Subsidies on wages paid during idle time

Subsidies will be paid to employers who declare idle time because they cannot provide employees with agreed work due to the state of emergency or quarantine.

Payment during idle time. During idle time caused by the state of emergency or quarantine, employees must be paid at least the minimum wage set by the government (EUR 607 gross for full-time employees). This amount is paid by the employer. This means that when idle time is declared due to the state of emergency or quarantine, employers will no longer be obliged to pay 40% of the employee’s average wage, which is what is normally paid during idle time.

Subsidies for employers. Under certain conditions, an employer may qualify for subsidies from the Guarantee Fund in the event of idle time caused by the state of emergency and quarantine. The amount of the subsidy on wages depends on whether the activities of the company are restricted by the quarantine.

Amount of subsidy. If company activities are restricted the state subsidy is 90% of the employee’s wage, but not more than the minimum wage. If company activities are not restricted, the state subsidy is 60% of the employee’s wage, but not more than the minimum wage.

Subsidy payment period. Subsidies will be paid during quarantine period for up to 3 months.

Additional terms. The subsidy is only granted if the employer retains the employee’s position for at least 3 months after subsidy payments stop. Note that the procedure for claiming subsidies has not yet been announced. In addition, the Government is currently in the process of amending the laws on subsidies, so there may be changes on subsidies in the nearest future.

Payment of sickness benefits to family caregivers and other staff

Previously, employees who had to take time off work to care for young children due to the closure of a kindergarten or school because of the state of emergency or quarantine were eligible for state sickness benefit, but the payment was limited to 14 calendar days. Due to recent changes to the law, these employees will continue to receive sick pay until the end of the quarantine if they are unable to work remotely and are not on idle time. In addition to the child’s parents, adoptive parents and guardians, grandparents will also be eligible for sickness benefit.

In the event of quarantine or the state of emergency, employees who have to take time off work to care for their disabled family members due to closure of care facilities will also be eligible for sickness benefit.

During the state of emergency or quarantine period, sickness benefit will also be available to employees with serious chronic illnesses who would be at risk of becoming infected if they were physically at work and if they are unable to work remotely and are not on idle time.

Payment of sickness benefit to persons isolated due to returning from abroad or after contact with someone infected with Covid-19

Individuals who have returned from abroad or have been in contact with someone infected with Covid-19 must isolate themselves for 14 days. During the isolation period, an employee who cannot work remotely and is not on idle time is eligible for sickness benefit paid by the state.

Possible amendments regarding subsidies for employers (not yet approved and subject to possible changes)

Recently amendments to the subsidy regulation were introduced by the Government. The Parliament is expected to vote on the amendments early in April.

Proposed new subsidies (based on the employer’s choice):

  • 70% of the employee’s wage, but not more than EUR 910.5 gross (for a full month of idle time, otherwise reduced proportionately), or
  • 90% of the employee’s wage, but not more than EUR 607 gross (for a full month of idle time, otherwise reduced proportionately).

Employers must maintain employment of at least 50% of employees put on idle time for at least 3 months after the subsidy payments stop.