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COVID19 Emergency Measures

The Greek Government has implemented so far five (5) Legislative Acts (Official Government Gazette issues Α 42/25.2.2020, 55/11.3.2020, 64/14.3.2020, 68/20.3.2020, 75/30.3.2020) with emergency measures addressing the effects of the spreading risk of COVID-19 for enterprises that have stayed their operation following a temporary ban or enterprises that have operations among the ones defined as "adversely affected" by the Ministry of Finance. In summary such measures include:

  1. Suspension until 31.8.2020 of VAT payments due as of 11.3.2020 and up to 30.4.2020.
  2. Suspension until 31.8.2020 of taxes, payments, installments and other amounts due to the State as of 11.3.2020 and up to 30.4.2020 or alternatively 25% discount for any such amounts timely paid.
  3. Suspension until 30.9.2020 and 31.10.2020 of social security contributions pertaining to employment during the months of February and March 2020 and due on 31.3.2020 and 30.4.2020 respectively.
  4. Decrease of rent by 40% for the months of March and April 2020 for enterprises that have stayed their operation following a temporary ban and their employees only.
  5. Suspension of the expiration date, presentation for payment and payment of cheques and other promissory notes by 75 days as of the date stated on each cheque or promissory note.

In addition, various measures have been implemented with regard to employment. The employer, however, who takes advantage of the above employment measures for part or all of its employees, is prohibited from firing any employees, and any such termination is null and void, and must maintain the same number of job positions after the suspension and for an equal amount of time, namely 45 days, which means the same employees with the same terms of employment. This does not apply to employees who resign voluntarily, retire and employees with employment agreements for a defined time period, which expires. Such measures include:

  1. Suspension of filing notices for changes in personnel’s working hours:
    From 11.3.2020 and until 30.4.2020, the obligation to file on time notices with the electronic platform of the Ministry of Employment (ERGANI) regarding changes in the working hours of the employees (form E4) and the realization of overtime and extra-work (form E8), is suspended and all such notices are filed cumulatively within the first 10 days of the month following the month during which such changes occurred.
  2. Remote work i.e. teleworking:
    From 11.3.2020 and until 10.4.2020, the employer can decide that the work of the employee will be provided remotely i.e. teleworking, and not in the place of work provided in the employment agreement
  3. Appointment of security personnel on a rotation basis:
    For 6 months as of 20.3.2020 the employer may appoint security personnel on a rotation basis provided: (a) each employee is employed at least 2 weeks per month (continuously or with interruptions), (b) at least 50% of the personnel participates in the rotation plan and (c) the employer files the corresponding forms on time with the electronic platform of the Ministry of Employment (ERGANI).
  4. Transfer of employees within enterprises of the same Group:
    Employees of an enterprise may be transferred to another enterprise of the same group, following an agreement between above enterprises, provided the enterprise files the corresponding forms on time with the electronic platform of the Ministry of Employment (ERGANI).
  5. Special Leave:
    From 11.3.2020 and up to 24.4.2020 employees with children under 15 years of age, may request and obtain a “Special Leave”. The Special Leave lasts at least 4 days, of which the first 2 days are paid by the employer, the third day is paid by the State and the fourth day comes from the annual holiday leave of the employee. Therefore, the employee must have at least 5 days of annual leave, in order to get the Special Leave. This Special Leave can be repeated on a rolling basis for 4 days as above.
    • The Special Leave is considered to be work time and the employee is entitled to the agreed salary and the corresponding social security contributions.
    • The employer must file corresponding forms on time for the employees, who took the Special Leave, with the electronic platform of the Ministry of Employment (ERGANI).

  6. Suspension of employment agreements: Enterprises that have stayed their operation following a temporary ban by state order or have operations among the ones defined as "adversely affected" by the Ministry of Finance may suspend all or part of the employment agreements with their employees from 21.3.2020 until 20.4.2020.
    • The suspension can commence anytime as of 21.3.2020 and lasts for 45 consecutive (calendar) days.
    • The employer may apply this measure gradually and for a different number of employees.
    • During the suspension, the employer does not pay any salary and corresponding social security contributions, and the State will pay to each employee in suspension a special compensation of €800 and full social security contributions according to the employee’s usual salary for the whole 45 days.
    • However, the employer must file all relative declaration forms for social security contributions in time according to the usually applicable deadlines.
    • The employer, who wishes to apply the above measure of suspension of all or part of the employment agreements of his employees, must follow a specific procedure, including filing a respective form with the electronic platform of the Ministry of Employment (ERGANI), and notify the employees in suspension, who must also file a respective form with the electronic platform of the State (support.employees.yeka.gr).
    • The employer can pay to the employees in suspension an additional amount, freely, up to the amount of their usual salary; in this case, the employer shall also pay the corresponding social security contributions corresponding to such additional amount.
    • Employees who work remotely, i.e. teleworking are not entitled to receive the above special compensation. However, the employees in suspension may agree to work remotely i.e. telework in order to cover temporary needs of the employer. This applies to maximum 10% of the employees in suspension. In such case, the employer must pay to the employee a proportionate amount according to the monthly salary and the corresponding social security contributions, which will be deducted from the special compensation of €800.