, the chamber said that the possibility of a 12-month deferral of credit obligations should also apply to leasing companies.

The GZS also said that the state should follow the German example and earmark one-off financial aid to micro and small companies.

The opposition Left meanwhile proposed today that wages of the lowest-paid workers "who have remained on the front line" - shop assistants, delivery personnel, and workers in manufacturing - should be doubled, with half of the increase to be covered by the state.

Left coordinator Luka Mesec told the STA the government had adopted last week "completely insufficient measures, missing out on a bunch of people who will be affected as the economy has slowed down."

These are, for example, precarious workers and self-employed, he said, adding that Slovenia would soon be able to use up to EUR 3 billion in aid from the European Central Bank (ECB) and that the state should help all.

"We will propose that all self-employed are exempt from paying social security contributions, that all who have been left without income and work get easier access to all forms of aid," he added.

Prime Minister Janez Janša has announced that the government will discuss thing evening guidelines for a new emergency package. The guidelines include pay bonuses for workers in critical sectors, and aid to the self-employed.


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