Restrictions / States of Necessity and Applicable Measures
In dealing with epidemic situation, Slovenia has already taken the following measures:
- all education institutions in Slovenia are closedwith the exception of facilities working with adolescents with emotional and behavioural disorders and organised group child care is prohibited;
- a complete ban on visits to retirement homes;
- temporary prohibition of public gathering at public meetings and public events and other events in public places;
- the majority of public institutions are closed(libraries, museums, cinemas, galleries, etc.);
- public passenger bus and railway transport, including transport with cable cars and funicular, was suspended;
- the provision and sale of goods and services directly to consumersin the territory of the Republic of Slovenia is temporarily banned (including accommodation, catering, wellness, sports and recreational, cinematographic, cultural, hairdressing, cosmetics and pedicure services, including gaming and other similar activities);
- recommendation for employers to assign work from home (assignment of other types of work and/or place of performing work without employees’ consent, but only for the duration of the exceptional circumstances);
- the operations of administrative units are limited to the performance of urgent tasks until further notice;
- restricting certain rights of healthcare professionals: health staff is prohibited from taking annual leave and is restricted from their right to go on strike;
- judicial matters: the suspension of procedural time limits in procedures that are not being conducted due coronavirus; the suspension of all material preclusive time limits for the exercise of rights of clients; material preclusive time limits, which require national authorities to take certain action, are extended;
- stricter border regime;
- pensioners can only carry out their purchase between 8.00 – 10.00 (while others are forbidden to carry out their purchase in that period, excluding pregnant women and persons with disabilities);
- mandatory disinfection of multi-dwelling buildings
- temporary prohibition of the operation of air services in the Republic of Slovenia
- prohibition of movement outside the municipality of permanent or temporary residence.
The results are drastically reflected in the economic activity in Slovenia, particularly in tourism, hospitality, retail and processing sectors, where the demand for workforce has already started to drop, which is why further measures must be adopted to facilitate the situation in the business sector and protect the employees.
Arrangements for employees
Due to the abovementioned measures, employees and their arrangements can be separated in groups:
Employees in healthcare are prohibited from taking annual leave. Health staff as well as persons employed and activated in sectors that are key in overcoming the epidemic (civil protection, security, critical infrastructure, etc.) will be rewarded with an increase in their basic salary by between 10% and 200%, based on the decision of their superiors, in the form of hazard pay and higher workload bonuses.
Employees that are assigned to work from home, get 100% salary as well as all other benefits (i. e. reimbursement for lunch).
Employees who are unable to work due to force majeure, caring for children(since all educational institutions are closed) and their inability to come to work (lack of public transport) and other epidemic-related reasons (closed borders etc.) will get 80% of their basic salary.
Employees who have lost their job during the epidemic will automatically be entitled to unemployment benefits.
Employees that have confirmed infection with coronavirus, get 90% of their salary (i. e. sick days).
Economic measures to stimulate the economy adopted by the state
The government has prepared ananti-corona legislative package and submitted it to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption under an emergency procedure. The basic content and purpose of this legislative package is to suspend the existing situation in such a way as to preserve people, jobs, economic capacity, scientific and cultural capacities, capacities of the state and society in general, so that everything will be able to function normally after the threat of the epidemic has been successfully overcome. These are most important provisions:
All contributions for temporarily laid-off employees in the following two months that must be paid into both the healthcare and pension insurance schemes will be covered by the state, and the insured persons’ rights will be preserved. The state will also cover all contributions for employees who are unable to work due to force majeure (caring for children, inability to come to work), as well is it will refund employers for the 80% payed salary.
Sick pay for all employees during the epidemic from the first day onwards will be covered by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia, not the employer.
The self-employed who will declare themselves affected by the crisis using a special electronic application will receive 350 EUR for March if they prove that their income has declined by at least 25% compared to February 2020, and will receive 700 EUR for April and May 2020 if they prove that their income has declined by at least 50% compared to February 2020. At the same time, the state will also cover all related social security contributions.
The aid will also be provided to all full-time students residing in the Republic of Slovenia in the form of a one-off crisis allowance amounting to 150 EUR.
For large families with three children, the act proposal provides an additional allowance in the amount of EUR 100, and for families with four or more children an additional allowance in the amount of 200 EUR.
Pensioners will be entitled to a one-off solidarity allowance in order to ensure better social security for the most vulnerable pensioners whose pensions are less than 700 EUR. The allowance will be paid in three different amounts, depending on the amount of pensioners pension, and will not be counted against the income to determine entitlements from public funds under the act governing social assistance payments.
Furthermore, income tax and the health insurance contribution will not be charged on the received solidarity bonus, which will also not be the subject of tax enforcement.
Recipients of financial social assistance and income support are also eligible to receive a one-off allowance in the amount of 150 euros.
All pension insurance contributions for employees who remain in the workplace will be paid by the state during this period, while the rights of the insured and the income will be maintained. Those employed in the private sector whose gross basic wage is less than three times the Slovenian gross minimum wage and are performing their work during the epidemic are entitled to a allowance of 200 euros (funded by the employer from the funds relating to the exemption of pension insurance contribution payment).
For the duration of the epidemic, the act sets out a 30% decrease in the basic wage of high officials, as well as deputies and high officials in other state bodies. The Act does not decrease the wages of high officials in the judiciary, high officials of the Constitutional Court and local communities.
A guarantee scheme – called a “financial cannon”– will be established and the purchase of trade debt from Slovenian businesses will be provided. In addition, the state will provide sufficient funds through capital increase or performance guarantees.
The prepayment of corporate income tax and the payment of self-employment income tax will be suspended. Payment deadlines for payments to private suppliers from public funds will be reduced to 8 days.
The farmers will also be exempt from paying their contributions in April and May, if their activities cannot be exercised (or are significantly reduced).
Banks will be able to grant the deferred payment of liabilities to companies, cooperatives, natural persons employing other persons, self-employed persons and heads of agricultural holdings with a registered office or permanent residence in the Republic of Slovenia. The proposal envisages the deferral of payment of liabilities for 12 months(banks and borrowers may agree upon different terms of deferral). A borrower that is not a large company under the Companies Act and that engages in a business activity for which a government or municipal decree temporarily prohibits the provision of services and sale of goods due to the epidemic will be automatically entitled to deferral.
No additional costs may be incurred by the borrower due to the deferral of payment. An application for the deferral of loan agreement liabilities may be submitted to a bank no later than six months after the declaration of the end of the virus epidemic, and the act shall be valid for 18 months after the end of the epidemic.
Private legal remedies
General conclusion that the bare fact of the epidemic Covid-19 presents a case of changed circumstances or a force majeure is incorrect. The bare fact of the occurrence of epidemic does not result in performance of obligations being impossible;it may however result in obligations being rendered more difficult to perform.While considering whether the epidemic can represent a sufficient reason for a party to request a change or a rescission of the contract one must fulfil the following conditions:
- time of conclusion of a contract – was the contract concluded before the outbreak of the virus or at least before it became obvious that we are dealing with an epidemic;
- the deadline for performance has not fallen due;
- the performance is still possible, however it has become objectively difficult due to the epidemic (i. e. the delivery costs have substantially increased);
- the party will suffer loss with its performance of obligations.
However, if the performance does become impossible because of circumstances for which the party is not responsible, the obligation of the party shall expire. States’ restrictions that limit or ban transport are a very common case where performance became impossible. Since a party cannot deliver ordered goods in timely manner because of states’ limitations and the performance after the limitations are repealed would not serve its purpose, ones obligation to perform expires. Nevertheless, the party must prove circumstances that exclude its responsibility. Consequently, the obligation of the other party shall also expire, if the latter has already performed part of its own obligations, it may demand return.
If the impossibility of performance is only partial (i. e. only partial delivery of goods), the other party may withdraw from the contract if the part performance does not satisfy such party’s needs; otherwise the contract shall remain in force and the other party shall have the right to demand the proportionate reduction of such party’s obligations (i. e. payment only for delivered goods).
In case of force majeure the party shall be released from liability for damage if it is shown that the party was unable to perform the obligation or was late in performing the obligation owing to circumstances arising after the conclusion of the contract that could not be prevented, eliminated or avoided (i. e. force majeure). However, a party is obliged to notify the other party regarding those facts or it shall be liable for damage incurred by the other party because the latter was not notified in good time.
Courts Act includes a provision that governs emergency events as an epidemic, which entered into force on 16 March 2020 with a decree by The President of the Supreme Court. Until 15 May 2020 individual courts hold hearings and make decisions only in urgent cases (provided in Courts Act). Procedural deadlines are not running during this period and the service of judicial documents is not beingaffected (except in urgent cases). If a judicial document has already been served, procedural deadlines shall start running on the first day after the end of the emergency event. In order to ensure safe exercise of judicial authority in urgent cases, other safety measures were introduced.
Published by: http://www.gsp.si
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