Mar 16, 2020
COVID-19: We’re working remotely!
Further, we would like to share with you the latest measures implemented in Cyprus to help in supporting the local economy during these challenging times:
Government of the Republic of Cyprus has announced new measures, implemented to support businesses, enterprises, working people and vulnerable groups, in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The comprehensive financial Support Programme includes the following:
- Granting Special Leave to parents working in the private sector for the care of children of up to fifteen (15) years of age (up to third grade of lower secondary education), due to suspension of operation of schools, both public and private, as well as preschool, nursery and child care centres.
- Business Suspension Plan – any business currently resolving to suspension of their operations, as well as the businesses which continue to operate and are affected by a turnover reduction of more than 25%, are eligible for the Business Suspension Plan, designed to prevent layoffs – under the Plan, affected employees will receive the unemployment benefits for as long as the business’ operations are suspended.
- Small Business Support Plan amounting €10M, designed for businesses that employ up to five (5) people, subject to retaining their employees at work and having their turnover reduced by more than 25%. The Plan provides the equivalent of 70% of employee salaries as financial aid. The exact terms and conditions of the Plan will be published in the official announcement.
- Reimbursement Plan for Afternoon and Evening Programmes of the Ministry of Education.
- An average €800 per month for Sick Leave allowance.
- One-month extension for filing complaints with Social Security Services for self-employed persons until 30th April 2020 (initially 31st March 2020).
- Launching mobile units for support of elderly and vulnerable members of community.
- Provision for reinforcements of the public health sector.
- 2-month postponement on the increase of contribution payments to the General Healthcare System (GHS), initially scheduled for 31st March 2020.
- Temporary 2-month suspension of Value Added Tax (VAT) payments to provide liquidity to businesses. This measure relates to companies with a turnover under €1M, as per tax declarations submitted in 2019, as well as companies with a turnover reduced by more than 25%, without imposing any charges. Relevant arrangements will be made for gradual payments of any due amounts until November 11th 2020. This measure is expected to boost business liquidity at a time when companies are expected to face liquidity problems.
- Temporary reduction of VAT, from 19% to 17% for the next two months, and from 9% to 7% for the next three and a half months, immediately after the relevant legislation is adopted, to strengthen the purchasing power of citizens and stimulate domestic consumption.
- Special arrangements for taxpayers participating in the Scheme for Settlement of Overdue Tax Liabilities for the full duration of the state of emergency.
- Overseas Students’ Grant for students to remain abroad.
- 2-month extension on the obligation to file tax returns for those who were required to do so by 31st March 2020, with new deadline 31st May 2020.
- Suspension of the requirement to retain guarantees under public and private contracts for the supply of services or products that will be delayed by the pandemic crisis. The measure is in the process of being implemented.
- Tourism Recovery Support. Allotment of additional €11M for the implementation of actions to support tourist influx in Cyprus between June and September 2020, in cooperation with airlines and tour operators, as well as actions to increase tourist arrivals from October 2020 to March 2021.
- Banking sector: The European Central Bank (ECB) has already examined the measures to support bank lending. Under the new measures, Cypriot financial institutions will be able to obtain liquidity from the Eurosystem on substantially favourable terms. The measures decided by the ECB include, inter alia, the release of capital stocks, which are estimated at € 1.3B by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) for Cyprus’ systemic banks. In addition, the CBC is considering further local measures which will be announced by the Governor of the Central Bank shortly thereafter.
- Introducing price ceiling on personal hygiene products (e.g. masks, antiseptics, antibacterial liquids, soaps, etc) for prevention of profiteering.
- Governmental and semi-governmental sectors, including the educational sector, will be working remotely, where possible, with a limited staff available to deal with urgent requests beginning from 17th March 2020 for the duration of one (1) month.
For more information on the COVID-19 measures in Cyprus and how these measures can affect you and your business, please contact us on [email protected]