The last week of June 2020 saw entry into force of legislation which the media dubbed Anti-Crisis Shield 4.0 and whose official title is the Act of 19 June 2020 on interest support for credit facilities extended to provide liquidity to businesses affected by COVID-19 consequences and on simplified arrangement approval process in connection with COVID-19. This law makes broad amendments to the Act of 2 March 2020 on special measures to prevent, counter and combat COVID-19, other infectious diseases and the related crisis emergencies (“COVID Act“). Even though the new law has been in force for a few weeks now, there is still controversy surrounding its application.
Firstly, there is uncertainty as to the mutual relationship between new support under Article 15gg COVID Act and the more popular form of support under Article 15g COVID Act. Both the Ministry for the Family, Labour and Social Policy and the Provincial Employment Offices consider that both forms of support can be combined to apply for a total of 3 months. However, some claim that there is no legal basis for this.
Another controversy is whether businesses may dismiss employees while using Article 15gg support. According to Employment Offices, dismissing even a single employee is a sufficient reason for having to refund all the support that has been granted. But this construal is unfounded. The law clearly provides that what is prohibited is dismissal for reasons not attributable to the employee. Therefore, a company will be allowed to dismiss an employee for such reasons as disciplinary action without losing the support.