COVID-19 Slovenia Update

First Set of Employment Intervention Measures Enters into Force in Slovenia, Additional and Revised Measures are Proposed

Last Updated on 1 April 2020 14:00 CET

The Act on Intervention Measures to Salaries and Contributions (“Intervention Act”) finally entered into force on 29 March 2020 in .

The Intervention Act regulates the right of employers to apply for reimbursement of salary compensations paid to employees who are either unable to work due to business reasons (ordered to wait for work at home) or under mandatory quarantine.

The rights related to reimbursement of salary compensations may be exercised by filing an application with the Employment Service of Slovenia (by post or electronically via website) in the following deadlines:

  • within 8 days after ordering employees to wait for work at home (in any case no later than by 30 September 2020);
  • within 8 days from the date, the Intervention Act entered into force if the employer ordered employees to wait for work at home before the Intervention Act entered into force; in such case, the right to reimbursement shall only be granted from 29 March 2020 onwards;
  • within 8 days from the day, quarantine was ordered or within 8 days from the date, the Intervention Act entered into force if the quarantine was ordered prior to that date.

The official application form has not been published; therefore, it is not yet possible to file applications. In line with the official explanation on the website of the Employment Service of Slovenia, the publication of forms, rules of procedure and the possibility of filing applications electronically will be announced shortly. Nevertheless, the registration of employers at the abovementioned website is already possible.

On the same day, 29 March 2020, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the proposal of a new “Anti-Corona” act[1], which is expected to supplement and partially repeal measures adopted with the Intervention Act. If adopted, the “Anti-Corona” Act will be applied retroactively from 1 April 2020 onwards and shall remain in force until 31 May 2020. In case the epidemic will not be revoked by mid-May 2020, the validity of the “Anti-Corona” act may be prolonged by the end of June 2020.

Despite the fact that the proposed “Anti-Corona” act has been criticized by the Legislative and Legal Service at the National Assembly due to inconsistencies and improper use of legal terms, there are several positive improvements in comparison to the first Intervention Act, namely:

  • salary compensations for all employees ordered to wait for work from home, as well as all employees who cannot work due to force majeure, will be reimbursed by the State in full;
  • the amount of salary compensation payable to employees who cannot work due to force majeure has been increased from 50 % to 80 %;
  • all social security contributions for the above employees shall be paid by the State;
  • disability and pension insurance contributions for all employees working during the validity of the “Anti-Corona” act will be paid by the State;
  • as regards the private sector, the term “eligible employer” in relation to the right to reimbursement of salary compensations for employees ordered to wait for work at home is now defined as “all employers on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia”;
  • employers will no longer be prohibited from terminating employment contracts with employees ordered to wait for work at home for whom they have been granted reimbursement of salary compensation;
  • salary compensation for employees on sick leave will be borne by the State from the first day onwards;
  • in the period from 13 March to 31 March 2020 employers are exempt from paying social contributions on salary compensations paid to all employees who were ordered to wait for work from home or who cannot work due to force majeure.

The proposed “Anti-Corona” act, however, comes with a lot of uncertainties and negative aspects, namely:

  • applications for reimbursements filed under the Intervention Act are to be assessed under the rules of the “Anti-Corona” act; consequently, in order to timely exercise rights in line with the Intervention Act, which is already in force, employers will be de facto filing applications to be assessed under the conditions which are yet to be enacted;
  • introduction of a mandatory range of salary compensations payable to all employees (minimum of EUR 940.58 gross, maximum in the amount of the average salary in Slovenia);
  • employers engaged in financial and insurance activities shall not be eligible for reimbursements;
  • the condition of having to order at least 30% of all employees to wait for work at home has been omitted, however, employers shall be eligible for reimbursements of salary compensation if they anticipate at least a 20 % decrease in January-June 2020 revenues and no more than a 20 % growth in revenues during the July-December 2020 period, both in comparison to the respective periods in 2019; the fulfilment of this condition will be evaluated when submitting annual reports for 2020, an obligation of repayment may be triggered;
  • employees ordered to wait for work at home may be called back to work seven consecutive days per month, which eliminates the possibility of rotating employees;
  • eligible employers will be prohibited from distributing profits, paying management bonuses and/or business performance bonuses in 2020, otherwise, they shall be obliged to repay the received reimbursements together with default interest;
  • employers are obligated to pay the so-called “crisis supplement” in the amount of EUR 200 to all employees who remain working and whose gross salary does not exceed EUR 2,821.74 (exemption applies to foreign employers with registered seat abroad, employers that directly or indirectly use state or municipal budget and employers engaged in financial and insurance activities.

It is expected that the proposal of the “Anti-Corona” act will be subject to amendment before adoption. As the situation and state measures change on a daily basis, we advise employers to closely monitor the situation and updated information by state authorities.

 

[1] Act proposal on the intervention measures to stem and mitigate the consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 () communicable disease epidemic for citizens and the economy.

 

The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.