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COVID-19 - Public measures

This section presents the main changes made to national legislations in various countries in the context of the fight against COVID-19. The information is primarily coming from the OECD database. A detailed version of this table is available here.

Last updated: April 2021 

Country Measures
albaniaAlbania

On fiscal and monetary fields

  • Two support packages for a total of LEK 45 billion: 6.5 billion is targeted at entrepreneurs/small businesses by paying minimum salaries. Small businesses will not pay profit tax for the remainder of 2021. An employment program will cover part of the wages for those who lost their job in the lockdown.
  • €80 million are provided to companies that have difficulties in paying employee salaries, through the instrument of a sovereign guarantee
  • The government promised it will pay the salaries of about 60,000 employees of small businesses or self-employed people, which will cost about €13 million
  • The government temporarily doubled monthly social benefits for about 70,000 very poor families at a cost of LEK 340 million (about €2.8 million)
  • To address the liquidity bottlenecks of companies and individuals, the Bank of Albania extended a temporary suspension of requirements for loan classifications and provisioning to August 31, 2020, enabling clients to ask banks to defer loan instalments without penalties
  • Extension of the deadline of payment of loans to enterprises and households that may face difficulties during this period due to the coronavirus COVID-19
  • The government will permanently erase late payment interests for active debtors who are current energy consumers, family or small business, with a financial effect of up to LEK 15 billion (€121 million).
argentinaArgentina

On fiscal and monetary fields

  • Households that live from informal activities, self-employment or domestic work and have suffered income losses will receive a one-off bonus of $150 in April, May and June 2020
  • Unemployment insurance protection has been reinforced and extended until 31 December 2020
  • Until 31 December 2020, access to electricity, gas, water as well as phone lines, TV and internet was not suspended for households unable to pay up to seven monthly bills since March 2020. Utility prices are frozen at their March 2020 levels until 31 December 2020
  • All rent contracts were automatically prolonged until 31 January 2021
  • Until 31 January 2021, payments for mortgage loans related to the first residence were fixed at their March 2021 levels
  • Until 31 December 2020, banks were not allowed to close accounts due to bounced checks and charging commissions for the use of automatic cash machines are prohibited
  • A program offering zero interest rates for the purchase of a wide range of products was extended until 31 October 2020
  • Mortgage credit payments frozen until September 2020. Temporary suspension of evictions, freezing of rent levels, extension of existing rental contracts.

On social and employment fields

  • In sectors particularly affected by the lockdown the government will pay part of the salaries: For affected firms, the government paid for each worker 50% of the monthly wage in April, May, June, July, August, and September 2020,
  • Due payments for taxes and social security contributions were postponed for SMEs to 31 October 2020
  • Measures have been aimed at encouraging bank lending, i.e. lower reserve requirements on bank lending to households and SMEs, temporary easing of bank provisioning needs and of bank loan classification rules
  • To protect banks, soft-credit lines were guaranteed by the State through a Public Credit Guarantee Fund
  • The public sector provides loans of up to $2,300 with zero interest rates to self-employed workers whose revenues have strongly decreased due to the crisis. Since August 2020, repayment of new loans for self-employed workers in the culture services sector starts after 12 months
  • Public credit guarantees for bank lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the emergency situation have been reinforced
  • The payment of employer contributions has been exempted for sectors critically affected by the coronavirus pandemic
  • The Productive Recovery Programme (REPRO) will be extended to guarantee employment for those working in companies affected by the health emergency which means that the State will pay part of the wages of the workers concerned. A total of 350,000 million Argentinian pesos will be used to ensure the production and supply of food and basic inputs, boost activity and finance the functioning of the economy at this juncture
  • The regulation in force until March 2020 was temporarily changed. Dismissals and suspension of workers for absence or other causes linked to COVID are forbidden. This measure was extended the 15 May 2020 for another 60 days.
austriaAustria

On fiscal and monetary fields

  • A budget envelope of currently €50 billion (10% of GDP including credit guarantees and tax deferrals) is gradually implemented and operationalised.

On social and employment fields

  • Self-employed and micro-sized enterprises (< 10 employees) are supported by €2 billion
  • A single entity can tap up to €6,000 within three months
  • General liquidity provisions
  • The laws supports firms of all sizes in all industries except the tourism sector, which is covered by the public Tourism bank
  • Self-employed can tap the credit guarantees as well
  • The minister of Finance has been entitled to increase the guarantee envelope with a sunset clause of three months
  • Emergency assistance of €15 billion aims to support industries hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and will provide direct liquidity provisions and subsidies for operating costs. It is devoted to “hardship” cases across self-employed and micro-sized firms
  • Tax deferrals (up to €10 billion) for personal income and corporate income taxes, until end of September 2020
  • Various supports for self-employed workers, including a one-off cash payment in the first period of €500 (phase 1), supplemented by monthly payments up to €2000, depending on loss of income (phase 2), plus possibility to postpone payment of taxes and social insurance contributions. Various special forms of supports, e.g. for artists
belgiumBELGIUM

On fiscal and monetary fields

  • A package of fiscal measures to address the crisis with an estimated budget impact of €17.5 billion in 2020-21, and complemented by some €52 billion of loan guarantees. It covers increasing support for those in temporary unemployment and self-employed; liquidity support through postponements of social security and tax payments for companies and self-employed; solvency support through various tax and "below-the-line" measures; and additional support to affected firms and households provided by subnational governments
  • All payment deadlines for personal income tax, corporate income tax, VAT and withholding tax were automatically extended by two months until the end of December 2020.

On social and employment fields

  • Replacement income for the self-employed if they are forced to stop their activity
  • Postponement and reduction of social security contributions for self-employed
  • Deferral of payment of mortgages/credits and premiums for fire insurance and outstanding balance for self-employed
  • Flexibility in payment terms of taxes
  • Tax shelter system for SMEs
  • Regional funds for companies
  • Guarantee scheme by federal government
  • Income support for sick workers
  • Regional guarantee schemes and deferral of taxes.
    bosnia_and_herzegovina

    BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

    On fiscal and monetary fields

      Republika Srpska (RS)

      • Around €29 million from the Solidarity Fund is dedicated to cover the minimal salary, contributions and taxes for around 70,000 employees in April
      • €15 million as an assistance to local communities to help repair the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
      • Ministry of Agriculture has also allocated €1.1 million in loans to encourage agricultural output for small producers
      • All borrowers from the Investment and Development Bank are granted a three month repayment moratorium
      • The Investment and Development Bank dedicated a credit line to local businesses (craftsmen, entrepreneurs and SMEs)
      • Together with the EBRD and the Guarantee Fund of RS €25 million will be provided as a guarantee for loans which business entities will be able to obtain through commercial banks
      • Banks can approve to clients special measures: a moratorium at least until the end of extraordinary situation, a grace period of up to 6 months, granting of an additional amount of exposure to overcome liquidity difficulties; a similar decision has been adopted for microcredit organisations

      FBiH

      • In June 2020, the FBiH Development Bank established of a Stabilisation fund for stabilising the economy, with initial reserves of up to circa €40 million
      • The obligation to make advanced payments on corporate income tax for businesses and self-employers is abolished
      • Around €50 million to provide guarantees to commercial banks for loans destined to companies whose activities are characterised as those in the strategic development sectors
      • Banks are encouraged to consider additional customer relief and measures to support clients who are found to have aggravated circumstances for loan repayments due to COVID-19 (such as moratoriums, grace period, granting additional amounts to overcome liquidity difficulties)
      • Adoption of the Programme of Economic Stabilisation 2020-2021
      • Lease amounts were decreased by 50% for business premises managed by the FBiH Office of Joint Affairs
      brazil

      BRAZIL

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Formal workers and their employers can benefit from a new short-time work scheme with public income support from unemployment insurance
        • Some tax liabilities, especially for SMEs, have been deferred for three months
        • For SMEs, an emergency credit line has been opened to cover 2 months of wages for employees
        • The national development bank BNDES has announced new credit lines to companies with a loan volume of 0.6% of GDP

        On social and employment fields

        • Extend access to Bolsa Familia bringing total to 14.3 million families
        • Informal workers as micro entrepreneurs will receive a temporary new benefit of $120 per month ($240 for single mothers) until end of the year under certain conditions
        • Firms can give flexibility of working hours and annual leave
        • Emergency Benefit for Preserving Employment and Income
        • 9 million low-income families will be exempt from paying their energy bills up to BRL 150 per month, for 3 months.
        bulgariaBulgaria

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • 60:40 support measures for self-employed individuals and small start-ups having a very short business track record
        • 60:40 salary support scheme to support businesses affected in the crisis
        • Job retention grants
        • Subsidies introduced for companies hiring unemployed people
        • Loan guarantees by the state benefiting private borrowers, a government-backed package of financial instruments (€230,000 million). Under this, there will be a micro loans programme with measures to support self-employed individuals and small start-ups, including those set up by vulnerable groups.
        croatiaCroatia

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Public sector subsidies to businesses
        • Deferral and exemption of taxes and social security contributions, for instance exemptions for entrepreneurs with an annual income of less than HRK 7.5 million (representing 93% of firms) whose revenue declined by more than 50%
        • The Croatian Small Business Agency (HAMAG-BICRO) has made loans to support working capital of small businesses. Currently, around 900 businesses have benefited, representing a sum of €95 million
        • The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) allows for moratoriums and loan extensions on debts, as well as new liquidity loans to assure basic expenses of businesses
        • Adjustment of its regulatory framework and monitoring activities in order to support the liquidity of financial institutions
        • The government announced the possibility of introducing a short time work program to safeguard jobs, thereby employers who need to introduce shorter working hours due to a decline in business activities would be entitled to aid for the payment of a part of their workers' wages
        • Deferment and flexible terms of public obligations.
        franceFrance

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Launch a solidarity fund with a lump-sum compensation to the loss of turnover over one year (up to €1500) for small businesses, self-employed, entrepreneurs and liberal professions
        • Postponement of taxes payments
        • State guarantee in cash loans to companies
        • State-guaranteed treasury loan for newly created companies
        • Early repayments of corporate tax claims refundable in 2020
        • Postponement of water, gas or electricity bills for small firms
        • Solidarity fund for small companies: coverage of very small businesses (turnover < €1 million), self-employed workers and micro entrepreneurs experiencing a very sharp drop in turnover
        • The authorities have introduced four amending budget laws between March and November increasing the fiscal envelope devoted to addressing the crisis to about €180 billion.
        • This adds to a package of public guarantees of €327.5 billion

        On social and employment fields

        • Self-employed parents still have paid sick leave
        • Extension of social rights
        • Extension of unemployment benefits
        • Postponement of social security contributions
        • Additional transfers to the poorest households.
        greeceGreece

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Fiscal package of 24 Bill to support businesses hit by the crisis
        • One-off allowance of €400 for 155,000 long-term unemployed
        • Fraction of Easter bonus covered by state for private sector employer that lost their job in the corresponding period
        • Possibility for firms to reduce their employees' work time to a minimum of 2 weeks per month, on the condition of not dismissing them
        • €600 training voucher for liberal professionals
        • Extension of the regular unemployment benefit payment, as well as extension of the long-term unemployment benefit and the unemployment benefit to freelancers and self-employed workers, for two months
        • Allowance of €800 for self-employed, freelancers, individual businesses (520,000 individuals) and employers of up to 20 employees (90,000 individuals) and affected by the coronavirus crisis based on specific NACE codes
        • 25% reduction in tax and social security contribution obligations (excluding VAT), if paid on time, for employees of halted firms as well as for self-employed, freelancers and firms affected by the coronavirus crisis
        • Suspension of VAT and other tax obligations' payments that were due between 11 March 11 and 30 April 2020 until 31 August 2020 for businesses, self-employed persons and sole proprietorships affected by the coronavirus crisis based on specific NACE codes
        • Suspension of SSC payments due by the end-March until 31 October 2020 for businesses, self-employed persons and sole proprietorships affected by the coronavirus crisis based on specific NACE codes. Suspended payments will be paid in four instalments of equal amount without interest and surcharges
        • A scheme of €2 billion for the support of the economy through the issuance of guarantees by the Hellenic Development Bank has been approved under the EU temporary framework for state aid
        • Suspension of loan repayments (for the principal amount) until September for firms affected by the coronavirus crisis. This measure was agreed by Greek banks.

        On social and employment fields

        • Income support to persons losing their jobs or self-employed
        • Social contributions payments and tax obligations postponement
        • Suspension of bank loan repayments for consistent enterprises
        • 60% of rent payments for companies whose operation has been suspended because of COVID during stipulated months
        hungaryHungary

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • New wage subsidy scheme plus the scheme that ended in September 2020
        • Monthly basic income for self-employed workers and farmers
        • Small enterprises will benefit from a reduction of the Small Companies Special Tax Regime rate (KIVA)
        • Temporarily suspension of employers' social security contributions in most affected economic sectors
        • €258 billion in investment subsidies under the Economy Protection Action Plan that aims at restarting the economy, vi) Government planned 2-percentage point cut to employers’ social contributions
        • Subsidised emergency credit lines for eligible firms
        • Sick leave pay for all workers during the epidemic from the first day onwards covered by Health Insurance Institute
        • Grants for SME
        • Subsidies to support investment in new technologies by SMEs
        • Subsidies for agricultural and tourism sectors
        • KATA arrears only payable when state of emergency ends
        • Deferral of tax and financial return
        • VAT refunds accelerated to 30 days

        On social and employment fields

        • Self-employed can apply for an income compensation
        • Short-time work schemes, where the state pays part of the wages lost due to the reduced working hours and provides a percentage of wage compensation for employees in specific sectors
        • Temporary tax exemptions for small business and entrepreneurs
        irelandIreland

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Guarantee, Rescue and Restructuring Scheme for firms
        • €2 billion Pandemic stabilisation and recovery Fund (ISIF)
        • Money vouchers provided by local offices
        • Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Loan
        • Restart grants for micro and small businesses
        • State COVID-19 Credit guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs

        On social and employment fields

        • Package of sick pay and illness/supplementary benefits for self-employed and employees
        • COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
        • Deferral to stamp duty
        • Income support to sick workers
        italyItaly

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • One-off payment to self-employed and seasonal workers
        • Allowance per month for self-employed workers during 3 months in specific municipalities
        • Increase of the Fund providing fee-free guarantee for SMEs loans
        • Suspension of 6 months of loan repayment by SMEs
        • Suspension of payment of electricity, gas, water and waste bills
        • Suspension of tax collection during certain months and postponement of tax deadlines
        • Non-bank intermediaries could operate temporarily below level of Pillar 2 Guidance and possibility of delays on reporting

        On social and employment fields

        • Deferral of social security payments
        • Money vouchers for self-employed with children aged under 12
        • Extension of deadlines for applying for unemployment insurance
        • Establishment of a Fund to support the cultural sector
        • Income support for sick workers
        • Short-time work schemes extended to all companies
        kosovoKosovo

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Emergency support package to support individuals, firms and municipalities affected by the COVID-19 crisis
        • Agricultural support programme
        • Extension of loan restructuring programme
        • Support for crisis-related unemployment
        • Payments to social welfare recipients were doubled
        • Reward for new hiring
        • Extended deadline for tax and pension payments
        • Interest on unpaid property taxes until 2021
        • Credit guarantees for micro-enterprises and self-employed
        luxembourgLuxembourg

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Recovery and Solidarity Fund for companies and independent professionals in certain sectors
        • Aid scheme of payment to SMEs
        • Tax-free grants for companies with less than 10 employees
        • Tax-free grants for self-employed
        • Extension of deadline for corporate tax filling
        • Luxembourg banks moratorium on loan repayments for SEMs and self-employed
        • State guarantee facility
        • Limit on non-worked hours eligible for partial unemployment benefits temporarily extended
        • Tax relief for landlords waiving shares of their rents
        • Suspension of interest on overdue social contributions

        On social and employment fields

        • Extension of deadline for personal income tax filling
        • Self-employed possibility to take family leave
        • Extension of unemployment benefits
        north macedoniaNorth Macedonia

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • The government implemented a fiscal package (0.2% of GDP) to help address firms' liquidity problems and protect jobs, targeted to affected sectors
        • Unemployed or part of the informal economy will have fast access to the social protection system
        • Possibility of being released from advance payment of corporate income tax
        • Interest free loans for micro and small companies
        • State guarantee for commercial loans for small and micro enterprises
        • The National Bank has revised its credit risk regulation, to encourage banks to restructure loans temporarily, and has relaxed the loan classification standards for NPLs
        • Support private associative initiatives that respond to the need for solidarity arising from the COVID-19 crisis.
        montenegroMontenegro

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Subsidies of a percentage of minimum wage for employees in sectors closed due to pandemic and for new employed workers in SMEs
        • Deferral of the payment of personal income tax and social security contributions
        • New investment and development fund credit line intended to improve the liquidity of entrepreneurs, SMEs and large enterprises up to a maximum amount of €3 million per beneficiary with an interest rate of 1.5%
        • Regulation to allow Banks to restructure loans, additional extend of repayment periods, these measures apply also to microfinance institutions
        • Deferral of loan repayment at the request of the individual or business with all banks, micro-credit institutions and the Investment and Development Fund of Montenegro for a period of 90 days
        • One-off support for firms to implement e-fiscalisation

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Support for new employment
        • Domestic travel vouchers for specific sectors
        netherlandsNetherlands

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Compensation of up to 90% of labor costs for companies expecting a reduction in revenues of 20% or more
        • Compensation for affected sectors
        • Self-employment income support and loan scheme
        • Temporary Emergency Scheme for Job Retention
        • Tax-free allowance for SME entrepreneurs in certain sectors
        • One-off allowance for firms that had to close
        • Deferral of taxes
        • Compensation for fixed charges for SMEs
        • Small companies backing microcredits get benefits on interest and deferment of repayment
        • Guarantee from State for SME loans
        • Small Credits Corona Guarantee Scheme

        On social and employment fields

        • Social assistance benefits during 3 months for self-employed without staff
        • To reduce worker’s exposure to COVID-19 in the work place, income support to sick and quarantine workers and their families
        polandPoland

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • Subsidised Loans for micro-firms with special conditions and liquidity support to firms
        • Deferral for taxes
        • Financing scheme for firms such as guarantees, operational leasing schemes and micro loans
        • Wage subsidies and benefits for the self-employed

        On social and employment fields

        • Postponement or exemption of social contributions
        • One-off cash payment (subsidies) with specificities for self-employed
        • Income support to sick workers
        romaniaRomania

        Romania government implemented the following measures related to microenterprises

        • State guarantee scheme to subsidised interest rates for small and microenterprises
        • Bonus for the payment of corporate income tax for microenterprises
        • Extension of the payment deadlines for electricity, gas, water for certain SMEs
        • Tax deductions on corporate income tax
        • SMEs obtaining an emergency certificate can benefit from an extension of the payment deadlines for utility services (electricity, natural gas, water, telephone and internet services) and rents
        serbiaserbia

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • New measures to stimulate youth employment
        • Government will pay minimum monthly salary to every employee of a micro, small and medium sized enterprise  for three months
        • €2.5-4.5 billion to support private sector activity and employment
        • Measures to facilitate the eligibility criteria for loans and to provide financial assistance for farmers
        • Public Loans from Development Fund to improve liquidity and working capital for companies of tourism, hospitality and transport sectors
        • Guarantee schemes for loans for the maintenance of liquidity and working capital for small business owners, SMEs and agricultural enterprises through commercial banks operating in Serbia
        • The Serbian Innovation Fund introduced a special call for proposals to respond to pandemic tailored for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
        south africaSouth africa

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • An increase in the expanded employment tax incentive amount
        • Potential special dispensation for companies that are in distress because of Covid-19, employees will receive wage payment through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme
        • Fast-tracking of value-added tax (VAT) refunds
        • Postponing the implementation of some Budget 2020 measures related with taxes
        • An increase in the proportion of tax to be deferred and in the gross income threshold for automatic tax deferrals
        • additional R100 billion will be set aside for protection of jobs and to create jobs
        • R40 billion for income support payments for workers whose employers are not able to pay their wages
        • R2 billion will be made available to assist SMEs and spaza shop owners and other small businesses
        • R100 million has been provided: in the form of loans, grants and debt restructuring to SMMEs, spaza shop owners and other informal businesses
        • R200 billion loan guarantee scheme to assist enterprises with operational costs, such as salaries, rent and the payment of suppliers
        • Department of Small Business Development is setting up two funds amounting to R500 million to help firms
        • A Debt Relief Fund to help alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus on small businesses
        • Business Growth/Resilience Facility is being established to enable continued participation of SMEs in supply value chains
        • COVID-19 Agricultural Disaster Support Fund for smallholder and communal farmers with a minimum turnover of R20 000, but not exceeding R1 million per annum

        On social and employment fields

        • A special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350 a month for the next 6 months will be paid to individuals who are currently unemployed and do not receive any other form of social grant
        • The South African Social Security Agency will implement a technology-based solution to roll out food assistance at scale through vouchers and cash transfers to ensure that help reaches those who need it faster and more efficiently
        • A Solidarity Fund is set up
        • Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home
        spainspain

        On fiscal and monetary fields

        • ICO line of guarantee for self-employed and SMEs
        • Companía Española de Reafianzamiento loan guarantee for SMEs and self-employed
        • Grants and loans to small companies for digitalisation
        • Special method for calculation of taxes for self-employed
        • Interest free postponement of tax payments  for self-employed and SMEs
        • 3-months moratorium on mortgage payments for self-employed

        On social and employment fields

        • Temporary employment adjustment schemes with a extraordinary benefit to self-employed
        • Suspension of social security contributions for self-employed during 6 months