Covid-19: report on schemes set up in Payroll and HR in countries in EMEA

Most governments have taken measures to deal with the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and handle the economic difficulties that companies may face and thus keep employees in their jobs. The objective is to preserve jobs, and retain skills, and even strengthen them when their companies are facing economic difficulties, so that they can quickly restart business once the crisis has passed.

Within this context, different schemes have been defined or strengthened by the governments in the following countries in which Sopra HR offers a Payroll & HR solution:

  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Portugal
  • UK
  • Switzerland


the measures taken in France are described in specific messages communicated.

the measures taken in Spain are described in specific messages communicated.

– the governments in Belgium and Morocco have not taken any specific measures.

The information presented here is that which is currently known. It may be updated.

1.        Main measures

The measures taken concern several areas:

  • Managing absences due to confinement and absences to take care of children if schools or daycare centers are closed
  • Setting up ‘partial activity’ or ‘partial unemployment’ schemes
  • Working from home
  • Deferred payment of contributions and taxes.

The information given below is of a general nature and does not take into account the legal constraints of each country. The information must therefore be adapted to each country, because the methods of implementation and payment differ.

1.1.    Absence for lockdown

Some employees may be subject to isolation, eviction or stay-at-home measures.

Compensation may be different in each country. Some employees may be entitled to sick pay. This is based on the fact that employees are unable to work.

1.2.    Absence to take care of children

Some parents may not be able to work so they can take care of their children.

1.3.    Working from home

Working from home generally requires agreement from the employee and the employer, but it can be required in the event of an epidemic.

In some cases, to protect the health of employees and if the job allows it, working from home is the best solution.

This is not an absence or reduction in working hours, because only the location of the workplace differs.

As part of the preventive measures to limit propagation of the Coronavirus, people with special conditions, such as pregnant women and people with fragile health, can also request to work from home or can take sick leave so they can stay at home.

1.4.    Partial activity or partial unemployment

In the current difficult economic situation, partial activity can be an important way to maintain jobs. Partial activity is meant for companies with:

  • A reduction in the usual working hours of the site
  • Or temporary full or partial closing of the site

This possibility:

  • Often requires compliance with authorization request procedures with the relevant administrations
  • Requires special compensation for employees
  • Can affect employee entitlements and declarations

1.5.    Deferred payment

Deferred payment of contributions and taxes is possible in most countries.

2.        Summary of measures taken in countries

GermanyPartial activity
SpainSee specific article
FranceSee specific article
ItalyDaily bonus of 100 euros for employees that are not working from home and that have an annual gross salary in 2019 of more than 40,000 euros (Uniemens payroll and declaration impact)
Special absence reason for quarantine
Payment of taxes and salary reductions are suspended
Absences for sick family members
Infected employees managed by INAIL just like for work accidents (impact on Uniemens and INAIL 1031 payroll and declarations)
The salary of INPS CIGS/CIGO employees is handled by the INPS and not by the employer (impact on Uniemens payroll and declarations)
LuxembourgSpecial absence for family reasons
Partial unemployment for reasons of force majeure
PortugalSpecial absence reason
UKSpecial absence reason
SwitzerlandPartial unemployment
Loss of income allowance for child care
Loss of income allowance due to quarantine