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Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case CZ-2020-15/454 Updated – measures in Czechia

Antivirus employment retention programme

Antivirus - podpora zaměstnanosti

Country Czechia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 06 April 2020 – 31 May 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g. short-time work)
Author Aleš Kroupa (Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs)
Case created 10 April 2020 (updated 06 May 2021)
Related ERM support instrument

Background information

The employment protection programme Antivirus is designed to help companies to protect jobs. The state will compensate companies – through the Labour Office of the Czech Republic – for wages paid out to employees. This measure will help employers better manage the current situation so that they will not have to resort to layoffs. The wage reimbursement is intended for employers who have to cope with restrictions due to COVID-19 crisis resolutions of the Czech government or whose employees are quarantined. There are two models/regimes of reimbursement depending on the reasons for the obstacle to work (see content of measure).   The government has approved the Antivirus programme to compensate employers’ salary costs from 12 March 2020. The applications for wage compensations refunds have been opened since 6 April, 2020 by the Labour Office. The programme was repeatedly extended to 30th April, 31 May, 31 August, 31 October and to 31 December.

The compensation model is based on the German Kurzarbeit model.

Content of measure

Regime A - Forced limitation or closure of business operation and ordered quarantine.

  • In the event of ordered quarantine the employee receives from the employer a wage compensation amounting to 60 % of the average earnings (the first 14 days paid by employer).
  • In the event of business closure due to governmental orders the employee receives a wage compensation of 100% of the average earnings from the employer.

A state contribution under Regime A will amount to 80% of the paid wage compensation, including insurance contributions (max. CZK 39,000 (€1,415) per employee and month).

Regime B - Connected economic difficulties (Obstacles to work on the part of an employer due to the connected economic difficulties because of the spread of the coronavirus).

Depending on the type of obstacle the employee receives a wage compensation amounting to 60-100% of the average earnings 

Contribution under Regime B will amount to 60% of the paid wage compensation, including insurance contributions (max. CZK 29,000 (€1052) per employee and month).

Basic subsidy conditions:

  • Only employees with employment contract; (Temporary Agreements on work "DPP", "DPC" are excluded) 
  • Salaries and insurance contributions were regularly paid.
  • The employer complies with the Labour Code and does not have overdue debts towards the state.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

21 April 2021

By the Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 392 of 19 April in 2021, the deadline for terminating Antivirus was extended from the 30 April 2021 to the 31 May 2021.

22 February 2021

By the Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 186 of 22 February in 2021, the deadline for terminating Antivirus was extended from the 28 February 2021 to the 30 April 2021.

21 December 2020

By the Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 1365 of 21 December in 2020, the deadline for terminating Antivirus was extended from the 31 December 2020 to the 28 February 2021.

29 October 2020

By the Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 1039 of 14.10. 2020, the deadline for terminating Antivirus regime A was extended from 31 October to the end of 2020. From 1 October, employers will now be entitled to an employee allowance of 100% of the wage compensation paid instead of the current 80%. At the same time, the maximum monthly contribution per employee increases from the current CZK 39,000 (€1,415) to CZK 50,000 (€1,814). For employees who cannot perform work due to quarantine, the contribution remains the same, ie 80% of the paid wage compensation. The maximum contribution remains at the original amount of CZK 39,000.

Another resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 1098 of 26 October 2020, the B regime of the Antivirus program was extended until the end of 2020. The conditions for granting the contribution remain the same as in the previous period. The employer is entitled to an employee allowance in the amount of 60% of the paid wage compensation, up to a maximum of CZK 29,000 (€1,052).

01 July 2020

On 16 June 2020 the Antivirus programme has been extended by the Regime C, bill on the waiver of social security premiums for small companies of the size 50 employees and less.

Regime C enables the waiver of part of social security premiums and state unemployment policy contributions that are paid by employers (i.e. 24.8% of the aggregate income of their employees). The waiver can be claimed for three months from June to August 2020. The amount of social security premiums paid by employees has remained the same (equalling 6.5% of the assessment bases). The waiver of social security premiums is carried out through a reductions in aggregate assessment base. However, it is not possible to deduct an assessment base higher than CZK 52,253 per employee, i.e. more than 1.5 multiple of the average wage set for social security purposes in 2020.

There are several conditions that an employer must meet that social security premiums are waived. If the conditions have been met is assessed every single month.

  1. The employer employs a maximum of 50 employees that are under an employment relationship and participate in the sickness insurance scheme. The number of employees under employment relationship is determined at the end of each calendar month to which Regime C applies.
  2. The number of employees has not decreased by 10% or more compared to the number of employees as of 31 March 2020.
  3. The aggregate assessment bases of employees under employment relationship for an individual month to which Regime C applies may not decrease by more than 10% compared with the aggregate of assessment bases of such employees as of March 2020.

Use of measure

As of 12 July 2020, 56,963 companies applied to participate in the Antivirus Program and wages of 719,256 employees have been supported by the Program. Thus, every fifth company that pays social security contributions for at least one employee has applied to participate in the Program. As of 12 July CZK 14.5 billion has been paid out (of which 40% has been allocated in regime A and 60% in regime B). Enterprises from three most vulnerable sectors (retail/wholesale, accommodation, catering, hospitality and manufacturing) submitted 55.7% of applications. The majority of companies are SMEs.

As of March 22, 2021, 70,928 companies had applied to participate in the antivirus program, and the program supported the salaries of 987,149 employees. As of that date, CZK 34.8 billion was paid out.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Unknown Unknown

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

Both social partners were consulted.

Views and reactions

No information.

Sources

  • 31 March 2020: ANTIVIRUS -employment retention (www.mpsv.cz)
  • 02 April 2020: Antivirus - support for employment (www.mpsv.cz)
  • 04 April 2020: Targeted Programme for Employment Support: “Antivirus” HANDBOOK FOR EMPLOYERS (www.mpsv.cz)
  • 01 July 2020: Certain Aspects of Antivirus´ Regime C taxes legal world news case law in brief flash news Certain aspects of Antivirus‘ Regime C taxes legal world news case law in brief flash news Certain aspects of Antivirus‘ Regime C (danovky.cz)
  • 16 July 2020: Stav čerpání Programů Antivirus A a B k 12. 7. 2020 (www.mpsv.cz)
  • 22 February 2021: the Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 186 (apps.odok.cz)
  • 22 March 2021: Status of drawing of the Antivirus program as of March 22, 2021 (www.mpsv.cz)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Antivirus employment retention programme, case CZ-2020-15/454 (measures in Czechia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.