Urgent and extraordinary spanish measures to deal with COVID-19

Due to the crisis of COVID-19 the spanish government has adopted urgent and extraordinary measures that cover many different areas of business activity. The most significant in each area are summarized below.

Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March, on urgent and extraordinary measures to deal with the economic and social impact of COVID-19

Individual protection measures

  • The supply of electrical energy, natural gas and water cannot be suspended for vulnerable, severely vulnerable or socially excluded consumers.
  • Measures are adopted to seek a moratorium on mortgage debt for the purchase of the habitual residence of those who are experiencing extraordinary difficulties in meeting their payments as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The benefit of exemption is granted to the guarantors or mortgage guarantors who are in a situation of vulnerability.
  • Electronic communications services and broadband connectivity are guaranteed to all current users during the state of alarm.
  • The term to return any purchased product is suspended during the validity of the alarm state and will be resumed at the end of the validity of the royal decree law.

Measures to ensure liquidity and financial

  • The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation will provide up to one hundred billion Euros (100,000,000,000 Euros) in guarantees for financing granted by credit institutions, financial credit establishments and electronic money and payment institutions, to companies and self-employed persons who need it to meet their needs arising from the management of invoices, working capital requirements, financial or tax obligations or other liquidity needs.
  • The ICO’s net debt limit is increased by ten billion (10,000,000,000) euros in order to increase the ICO lines of financing for companies and the self-employed.
  • A line of insurance coverage of up to two billion (2,000,000,000) euros is authorized for the working capital loans required by the export company from the Internationalization Risk Reserve Fund, for certain small and medium-sized companies with liquidity problems due to the impact of the crisis generated by COVID-19.

Extraordinary measures for associations or foundations

  • Companies, associations or foundations may hold the meetings of their governing bodies by videoconference.
  • Likewise, companies, associations or foundations are allowed to adopt resolutions of their governing bodies in writing and without a meeting, with conditions.
  • The period of three months from the end of the financial year for the preparation of the annual accounts is suspended.
  • Until the end of the state of alert, the right of separation of the partners is suspended.

Tax measures

The following measures have been adopted in the area of taxation:

  1. Measures to guarantee liquidity
  • Suspension of tax deadlines

With regard to the tax deadlines, measures have been taken to extend or suspend them.

– Extension of time limits in administrative procedures

The following deadlines that started before the entry into force of the royal decree – law are extended until April 30, 2020:

  •  The deadlines for payment of tax debts provided for in the article resulting from administrative settlements.
  •  The deadlines for attending requirements, seizure proceedings and requests for information with tax implications, as well as the deadlines for making allegations in the opening of such proceedings or in the following hearings:
    • Tax application procedures.
    • Penalty procedures.
    • Nullification procedures.
    • Procedures for refund of undue income.
    • Procedures for rectification of material errors and revocation.
  • Time limits for enforcement of guarantees on property in the context of administrative enforcement procedures.
  • The time limits for attending requests and information requests from the General Directorate of Cadastre.

Also extended until 20 May 2020, among other things, the deadlines for voluntary and enforced payments of settled tax debts and the due dates of instalments and instalment agreements already granted.

Labour and social measures

  •  Measures to avoid layoffs due to temporary adjustments in business activity
    • With regard to temporary employment regulations (ERTEs) due to economic, technical, organizational and production reasons related to the COVID:   These are understood to be those that have their direct cause in losses of activity as a consequence of COVID-19, including the declaration of the state of alarm, which imply the suspension or cancellation of activities, temporary closure of premises with public affluence, restrictions on public transport and, in general, on the mobility of people and/or goods, lack of supplies that seriously impede the continuation of the ordinary development of the activity, or in urgent and extraordinary situations due to contagion of the workforce or the adoption of preventive isolation measures decreed by the health authority, which are duly accredited.  Similarly, the requirements for extraordinary benefits due to cessation of activity are made more flexible.
  • Distance working or teleworking is encouraged
  • Adapting the timetable and reducing the working day
    • Workers who can prove that they have a duty of care towards their spouse or partner, as well as towards family members by blood up to the second degree of the working person, shall have the right to have their working day adapted and/or reduced.
    • Likewise, exceptional circumstances will be considered to exist when there are decisions adopted by the governmental authorities related to the COVID-19 that imply the closure of educational centres or those of any other nature that provide care or attention to the person in need of them, and when the exceptional circumstances that require the presence of the working person concur, when the person who up until now had been responsible for the direct care or assistance of the spouse or relative up to the second degree of the working person could not continue to do so for justified reasons related to the COVID-19.
    • The right to adapt the working day may refer to the distribution of working time or to any other aspect of working conditions, and may consist of a change of shift, alteration of timetable, flexible timetable, split or continuous working day, change of workplace, change of functions, change in the form of provision of work, including distance working, or any other reasonable and proportionate measure, taking into account the temporary and exceptional nature.
  •  However, the employment measures that have been adopted will be subject to the company’s commitment to maintain employment for a period of six months from the date of resumption of the activity.

The state of alert has been extended for a further 15 days, until 11 April, with the support of the Congress of Deputies.

New measures have been adopted, which are summarised below:

  1. To provide that all the Autonomous Communities take charge of the private residences for the elderly.
  2. Apply generalised restrictions on travel for one month.
  3. The Armed Forces will extend their actions in the transfer of patients, protecting critical infrastructures, and supporting the transport of medical material and connections with the islands.
  4. Establish a home food delivery service for people from risk groups.
  5. Establish a strategic reserve of health products.