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COVID-19 Slovenia Update

Seventh Anti-Corona Act – Measures for Employers

On 29 December 2020, the Slovenian National Assembly adopted the Seventh Anti-Corona Act[1], which entered into force on 31 December 2020. The Seventh Anti-Corona act provides for the following measures relevant for the employers:

 

“Forced” retirement

Pursuant to the Seventh Anti-Corona Act, an employer may terminate an employee’s employment agreement with a notice period of 60 days without stating a valid reason if the employee meets the conditions for retirement. The provision is controversial and will probably be a subject of an assessment by the Constitutional Court as it may constitute a violation of work-related human rights.

We also consider that the amendment of the legislation is incomplete, as the Seventh Anti-Corona Act only stipulates that it is not necessary to state a valid reason for termination, which does not per se mean that it is not necessary that the valid reason exists. Also, the existence and statement of valid reason for termination of the employment agreement are required not only by Article 89 of the Employment Relationships Act[2], which is amended by the Seventh Anti-Corona Act, but also by other Articles of the Employment Relationships Act such as e.g., Article 83 and Article 87 which are not explicitly amended with the Seventh Anti-Corona Act.

Due to the above, we recommend great caution when terminating the employment agreement on this basis.

 

Payment of crisis allowance

The employer must pay a crisis allowance of EUR 200 with the salary for December 2020, exempt from all taxes and contributions, to each employee who performs work and whose last paid monthly salary did not exceed twice the minimum wage (i.e. EUR 1,881.16 gross). If the employee does not work for a whole month or has a part time employment agreement, he or she is entitled to a proportional part of the crisis allowance. The state will reimburse the crisis allowance to all employers. In order to receive the reimbursement, the employer must submit a statement confirming that the crisis allowance was paid to employees through the information system of the Financial Administration of the Republic of (“FURS”).

 

Subsidized reduction of working hours

The measure of subsidized reduction of working hours is being prolonged for all industries until 30 June 2021. An application for the subsidy may be submitted no later than 10 June 2021.  All the conditions for eligibility and limitations remain the same.

 

The subsidy for rapid antigen tests

Companies, sole proprietors and cooperatives are eligible for a subsidy for the purchase of rapid antigen COVID-19 tests, the subsidy amounts to EUR 40 per employee. To obtain the subsidy, the application has to be submitted through the information system of FURS. The aforementioned persons are not entitled to the subsidy if they have more than EUR 5,000 of outstanding tax liabilities on the day on which the application was submitted.

 

Interest-free repayment of received reimbursements of salary compensations

An employer who has claimed a partial reimbursement of salary compensation for employees who were ordered to wait for work at home due to the implications of the epidemic and will subsequently find that it has not met the condition regarding the decrease of revenue must notify FURS about this no later than the deadline for submitting corporate income tax for 2020. In such a case the amount of paid reimbursement must be repaid within 30 days of the service of the decision of FURS. Statutory default interest will not be charged (unless the 30-day repayment period is missed). It is also possible to apply for an instalment repayment of received reimbursement in a maximum of 6 monthly instalments over a period of six months in case the employer is unable to generate income due to the epidemic. No interest is charged on the deferred amount.

 

Minimum wage

From January 2021, the provisions of the new Minimum Wage Act will come into force, according to which the minimum wage will no longer be set in absolute amount but will be calculated according to the minimum costs of living, which the minimum wage must exceed by 20%. It was expected that the Seventh Anti-Corona Act will “freeze” the enforcement of the new Minimum Wage Act and thus the rise of the minimum wage, however this did not happen. The amount of the minimum wage in 2021 has not yet been officially announced, but it is expected that according to the last calculation of the minimum cost of living from 2017, it will amount to around EUR 1,050 gross.

 

Extension of the period for taking annual leave

The Employment Relationships Act stipulates that the employees must, as a rule, take their annual leave by 30 June of the following calendar year. The Seventh Anti-Corona Act extends this period until 31 December 2021 for employees who were unable to use the remainder of their annual leave for 2020 due to urgent work needs related to virus control or the consequences of an epidemic. Also, employees who were not able to use the annual leave for 2019 until 31 December 2020 as required by the Employment Relationships Act due to absence related to illness, injury, maternity leave or childcare leave may take the annual leave until 28 February 2021.

 

If you have any questions related to this newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact:

slovenia@karanovicpartners.com

 

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Please note that this newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.
New measures and amendments to the legislation due to Covid-19 epidemic are presented by Government of the Republic of Slovenia on a daily basis, therefore the newsletter will be subject to further amendments and updates. We will keep you informed about all relevant updates.

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

 

[1] Intervention measures act to mitigate the effects of the second wave of the epidemic (PKP7).
[2] Employment Relationships Act, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia no. 21/13, as amended.