Covid-19 (Coronavirus): The impact on businesses and employees

The Cyprus Government has taken restrictive measures in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 accompanied by measures to support both businesses as well as the working population in this time of social and economic uncertainty.

In this critical time, we are here to provide you with guidance and support as to your rights and obligations as an employer or employee. We take note that relevant legislation will be enacted in order to codify these measures and lay down the specific procedures to be followed.

For employers
In compliance with their duty to provide a safe and secure workplace environment, employers must follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health so that the spread of the virus is prevented and the risk of exposure to employees and customers is reduced. It is recommended that non-essential face-to-face meetings with clients and internal meetings are avoided and if possible, to apply a working from home policy. At the place of business, enhanced hygiene measures must be taken.  

As of 16th March 2020 the following businesses have mandatorily suspended their operation:
 
  • shopping malls/department stores
  • cafes, coffee shops, bars and all catering businesses (excluding those offering or having the ability to offer home delivery
  • entertainment venues
  • cinemas, theatres, spectacle venues
  • libraries
  • museums, archaeological and historical sites,
  • gambling agencies, casinos etc.,
  • sports facilities, sports clubs, cultural clubs & societies,
  • theme parks (amusement parks etc),
  • barber shops, hairdressers, aesthetic-massage centres

As long as those businesses observe strict hygiene rules, they may carry out administrative and other operations behind closed doors.

Other businesses may continue to operate provided that they strictly follow the hygiene rules as well as the rules for the protection of their employees. Businesses which are open to the public, must not allow the presence of more than 1 person per 8m2 at their service area and a safety distance of 2 meters between 2 customers is observed. Additionally, shops which are not part of a department store may remain open provided that they operate with up to 5 employees and the ratio of  1 person per 8m2 (including their employees) is followed.

Business suspension plan
For any businesses whose operation will continue but they suffer a 25% reduction of turnover due to COVID-19 measures, a Business Suspension plan will be introduced. All employees of such businesses, will receive unemployment benefit amounting to 60% of their wages.

Small Business Support Plan
Small businesses employing up to 5 people, provided that they retain their employees and their turnover has decreased more than 25%, will receive a subsidy of 70% of their employees’ wage costs.

For employees

Special leave
Parents working in the private sector are allowed to take special leave for the care of children under 15 due to suspension of attendance at public and private schools, nursery and child care centres. The special leave will be granted to one of the two parents and can last up to 4 weeks or longer, depending on any extension to the closure of schools. Moreover, it will be granted if the nature of the parent’s work does not allow working from home or flexible working hours and if there is no outside assistance. This excludes any help provided by grandparents.  
  • For a parent with a salary of up to €2.500, a 60% allowance will be paid for the first €1.000, and for the next €1.000 of his/her salary, a 40% allowance will be paid.
  • For a single parent with a salary of up to €2.500, a 70% allowance will be paid for the first €1.000, and for the next €1.000 of his/her salary, a 50% allowance will be paid.

Parents working in the public sector and it is necessary for them to stay at home to take care of their children, may consult with their supervisor in order to arrange a replacement.

Sickness allowance

Payment of 'sickness allowance' on average € 800 per month for:
 
  • Employees who have particular health problems and fall into the relevant categories made public by the Ministry of Health, who must absent from work for the purpose of protecting their health or not its deterioration. Provision of certificate by their personal physician is required.
  • Cases of compulsory absenteeism from employees as a result of instructions from the Authorities (compulsory quarantine or compulsory self-isolation/Classes 1 or 2), provided that they obtain a relevant certificate by the Ministry of Health.
  • Persons beyond the age of 63 to the age of 65, who do not receive a statutory pension and continue to work and fall into Classes 1 and 2, provided that they obtain a certificate by the Ministry of Health.

Employees of Ministry of Education Afternoon Programmes
Employees of afternoon programmes of the Ministry of Education, and specifically of music schools, sports schools, state institutes of further education, adult education centres, optional all-day schools, afternoon and evening programmes of technical schools, and other service purchase programmes of the Ministry of Education will receive an allowance amounting to their full remuneration.
 
For self-employed
Self-employed persons were provided with a one month extension for the submission of objections to the Social Insurance Services and therefore they can submit any objection until 30th April 2020.

Our firm is fully committed to provide you with support and legal advice to any matter related to you or your business as a result of any governmental measure related to COVID-19.
MORE NEWS & PULICATIONS

Measures taken in relation to the Public Procurement process due to COVID-19
Checklist of Legal Issues arising out of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Suspension of foreclosures due to COVID-19
Covid-19 (Coronavirus): The impact on businesses and employees

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+357 24 81 25 81/82

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