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Everything your company needs to know to tackle the Covid-19 crisis
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Everything your company needs to know to tackle the Covid-19 crisis

Last update on 26 March 2020.

 

The various measures implemented by the Confederation, the cantons, the compensation funds, the banks and other stakeholders come from all sides. They can have a direct impact on helping your company fight this coronavirus crisis. Let’s have a look at the various initiatives.

 

Compensation in the event of loss of work related to coronavirus

Reduction of working hours (RHT):

By authorizing the employer to temporarily reduce the working time defined by a contract, this measure allows the entitled worker to receive a compensation. The aim is to preserve jobs and avoid layoff.

Previously applicable only to specific populations, the Confederation recently extended the RHT to fixed-term contracts, apprentices, temporary workers, entrepreneurs and their spouses. The period during which a reduction of working hours can be authorized - which is currently 3 months - has been increased to 6 months, in order to reduce the number of requests and speed up the process.

To check your rights, you can consult the SECO website.

 

SECO has simplified the request and today, the process consists of:

  • Fill in the RHT notice form (716.300) and submit your request to the competent Cantonal Employment Office (this form is identical for all cantons);
  • For Geneva, send the file by email to rht@etat.ge.ch;
  • Contrary to what is indicated in this form, the Commercial Register form and the RHT approval form to be validated by the employees exceptionally do not need to be sent; in this case a written confirmation from the employer that all employees affected by RHT agree is enough;
  • If the company can explain that the work losses are due to the appearance of coronavirus (beware, the reference to coronavirus is not sufficient, there must be a causal link between the appearance of covid-19 and the loss of work) when answering questions 9a, 10b, 11a and 11c; therefore it is not necessary to answer the other questions from 9 to 12 in the form;
  • There is no longer a waiting period and it is no longer imperative for the employees to use their overtime balance to benefit from RHT.

 

If the request is accepted by the competent cantonal authority, the employer must pay the allowance on the usual pay day and continue to pay all social charges. (For more details on this, check the brochure "Obligation to contribute to compensation in the event of RHT" published by the AVS / AI).

Each month the employer must assert his right by attaching the additional forms and documents requested by the unemployment fund. RHT allowances will then be paid to the employer.

 

For more details on RHT:

 

Beware: if your company does not yet meet the obligation to record working time and has requested RHT, it is crucial to set it up as soon as possible. The records will be essential for your claims.

 

Social charges and Human Resources

The Social charges cantonal office (OCAS) is willing to be flexible towards its affiliates. If your company is having difficulty paying its dues, you can contact the OCAS to request a payment delay and the modification of your ordinary installments.

The Federal Council decided to temporarily allow employers to use, for the payment of employees' LPP contributions, the contribution reserves that they have built. The employer continues to deduct normally the share of contributions from the employees' salaries and the pension fund credits all contributions in favor of the latter.
Moreover, the obligation to advertise vacancies has been temporarily removed.

 

Loss of earnings for the self-employed and the employees who took care of their children

Regarding the self-employed who have suffered a loss of income due to the related measures taken by the Federal Council and the employees who have had to interrupt their professional activity to take care of their children (up to 12 years) and who do not receive their salary accordingly, the extraordinary loss of earnings allowance can cover the compensation. For more information, visit the OCAS website.

 

Teleworking cross-border employees

The OFAS confirmed that the occasional teleworking period linked to coronavirus does not change the status of the related cross-border workers.

 

3D ECO Coronavirus : Quels remèdes pour les entreprises ?

 

Support for companies with liquidity needs during this drop in activity linked to Covid-19

Request a cash advance

The Fondation d’aides aux entreprises (FAE) supports companies hit hard by coronavirus by offering them a cash advance in the form of a direct loan, interest-free, without loan guarantee and in principle reimbursable over seven years.

To request a cash advance from the FAE click here.

 

Some banks provide liquidity in the form of rapid transitional credits and / or allow the suspension of variable:

The list of banks that grant COVID-19 loans is available here.

This website has been created to request a bridging loan quickly: covid19.easygov.swiss

 

Tax deadlines and deferrals in Geneva

 

Entrepreneurial solidarity

It is wonderful to see that true solidarity has developed at all levels in our country. Many initiatives are emerging to give a boost to local businesses, including:

  • Ensemble 19, toutdebons.ch and Soutien aux commerçants de la Riviera offer to support local business, in particular those who have had to close, by buying their products or services in the form of gift vouchers, to be used upon their reopening. Thus, the money raised allows these businesses to pay their various costs during this period of restrictive measures;
  • Insurance companies La Vaudoise and Groupe Mutuel have teamed up with Qoqa to launch the DirecQt platform to support small producers, retailers and other businesses who cannot do their jobs. If you are in this situation and part of the local economic, you can fill in this form. On the DirecQt site, internet users will be able to buy enhanced coupons that will allow them to benefit from 10% and the merchant to receive 20%. For example if a customer buys a 90.- voucher from a chocolate artisan, it has a value of 100.- and the artisan gets 120.-;
  • The Lausanne-based instagrammer Whitney Toyloy, set up the operation " Coup de pouce de Whitney " with the aim of helping self-employed and small French-speaking business by giving them visibility on her Instagram account (11,3 k followers);
  • Iabsis launched the solidarity platform covid-heros.ch to support the self-employed and small businesses, on which internet users can sign up for a pre-order and send a "little extra" to help them.

 

Other measures to keep in mind:

 

Some tips from Synergix:

  • If you are active abroad, there is a good chance that your VAT statements are in a credit position and that the Administration owes you money. By returning your statement at the end of the period (1st April 2020 for January - March) rather than at the end of the legal deadline, you may receive the money owed to you more quickly. The reimbursement occurring around 60 days later, anticipating it can make a difference in your company's cash flow;
  • Your income is likely to decrease compared to your last taxation, therefore you can adapt the amount of your installments according to the new expected profit / capital;
  • A legal entity based in Geneva must do it via correspondence and for a private indivdual here;
  • If your cash requirements are significant, it may be possible to extend the payment or the deadlines for some services, on request, without interest (for example: VAT, IFD, SIG).

 

The best resources to answer other questions you may have:

  • A very useful online help center in the form of FAQs has been created for all questions of liquidity, indemnities and rights and obligations: : helpcenter.easygov.swiss
  • The "Coronavirus: what measures and rules for employers and employees" page on the FER website;
  • The general official information from the Confederation on coronavirus;
  • The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has published, in collaboration with the Influenza working group and SECO, a guide to help companies in the event of a pandemic: "Pandemic and companies";
  • Nowadays, digitalization has become crucial and some criminals may take advantage with various online frauds attempts. Cybersecurity cannot be underestimated. Geneva has published a free training accordingly;
  • A hotline and a chatbot exclusively dedicated to companies in order to understand their needs and how to support them effectively in their efforts have also been set up: +41 22 388 34 34.

 

Should you continue or stop your activity? Do you need help filing your VAT statements as soon as possible or do you need administrative support in making requests to the authorities? Do you want to implement the best solutions?

Each business is unique. If you would like a loss analysis and personalized tips, please contact us.

 

As the situation is constantly evolving, we will update this article regularly so that you do not miss any measures that could have an impact on your business. Do not hesitate to follow our Linkedin page to stay informed with the latest updates.