Antivirus programme update

At the beginning of April, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs launched the “Antivirus” programme, enabling employers to get a partial refund for the compensations for salaries they had to pay to their employees due to certain impediments to work. The programme was recently extended by the Government to include the month of May. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has released several updates to the employer guidelines which contain detailed conditions for receiving this refund. The latest developments are summarised below.

The current fourth update of the guidelines deals with prolongation of the period of eligibility of expenditures from 12 March 2020 (inclusive) to 31 May 2020. The prolongation applies both to new and previously concluded agreements. The end date for eligibility of expenses has been postponed automatically and requires no amendment to the agreement. Consequently, where the agreement specifies 30 April 2020 as the end date of the period for which the refund is requested, the employer may also apply for the month of May. Further extension of the programme might be approved by the Government, depending on the development of the epidemiological and economic situation.

The latest version of the guidelines responds to the employers’ frequently asked question as to whether or not the refund is available for members of the governing body, i.e. directors. The Antivirus programme provides a partial refund of the employer’s costs of the statutory compensation for salaries paid to employees during the existence of impediments to work, and therefore does not, as a rule, apply to the discharge of the office of director. The refund under the Antivirus programme may only be granted for directors who are simultaneously employed with the company under an employment contract. The guidelines clarify that the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs does not consider a contract signed by the same person on both sides (i.e. both for the employer and for the employee) to be a valid employment contract.

Foreign employers are also entitled to support from the Antivirus programme according to the guidelines; this is provided that they have employees with contracts governed by the Czech laws and meet other conditions of the Antivirus programme.  This is true even of employers without a Czech identification number, who are asked to give their social security number in the relevant on-line application instead. Foreign employers must, however, open an account with a Czech bank because the refund cannot be remitted to a foreign bank’s account.

While the legislation concerning the Antivirus programme is constantly changing, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs does not announce the release of updates of the employer guidelines in any way. We therefore monitor the situation on a daily basis. If you are interested in regular monitoring, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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