21. 5. 2020

Pandemic ended – but what about the validity of intervention legislation?

On 14 May 2020 the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted a decree declaring the end of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) epidemic and which is to enter into force on 31 May 2020. This move also affects the validity of intervention legislation, however, it does not mean that all intervention legislation measures cease to apply.

Below, we outline the impact of the decree on the validity of key pandemic legislation:

- ZIUIZEOP (Act Determining the Intervention Measures to Contain the COVID-19 Epidemic and Mitigate its Consequences for Citizens and the Economy) – in accordance with Article 20 of ZIUZEOP, the temporary measures from the Section III of ZIUZEOP and acts adopted on its basis shall be in effect only until 31 May 2020. The listed measures include e.g. the regulation of work and the payment of social security contributions, measures in the field of education, science and health, health care and insurance, social rights, taxes, obligations of borrowers, etc. However, it should be noted that certain legal measures are nevertheless of such nature that they will continue to apply after 31 May 2020 – e.g. the extension of the deadline for filing a motion for initiation of bankruptcy- or compulsory-settlement proceedings up to three months after the ZIUZEOP measures have been repealed (see Article 96 of ZIUZEOP), setting a 60-day payment deadline where the creditor is a public body until up to one year after the epidemic cancellation decree date (see Article 82 of ZIUZEOP), extension of the deadlines for reporting obligations under the Environmental Protection Act up to 60 days after the epidemic cancellation decree date (see Article 100 of ZIUZEOP) and extension of the deadline for submitting an application to a public fund for deferral of a payment under a credit agreement up to six months after the epidemic cancellation decree date (see Article 81 of ZIUZEOP).

- ZIUPPP (Act on the Interim Measure of Partial Reimbursement of Wage Compensation) - the provisions of the ZIUPPP will apply from 1 June 2020 and will apply to workers furloughed from this period onwards (and not retrospectively) if new wage subsidy applications are submitted to the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS). In our opinion, employers who wish to continue receiving a wage subsidies for workers furloughed from 1 June 2020 onwards, will have to submit new wage subsidy applications to the ESS (i.e. even if wage subsidy applications have already been filed while ZIUZEOP was in force). The ESS and the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (MDDSZ) have not yet provided an official response or additional explanations regarding the requirement, if any, to submit a new wage subsidy applications from 1 June 2020 onwards. We will continue to call on both the ESS and the MDDSZ to provide answers as soon as possible and keep you informed of any developments.

- ZZUSUDJZ (Act on Provisional Measures for Judicial, Administrative and Other Public Matters to Cope With the Spread of Infectious Disease SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)) - the measures referred to in this Act and in acts adopted on its basis shall remain in force until the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopts a decision (which shall published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia) that the reasons for the measures no longer exist, but in any event no later than 1 July 2020. Currently publicly available information suggests that the ZZUSUDJZ measures will be repealed on 1 June 2020, i.e. at the same time as the interim ZIUZEOP measures. In this case, the courts shall operate unhindered from 1 June 2020 onwards, with the exception of certain measures intended for the protection of human health and life, which may be adopted by the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia. At the same time, it should be noted that certain individual courts are already operating on the basis of special decrees (e.g. scheduling and holding hearings).

- ZIUOPOK (Intervention Measure Act on Deferred Payments of Borrowers' Obligations) - borrowers who meet the conditions for deferral of payment of credit obligations from ZIUPOK will be able to submit applications for deferral of payment of obligations from credit agreements no later than six months after the epidemic cancellation decree date, in this case by 30 November 2020 (see Article 2 of ZIUOPOK).

- ZDLGPE (Act on Additional Liquidity to the Economy to Mitigate the Effects of the COVID-19 Infectious Disease Epidemic) - the time validity of the measures from the ZDLGPE depends on the individual measure. Accordingly, e.g. the state guarantee under the ZDLGPE shall be valid for credit agreements concluded between 13 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 (see Article 5 of ZDLGPE), and the exemption from paying rents for business premises owned by the state or self-governing local communities shall be valid until the cancellation of the epidemic (see Article 34 of the ZDLGPE).

- ZNB (Communicable Diseases Act) – under the framework of this Act, companies are mostly affected by the implementing acts adopted on the basis of the ZNB. In that respect, one of the most important acts is the Decree on Restrictions on the Offer and Sale of Goods and Services to Consumers in the Republic of Slovenia, which entered into force on 18 May 2020. It retains certain measures with respect to temporary restrictions on the offer and sale of goods and services directly to consumers in the Republic of Slovenia.

Additionally, it is expected that the third “anti-corona” package of acts is to be adopted shortly. The upcoming legislation is set to regulate certain areas of life even further, and will certainly bring changes to current (even transitional) regulations.

Author: Ana Kastelec, attorney-at-law
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