Follow the news of the past days

May 15th to 21st, 2020

The Government of the Czech Republic approved on Monday the COVID III program. The aim of the COVID III is to, via the operating bank loans guarantees, support the businesses of up to 500 employees, the economic activities of which are limited as a result of the coronavirus infection occurrence and the related precautions. It will be possible to use the guaranteed loans for operating expenses, as for example wages, rents, energy payments, etc. More information is to be found here (in Czech only). As for the COVID III functioning, more information will be possible to obtain during an on-line webinar which we organize on May 26th, 2020 (for free for the Czech Chamber of Commerce members). At the webinar, also the people who have participated on this program preparation will make their speeches. Details concerning this event are to be found here (in Czech only).

Another Government approved program is the COVID – RENT by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. Now, this program has to be approved, or rather notified by the European Commission. After its notification, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic will announce a call with detailed information and specification of the applications’ requirements. The program will concern such business people who had to fully close their establishments for goods and services sale due to the emergency precautions. The core of this program is expenses distribution among the landlords (can offer a rent discount in the amount of 30%), the tenants (must pay 70% of rent before discount) and the State (will provide a financial contribution to the tenant in the amount of 50% of rent before discount). The program will apply to the tenancy relationships in the 2nd quarter of the year 2020. The Czech Chamber of Commerce perceives as positive aspects the following: (1) the discount provision is not set as an obligation but as a possibility for the landlords, (2) the tenant has to actively negotiate the discount with the landlord (he/she is not just a passive beneficiary). On the other hand, the low flexibility of the program framework can be labelled as a negative aspect – the amounts of both the discount and the financial contribution are firmly set, there is nothing in between.

The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved on Wednesday the Government proposal on the decrease of social security premiums penalties (print No. 259). In case the Law draft is signed by the President of the Republic, the employers will have the possibility to postpone their social security payments (i.e., 24,8%) that should be paid for the period from May to July even up to October 20th of this year. This way, the employers would pay only the insurance premiums for their employees (6,5%). The penalty, the rate of which is normally 0,05% of the sum owed per day, will be decreased to 0,01% per day up to October 20th, which will amount to roughly 1% in a quarter of a year. The companies, moreover, will have to pay only the penalties that will exceed 1,000 Czech crowns. The payment postponement will be granted without a need to submit any request. In case the employer will not send the social security payment for May to the District Social Security Administration up to June 20th (for June up to July 20th and for July up to August 20th), he/she will be granted a postponement with reduced interest rate. If the employer does not pay the sum owed up to October 20th, the Social Security Administration will assess a penalty corresponding to the usual rates. According to the Czech Chamber of Commerce statement, it is absurd that the payment postponement is presented as an aid while subsequently it is followed by sanctions. CCC did not, from the very beginning, agree, in this context, with any sanctions, however, its arguments were not answered by the legislative bodies.

The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, Ms. Jana Maláčová, announced that the prolongation of the Antivirus program for companies affected by the coronavirus up to August, 2020, will be presented on the Monday Government meeting. The conditions for fund drawing, however, will not be completely identical. At the same time, the anti-crisis tax package should also be presented during the Monday meeting. The Czech Chamber of Commerce does, in general, support the changes in the income tax field and that mainly when it comes to the possibility of tax loss retroaction or VAT tax adjustment in the form of VAT rate decrease from the current 15% to 10% for accommodation and cultural establishments’ visits.

This week, the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, did, in a written form, address the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, Ms. Jana Maláčová, with a request of electronic education support for the whole duration of the OPE (Operational Programme Employment) educational projects and also rules simplification for this form of education. Further prediction of the development related to the coronavirus spread is very uncertain, plus the electronic communication is a common part of the work, educational and family environments these days. Therefore, CCC does not consider this requirement as something exceptional, out of the ordinary society standards. An integral part of the letter is also the across the board prolongation of the current projects implementation (for example the call 110). We believe that MoLSA will acknowledge the unquestionable advantages of the electronic education and will accept it as an effective and welcomed tool for both the current and the future educational projects.

May 11th to 15th, 2020

A whole range of Law drafts, many of which concern the business people, are being quickly passed through the adoption process within the legislative emergency regime. Unfortunately, the Czech Chamber of Commerce has only limited means at its disposal to actively influence the new legislation. In some cases – as when it comes to the compensation bonus for the self-employed enactment and the subsequent widening of its scope in order to also encompass the associates of small limited companies – however, we have been successful.

Out of the many new pieces of legislation we would like to mention the following three proposals:

  • Compensation bonus for the associates of small limited companies (print 850)
  • Electronic evidence of takings (EET) postponement (print 849)
  • The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved the Government Law draft on penalty decrease for the social security premiums payments and the financial contribution to the State employment policy paid by employers as payers with regards to the emergency precautions during the epidemic in the year of 2020 and on change of some related Acts with which CCC definitely cannot be content (more is to be read in this press release – in Czech only).

Nonetheless, this week the Government debated also the Law draft by which the Act No. 134/2016 Coll. on public procurement placing, as amended is to be changed. This Law draft was proposed by the Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic on the basis of the current need with regards to the emergency state announcement, Government crisis precautions and emergency precautions by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. The reasoning when it comes to the main principles of the proposed Law draft is the removal of the administrative obstacles for public procurement placing within negotiated procedure and without prior publication. The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic did not agree to debate it during a shortened meeting within the framework of the announced regime of legislative emergency. The Czech Chamber of Commerce welcomes this step, since such systemic changes should be passed through a regular legislative process.

As a follow-up to the ongoing legal changes and the care-giver’s allowance social benefit extension for employees, there come the changes also within the mirror program to the care-giver’s allowance for the self-employed – it is possible to apply for it for the month of April and that from May 11th, 2020 to June 7th, 2020. Disregarding the number of children – dependable persons, it is possible to apply just once. It is a Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic grant, detail requirements and the relevant form are to be found here (in Czech only).

The Government, fortunately, does not, in these hectic times, deal only with the precautions when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are glad that the Government did on its Monday meeting and based on a suggestion by the Czech Chamber of Commerce specify the definition of family companies which will from now on without any doubt include also the single-member limited companies employing family members as managing directors. The problematics of family companies can be one of the important fragments of measures’ mosaic which should in the upcoming “normal” post-crisis period play a positive role in the restoration of the Czech economy.

The new analysis of the Czech Chamber of Commerce which was conducted based on a feedback from our membership implies some tensions begin to appear among companies in the field of consumer-supplier relations. This is caused by companies’ prioritization of paying wages to their employees rather than paying their suppliers. Many companies, however, need money as soon as possible in order to settle the liabilities towards their employees. And since the Government precautions affected almost the entire domestic customer-supplier chain, the relations among companies themselves begin to sharpen. More information is to be found in the press release here (in Czech only).

This week, the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, did, in a written form, address the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Andrej Babiš, with his disapproval of the current practice of State support provision within the COVID framework in the regime of standard amount “de minimis”, i.e., 200,000 EUR. The ministries, however, know very well that the European Commission did, as early as on March 19th, 2020, approve the so called “Temporary Framework” by which it enables a support of economies affected by the coronavirus disease through increase of grants provided up to 800,000 EUR. Usually, the companies have the “de minimis” support allocated for long-term projects which they currently call off or prematurely terminate in order to be able to draw the State support within the COVID framework. The intervention of Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, therefore, aims mainly at the Ministry of Industry and Trade fo the Czech Republic to increase the upper limit of the “de minimis” from 200,000 to 800,000 EUR in accordance with the responsive approach of the European Union.

As you surely know, the Government did, due to the emergency state, suspend also the admission of applications for foreign workers. Many of you either impatiently wait for your employees from abroad or are not sure how to proceed in a situation when e.g. your employee’s visa expired. Those were the reasons why CCC organized, via Internet, a webinar during which 150 employers posed more than 500 questions to the employees of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic and last but not least to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic – to the employees who occupy themselves with the agenda of Government programs of economic migration.

  • Good news is that some Consulates (Mongolia, Serbia) also based on the request of the Czech Chamber of Commerce did this week start again with handling some applications for employee cards (social and healthcare professions). The resort representatives, however, did point out that for the first entry of the foreigner there will have to be a SARS – CoV2 test not older than 4 days. The employee card holder who had already resided in the territory of the Czech Republic and is now returning back to his/her employer, has to be tested in the territory of the Czech Republic within a subsequent 72 hours. The webinar, however, did not only help to solve your first-hand questions. It also helped the Offices to set the further processes for the applications admission in order to suit as much as possible the employers while abiding with the epidemiologists recommendations. CCC will therefore organize such webinar again in the second half of June 2020. The concrete seminar program will be prepared in accordance with the conditions that are to be up-to-date next month.

When it comes to the cross-border movement, there is an updated version of rules for travels on account of economic activity performance published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce (in Czech only).

We have also published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce the information regarding the Save your company project by the Czech Fintech Association. This project is designated mainly for tradesmen, small and medium sized enterprises that are not, due to the COVID-19, currently able to supply their customers. The customers have, therefore, a possibility of buying a voucher and thus immediately support their company that currently vitally needs funds for bridging the period for which it is forcibly closed. More is to be found here (in Czech only).

A similar activity is pursued also by the South Bohemian Chamber of Commerce which will in its already established on-line catalogue Members to Members newly publish also the so called Chamber vouchers. Those are to help the business people who are due to the Government precautions not able to normally provide their services. Eventhough the interested parties will be able to use their bought vouchers not until after the precautions loosening, the income from the sold vouchers can already now help the companies and tradesmen with keeping positive cash flow. More information is to be found in a press release from May 12th, 2020 (in Czech only).

The South Bohemian Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Chamber of Commerce in the Pilsen Region at the same time propose, together with their counterparts, an immediate return to the complete freedom of movement and freely provided services. More information is to be read in this press release from May 13th, 2020 (in Czech only).

The Trade Fairs Brno, on the other hand, point out in its press release (in Czech only) the absence of a clear Government plan regarding the trade fairs industry restart to which the regional economy, including hotels and restaurants, retailers, transporters and tradesmen, is linked.

On the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce there are also pieces of information from the Law Offices that cooperate with us on the free-of-charge helpdesk for business people. Those Law Offices are trying to help them in these difficult times by publishing expert articles on current topics as for example the rent postponement problematics or responsibility for damages, also by organizing webinars on such topics as liabilities collection (May 21st, 2020; for free participation it is necessary to indicate the code HKČR), etc. For complete offer of webinars click here (in Czech only).

May 4th to 7th, 2020

The Government approved a Law draft on postponement and decrease of social security insurance premiums. As a reminder, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, from the very beginning of this crisis, demanded relieves for the companies’ cash flow from the Government – this appeal is included in the updated 20 demands of the Czech Chamber of Commerce for business people. The Government proposes a postponement of three months for payments to be paid in June, July and August. Good news is that it will not be necessary to inform the District Social Security Administration about your intent to postpone the payment. The postponed payments have to be paid up to October 20th, 2020 – it is a pity the original proposal of a postponement up to November 20th, 2020, by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic was not approved. This relief, however, will not be for free – the employer will pay for the duration of the postponement a penalty in the amount of a 4% annual interest rate. CCC does not agree with such parameter, we cannot see the reason why the companies should be penalized by the State and that especially in this crisis. A decrease of the social insurance premiums payment to one fifth of its standard amount was also a part of the original proposal by MoLSA. We at the Czech Chamber of Commerce discuss at least a partial remission of the insurance premiums payments from the very beginning. A provisional decrease of the payments for the affected companies would only have been a different technical solution of the same issue. The ministerial proposal, regardless the possible partial objections (those could have surely been dealt with), was going in the right direction, unfortunately, it did not survive the Government meeting. The topic of insurance premiums payments remission or provisional decrease will nonetheless be presented by CCC on every meeting with the members of the Government as an effective measure for the mitigation of hard impact of the Government coronavirus restrictions on the companies’ cash flow.

The Government also sanctified, to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, the grant increase within the Care-giver’s allowance for the self-employed program to 500 Czech crowns per day of support.

The Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic informed the Government about his COVID – RENT program currently in the making. This program would introduce a possibility of 50% State share on the rent payments for the period from March 12th to June 30th, 2020, in cases the landlords themselves, following an agreement with the tenants, provide them with 30% discount and the tenants themselves pay 20% of the (original) rent. The program administration should be done by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic itself. CCC hopes the Ministry will have sufficient capacity for that matter, since the Chamber with its regional branches should be possibly able to participate on the functioning implementation of such grant program – similarly as we engage in the qualified foreign workers hiring or when it comes to the toll collection. Some of the parameters of the intended program, however, should be discussed. There are, for example, situations when the rent is negotiated in the amount of costs or only just above this level – in those cases it is debatable whether to press for the rent decrease below this minimum level. It should definitely be possible, similarly as in the case of the gradual decrease of the premium payments, to consider at least some State rent contribution even in a situation when the landlords and tenants agree upon a reasonable, economically justified rent decrease of less than 30%.

The Government also decided on its meeting that starting from May 11th, 2020, some parts of the economic migration programs will be relaunched. Together with the Key and Scientific Personnel Program and the Highly Qualified Employee Program, it will be possible to request within the framework of the Qualified Employee Program for the medium qualified employees in its 1st phase the employees falling into the social services category. It will also be specified on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic from which countries it will be possible to recruit the foreign workers. All the positive procedures concerning the reopening of the projects, recruiting new workers coming from third countries or employing seasonal workers, however, depend on the epidemiologic situation of the country of origin. In order to secure as broad awareness as possible regarding the current state and all the possible further steps, the Czech Chamber of Commerce decided to organize on May 12th, 2020, a webinar with the participation of the concrete resorts representatives who monitor this situation and negotiate the conditions with the epidemiologic operatives. More information including the registration form for this webinar is to be found here (in Czech only).

As a follow-up to the above mentioned activities aimed at the foreign migration support, CCC has called for cooperation by a letter and a press release on the Government representatives of the relevant ministries (the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic). This initiative of the Czech Chamber of Commerce was also supported by a wide range of business people. We are prepared to negotiate the procedures and the possible alternative solutions. For example defining the secure country, number of workers, focus field, transport to the Czech Republic, etc., in order to ensure a compliance with the security conditions of the State and abiding the epidemiologic requirements.

The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved during a shortened meeting the proposal for another postponement of the last wave of the electronic evidence of takings (EET, print 849) and that up to the end of this year, while the business people who begun with the evidence within the previous waves do not have this obligation until the end of this year. Another Government proposal just approved by the Chamber of Deputies is the broadening of the compensation bonus in order to encompass also the associates of limited companies (print 850). You know that CCC for a long time strived for mainly the small companies not to be omitted when it comes to the compensation with regards to the coronavirus crisis and its impacts (see the press release).

The employers will also be impacted by another Law draft on some precautions taken to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 epidemic in the field of employees’ protection in cases of employer’s inability to pay (print 851). All those legislation drafts have to, of course, be yet debated by the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

The President of the Czech Republic signed on May 6th, 2020, the Amendment on compensation bonus. We have welcomed the prolongation of the period for which the compensation bonus payments will pertain.

This week, the Act on State guarantees of the Czech Republic provision for securing the debts of the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank related to providing guarantees for the credits with regards to mitigating the negative impacts caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, was also announced in the Collection of Laws.

As a reminder, on April 29th, 2020, already, the Government decree No. 215/2020 Coll. adjusting the further availability of the State support enabling drawing credits from commercial banks and that via provision of guarantees of such credits from the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP), came into force. EGAP will on its own account provide guarantees as an insurance of credits repayment. Those are the guarantees for operating credits principal repayment, for working capital, for innovation and production improvement and, with the aim of maintaining the business, for credits provided to exporters, manufacturers and business enterprises. The guarantees are provided by EGAP as a State emergency measure for the purpose of liquidity availability for export-oriented companies. The EGAP guarantee is conditioned by fulfilment of certain criteria. Therefore, it will be accessible only by bigger enterprises (250 and more employees) with a documentable share of export (20 and more percent), while the upper limit for one company is the “European” limit of 800 000 euros (gross sum, i.e., before the tax deduction or other fees payment, etc.) and the credit is not meant for some fields of business as for example for transport, accommodation, tourism or betting business. Detailed conditions are to be found here (in Czech only).

CCC updates on a regular basis the information concerning traveling to neighbouring countries (in the coming weeks we plan to encompass also other countries). We organize new series of webinars “Antiviral for Export” – every Thursday the participants obtain up-to-date information regarding trade, logistics and an authentic story of an exporting company. The pilot webinar was aimed at France, the theme of this week is the EU support and we plan to organise webinars focused on Austria, the Great Britain, Italy and other countries (more information is available here – in Czech only). We are also preparing the so called Export Telemarathon – a week-long segmented webinar with partners’ entries (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Československá obchodní banka, Czech Export Bank and the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation). First event of this type is planned for the beginning of June. The companies will acquire information about the export instruments and support right from the particular parties and providers.

We have also published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce some further information coming from our incorporated associations. Among the new posts, there is the updated version of the Manual for fitness centres opening from Monday, May 11th, 2020, in which the Czech Fitness Chamber reacts to another wave of precautions loosening when it comes to the sport activities. There is also the press release by the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants in which the Association welcomes the proposals of VAT decrease for the accommodation services. The suggestions from our incorporated associations and members are regularly passed on to the Government representatives, the Crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and also to a team of epidemiologists.

As a last point, we put a piece of information related to the unscheduled Government meeting of May 7th, 2020. According to the available information, the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic, Mr. Adam Vojtěch, demanded to put the Law draft on emergency precautions during the COVID-19 disease epidemic in the year of 2020 and on the change of some related Acts on the agenda. In fact, it is an alternative approach to an issue the result of which was proposed in the form of an Amendment on public health protection – the debate of which was interrupted on the Monday Government meeting. The Amendment draft raised many discussions concerning the exclusive competencies of one minister and of the non-existent interconnection with the constitutional Act on security of the Czech Republic. The current result is the proposal of a special Act in which the emergency precaution decree of the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic has to nowadays be preceded by a Government approval. What is a bit unconvincing and even startling is the wording of the proposal’s explanatory memorandum that does not envisage any substantial impacts of such emergency precautions on the business environment and, moreover, there is no mention of any relation with material harm or damage that could be done by such emergency precautions to business people (and also the common citizens). The not-discussed sensibility of such questions thus show the far side of the legislative emergency regime when the Law drafts are being even precipitously created and that without any communication with the expert and wider affected public.

April 30th, 2020

The Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic did, on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020, approve and the President of the Republic did, on April 30th, 2020, sign several Acts of Law debated within the sped-up regime of legislative emergency. Among those there are also the increase of the care-giver’s allowance up to 80% of the average pay and that retrospectively up to April 1st, 2020, the provision of the State guarantee by the CMZR Bank for securing debts in the amount of 150 billion Czech crowns or the deadline postponement for the remnant sale of cigarettes with old revenue stamps and the deadline for final removal of those cigarettes from the market. The Senate, on the other hand, returned back to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic the Amendment on the compensation bonus with its changes – it accepted the prolongation of the period for the bonus pay-out, however, it once again demands a gradual increase of the daily rate of the bonus for the self-employed from the standard amount of 500 Czech crowns – in May for 700 Czech crowns and in June for 900 Czech crowns. Whether it is going to be the standard 500 Czech crowns or more will again be decided by the Deputies in the Chamber. As we have informed you before, the Government is preparing an analogy to the compensation bonus for the self-employed also for the associates and managing directors of small limited companies. The originally considered solution by the Government decree which was supposed to be adopted by the Government on its meeting on April 30th, 2020, was, however, also under the pressure by the Czech Chamber of Commerce and mainly our incorporated Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic revised to the form of the Act of Law by which the Government will concern itself in the week from May 4th, 2020. It also seems that after weeks of hovering, the Government will grant the demand of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and other employers’ organisations and will approve the so called Regime C as a supplement to the current Antivirus program. A reimbursement in the framework of this supplementary regime should appertain to an employer for a wage of every employee who works without any limits and simultaneously there has been a drop of takings in the amount of 30%.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce does, for several years already, provide the auspices to the Law of the Year project. As a representative of the business people across all fields and sizes, CCC is convinced about the usefulness of this competition. This year, the results of which were announced on April 29th, 2020, our satisfaction is even bigger than normally since the first two ranks were taken by the Acts of Law nominated by the Czech Chamber of Commerce. The winning Act No. 12/2020 Coll. on the right to digital services and on Amendments of several Acts of Law constitutes a revolutionary change in the approach towards the legislative framework of the digitization. This Act of Law creates conditions for a sped-up completion of the inter-linked public administration data fund and for the launch of the across the board obligatory sharing of the once acquired data on every businessman and that by every authorized Office. We highly appreciate that neither any Deputy nor any Senator voted against the proposed winning Act of Law. Also the Act No. 277/2019 Coll. which ranked second is in a sense revolutionary, since it essentially well arranges our legal code. The implementation of the homogenous days for legal force (always from January 1st or July 1st) and the list of obligations that arise from every proposed legislation to the liable subjects will, without a doubt, contribute, among others, to the amelioration of the legal awareness of the business people.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce could not any further overlook the approach of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic towards the Czech protective equipment manufacturers. Based on the unfavourable outcomes for the Czech producers from the working group for coordination of measures for domestic manufacturers the aim of which is the support of domestic companies, the set-up of trade models between the State and the Czech protective equipment producers respectively, the Czech Chamber of Commerce did, together with the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic and the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts of the Czech Republic, decide to call on the Prime Minister by an open letter and a press release for a fast correction. CCC is pleased by the flexible reaction of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic when it comes to the decision over the eight contracts for different protective assortment provision. Moreover, the Ministry of the Interior will announce, now according to the Act on public procurement, the tenders on framework contracts for the protective equipment provision after the emergency state termination for its bodies with a possibility of Czech manufacturers applying (the individual links to the calls for protective equipment public produrements are available here). Eventhough it does not constitute a central solution when it comes to the protective equipment provision, CCC does perceive this step as a positive one with a promise for the continuation of the debates for central solution negotiations.

On April 30th, 2020, CCC has, based on a survey that took place during the previous week, published its first outputs. This survey among 796 tradesmen and companies implied that the Government measures meant to support the economy are comprehensible from the public point of view. On the other hand, the majority of citizens, including the business people, is afraid that those will not help them. The press release on this topic in its entirety is available here.

From the very beginning of the emergency state the Czech Chamber of Commerce operates an unprecedented and free-of-charge helpdesk for business people. This helpdesk is operated within the framework of the Law Electronic System (PES – pespropodnikatele.cz). Up to this point, we have processed more than 2,500 questions and suggestions. We are pleased that this activity was met with a significantly positive feedback. We do value your faith in us and we are glad that the Czech Chamber of Commerce can be of any help to you.

  • We would like to seize this opportunity to acknowledge the intensive work of the professional capacities and that not only from among the employees of the Office of the Czech Chamber of Commerce but also the cooperating law offices and consultancy companies. Those are, namely, the following: HAVEL & PARTNERS; PRK Partners; ROWAN LEGAL; MELKUS KEJLA & PARTNERS; FRANK BOLD; ARROWS; VIA IURIS; Becker & Poliakoff; AK VINDICTA; Ernst & Young; AK NĚMEC, BLÁHA & NAVRÁTILOVÁ; AK FELIX et al. and our strategic technology partner – the company CZ s.r.o.
  • The meaning of this whole undertaking is to provide the business people during these difficult times with the up-to-date information and a point to which they can aim their questions and suggestions concerning the coronavirus pandemic. This emergency helpdesk will be in operation up to the emergency state termination, i.e., up to the month of May, 2020.
  • Even after the emergency state expiration and the termination of our emergency helpdesk, CCC is prepared to help you orientate within the Government measures and that for example via the chatbot which is able to answer most of your questions in record time. The “Chatbot Chamberlain” is fully at your disposal both on our website and also on our Facebook page (in Czech only).

Considering the positive feedback from the companies that have already make use of the issued certificate of the force majeure intervention, CCC further offers this aid to the business people with a 50% discount. Within the framework of this service, it is possible to make use of the personal consultations of an expert employee of the Czech Chamber of Commerce. More information is available here (in Czech only).

We are glad to inform you about a change in the options of submission of documents which are to be certified and their subsequent personal pick-up within the services of the Client Centre of the Czech Chamber of Commerce (Prague, Florentinum). Starting from May 4th, 2020, you can again make use of the personal option of submission of documents which are to be certified that has been, due to security reasons, suspended during the month of March. The employees are ready to help you within the office hours which are to be found here (in Czech only). In case you prefer the arrangement by correspondence, it is possible to continue in that manner. Starting from May, you can obtain at the Client Centre, and also at all the other contact points of the public administration operated by the Czech Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber Czech POINTs), the abstract of all the electronic prescriptions issued to the applicant and that for a concrete calendar period, the so called “Abstract from the patient’s medication record“. This abstract can be requested either by the applicant or a representative on the basis of a statutory declaration. The price for such an abstract is 90 Czech crowns for the first page and 50 Czech crowns for the second and all the subsequent pages. A complete list of the services provided by the Chamber Czech POINTs is available here (in Czech only).

We would like to invite you to the second in the series of the planned export webinars focused on the export territories affected by the coronavirus the most: “What can EU offer to the business people or Antiviral for export” which is to take place on May 7th, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Details and the registration form are available here.

April 24th, 2020

On April 23rd, 2020, the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic debated several legislation drafts. From the point of view of the small business people, mainly the Amendment proposal of the recently adopted Act on compensation bonus the basis of which is to continue with the compensation bonus for the self-employed after April 30th, 2020, when the current pay-out of 25,000 Czech crowns ends, played a role. The proposal preserves the daily compensation in the amount of 500 Czech crowns currently in force, however, it newly defines a second bonus period from May 1st to June 8th, 2020, i.e. 39 days, and it grants a possibility of a third bonus period even after June 8th, 2020, on which lenght the Government is supposed to decide on its own. The bonus pay-out does not, therefore, strictly devolve on the duration of the so called emergency state which is currently being discussed by the polititians. It is a pity, however, that the Deputies did not make use of the opportunity and did not more significantly enlarge the group of persons eligible for the compensational bonus. Who is, therefore, still being left out are for example the associates of small limited companies which usually have only a minimum number of employees (commonly just themselves) and the core of their business, often depending on the continuous takings, does not significantly differ from the business of the small tradesmen. Next to the chance the Amendment will be adjusted by the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the possibility of the Government, via its decree and independently on the legislation on the compensation bonus for the self-employed, introducing a special grant program which would make possible the financial support for the associates of the one or two-member limited companies also takes shape. The amount of the aid should, similarly as in the case of the compensation bonus for the self-employed, be 500 Czech crowns per associate per day. The conditions of the grant program should be discussed by the Government on its Monday meeting on April 27th, 2020.

A second output coming from the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic from March 23rd, 2020, which we take the liberty to mention, regulates the consumer taxes problematics. It concerns not only the importers and producers of the tobacco products but also the distributors and mainly the retailers – both big and very small ones. The Amendment postpones by one month the deadline for remnant sale of cigarettes with old revenue stamps and the deadline for final removal of those cigarettes from the market. The aim of this proposed measure is to provide the business people in the given field with a bigger time window this year for enabling, in these conditions worsened by the current coronavirus crisis, the removal of cigarettes with a tobacco revenue stamps corresponding to the consumer tax rate that was in force up to February 29th, 2020, from the market. Starting from March 1st, 2020, there are new consumer tax rates for the tobacco products in force. Therefore, it is only possible to place on the market those tobacco products that are marked by the tobacco revenue stamps corresponding to the new consumer tax rate. However, the business people are, due to many emergency precautions, under time pressure because the remnant sale of the cigarettes bought earlier and their removal from the market is much more difficult compared to the standard circumstances and that mainly due to the worsened logistics, lack of the labour capacity and the related health risks. As in the previous case, the proposal will be further discussed by the Senate.

As you have probably already noticed in the media, the Municipal Court in Prague cancelled the emergency precautions by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic from April 17th, 2020, and March 26th, 2020, on limiting the retail sale and the emergency precautions of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic from April 15th, 2020, and March 23rd, 2020, limiting the free movement of persons.

  • The Czech Chamber of Commerce perceives this judgement rather positively since its content and implications on one hand return the public power execution back to the limits corresponding to the State of law, while on the other hand those also expect that in case the State causes any damages by its decision, governed in any way by a good intent, to the private persons, it should compensate them.
  • According to the opinion of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, it should not be left out that the Court evaded the evaluation of both strictness and effectiveness of the State adopted anti-epidemic precautions (“And the Court does not mean to contradict in any way that its (i.e. the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic) process applied seemed (and seems) to be effective from the point of view of the control over the set-in threat.”). What, however, the Court does highlight is the necessity to abide the formal rules of the public power execution in any situation and that disregarding the threat which the State has to face (“It is key that in exactly those cases the public power bodies do adhere to the rules which govern the behaviour of individual parties during the emergency states as only thus would also the preservation of the State of law to its maximum extent be secured even in the times the State and its inhabitants are under a threat.”).
  • Now, the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, in fact, “has to” oppose the judgement by an appeal and try to reverse the decision of the Municipal Court on the incorrect administrative process of the Ministry, since otherwise a major threat of the affected business entities employing the damages compensations according to the relevant provisions of the Act No. 82/1998 Coll. on responsibility for damages caused when executing the public power by a decision or incorrect administrative process for the period from March 23rd to April 26th, 2020, the period of the illegal emergency precautions being in force, would arise. It concerns the Act which is, in practice, rather often used and it is possible to anticipate the Court ruling when it comes to it. Another way of the caused damages compensation, according to the crisis law – the provision §36 of the Act No. 240/200 Coll., is in practice less used, therefore, it is harder to predict the Court ruling. In any case, however, it applies that the affected business people will have a chance for the possible damages compensations.

Our pressure on the Government brought yet another tangible result. The Government, based on the positive epidemiologic data and arguments of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Czech Republic and other organisations of the Czech Chamber of Commerce did, yesterday evening, reassess its schedule of loosening of the business activities restrictions which originally extended as far as to June 8th, 2020. Therefore, it will get to faster opening of shops and services. As early as on Monday, April 27th, 2020, not only the small shops and establishments will be able to open but also the bigger ones – those up to 2,500 m2 of sales area. Starting from Monday, the driving schools and, under certain conditions, also the workout and fitness centres and gyms can relaunch their operations. Therefore, it was managed to quicken the loosening of trade and services by approximately 14 days. Eventhough many of you are dealing with existential problems, CCC considers as crucial every day when you could start decreasing the losses and return to normal situation. The recording of the Tuesday press briefing, during which we have once again pointed out our objections towards the original Government schedule, is to be found here (in Czech only). The updated schedule of loosening of business and other activities is available here (in Czech only).

Also on April 24th, 2020, the Government debated further measures. It approved and sent to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic a request for emergency state prolongation and that up to May 25th, 2020. Exactly that day the loosening of all the Government restrictions that were quickened by 14 days is supposed to end. On the press conference following the Government meeting the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Ms. Alena Schillerová, also stated that the Tax Offices already register 400,846 requests for the compensation bonus, the so called Five-and-twenty for tradesmen. 364,257 requests for almost 9 billion Czech crowns were granted so far. As a reminder, eligible for the 25,000 Czech crowns, 500 crowns per day, are those tradesmen and other self-employed persons who were affected with regards to the coronavirus. They can request the bonus from April 9th, 2020, in the meantime for the period of March 12th to April 30th, 2020. Presently, we will analyse the conclusions of the Government meeting.

As we have already informed you, we have succeeded in arranging a meeting in the premises of the Czech Chamber of Commerce with a team of epidemiologists led by Mr. Rastislav Maďar, the coordinator of the group for controlled loosening of the quarantine of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, did, on April 24th, 2020, make use of the meeting for arranging a further communication in order to continuously obtain information and propose our recommendations in further process of quarantine loosening. The President of CCC demanded of the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic and the epidemiologists the opening of another phase of our discussions with regards to the summer season. In order for the operators of the typically summer services – camps, outdoor swimming pools, children camps, boats and bikes rental shops, sports venues and info centres – and the related services as transportation or catering – could prepare their establishments for summer vacations, they need to know from the Government, as soon as possible, not only the when and under which conditions they will be able to open but also what precautions they will have to implement. The information is also to be found in the press release (in Czech only). In this regard, we would like to thank for a quick cooperation, among others, the Association of Swimming Pools and Saunas of the Czech Republic, the Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Czech Republic, RegioJet and others.

Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý was informed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic on the main changes in traveling which will be in force starting from April 27th, 2020, 12 p.m. CCC further verifies and clarifies the rules of the cross-border movement and that including the entry to the neighbouring countries. We will continuously monitor the rules updates and publish it here (in Czech only).

Thanks to a big interest for the protective equipment provision, the Czech Chamber of Commerce decided together with partners to open a second possibility of securing the scarce goods for employees’ protection. The assortment of the products was expanded within this offer and that for the much demanded respirators of the FFP3 type, protective suits, shields, goggles, gloves and others. More information concerning the second offer of protective equipment provision is available here (currently in Czech only).

As a follow-up to a large number of questions concerning the COVID-19 that were posed to CCC by both its members and non-members, we have launched on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce a new assistant – a chatbot which is able to answer most of your questions in record time. At the same time, it will easily guide you through the tangle of the ever changing Government measures. The “Chatbot Chamberlain” is fully at your disposal (in Czech only). Considering the dynamic situation, we will continuously update it.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce did, from Thursday, April 2nd, 2020, to Monday, April 6th, 2020, launch a snap survey among the companies put by the Czech Chamber of Commerce into the Qualified Employee Program (formerly Ukraine Regime). The survey was called “Coronavirus and employment of foreigners“. The aim of this survey was to find out what the impact of the coronavirus was on the labour-law relations with the employees-foreigners, what measures were taken in this regard by the employers and what measures do they consider. The survey results were and will be used for forming the further proceedings of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and that mainly in the communication with the State bodies with a goal to adjust the set-up of the Qualified Employee Program to the users’ requirements and, therefore, relieve the business people in the current burdensome situation. The results are to be found here (in Czech only).

On our website we have published an analysis of the COVID-19 impacts on the audiovisual industry and possible solutions of those impacts. This analysis was, among others, prepared by the Audiovisual Producers’ Association and the Film Distributors Union.

  • As a follow-up to this analysis we would like to state that we do perceive that apart from the industrial companies or hotel owners and merchants there are also other fields which the current coronavirus crisis negatively affects and that including the artistic professions. Among those there are exactly the audiovisual works producers or organisers of cultural events. The current Government schedule of precautions loosening does in many aspects forget them. Even after loosening of majority of the precautions, the artistic professions will continue to be a subject to the obligation of wearing face masks. According to the Audiovisual Producers’ Association and the Association of Commercial Television, both being incorporated associations of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the performance of theater, movie or for example dance roles would, therefore, be, in practice, thwarted. The State should, therefore, provide the artistic works producers with an exception from the obligation to cover nose and mouth during the artistic performance, provided, of course, they will abide by the relevant hygienic measures. And that whether it comes to the regular testing of the artists and members of the realisation teams for the COVID-19, the obligation to wear face masks out off the performance, the compliance with the 2 meters distance among the artists or the regular disinfection of the stages or shooting premises.

Further, we would like to highlight the Manual for fitness centres operations opening from Monday, April 27th, 2020, that was prepared by the Czech Fitness Chamber. Other useful information is to be read here. The suggestions from our incorporated associations and members are regularly passed on to the Government representatives, the Crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and also to a team of epidemiologists.

As an inspiration, we would also like to highlight the activity of the Chamber of Commerce of Olomouc District that, together with the town, launched a project Olomouc Helps Itself. Together they created a space for presentation of restaurants and cafés, shops and services, sport, culture and entertainment offers in the time when their operations have to be closed or limited. The Olomouc inhabitants can show they care about their favourite shops, cafés or for example theatres. Both the town and the Transportation Company did, as a support of this campaign, provide its advertising space for free. More information is to be found here.

April 22nd, 2020

The outputs of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic meeting:

  • Unfortunately, we have to state that the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic persisted on its wording of the Act on some precautions taken to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 epidemic on the tenants of premises being used for satisfying the tenement needs, on beneficiaries of credits provided by the State Fund for Housing Development and with regards to the provision of performance concerning the occupancy of tenements and non-tenement premises in houses with tenements and of the Act on some precautions taken to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 epidemic on the tenants of premises being used for business activities.
    • Both those Acts with rather long titles regulate the non-/payment of rents in the times of emergency precautions. In the past few days we have also informed you about them.
    • The tenants will be enabled to postpone their rent payments by 4 months (up to July 31st) in the case of tenements and by 3 months (up to June 30th) in the case of premises being used for business activities. If the tenant documents his/hers inability to pay with regards to the coronavirus epidemic, his/hers contract cannot be terminated on the basis of unpaid rent and that up to December 31st, 2020.
    • The Chamber of Deputies, therefore, refused the Senate’s changes which, in both cases, included mainly the State guarantee in the amount of 80% of unpaid rent. We understand the need to deal with the difficult tenants situation and we do not want to make light of it, nonetheless, the Chamber of Deputies repeatedly jettisoned the legitimate interests of the landlords. Somehow symbolically on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lenin. Both Acts are now being passed to the President of the Republic for his signature and will most likely end up a part of our legal order in the coming days. It is possible those will become so only temporarily – in case both those Acts would have to face a constitutional complaint and would not hold. A pragmatic way out of this abnormal situation could be a Government completion of the currently approved Acts by some special State compensation programs for both tenants and landlords adoption.
  • The voting on the Tax Ordinance Amendment Draft which the Senate also returned to the Chamber of Deputies with its changes ended up somehow surprisingly. In fact, the necessary number of votes were not found among the Deputies and that neither for the Senate’s nor for the Chamber of Deputies’ own version of the Act. The Tax Ordinance Amendment, unlike the previous Acts, was being passed through the standard, not the sped-up, legislative procedure. On one hand, the absence of the new legislation is a pity since the business people positively perceived both the longtime promised development in the tax administration digitization and the possibility of returning the excessive VAT deductions by parts, however, on the other hand, they were disenchanted with the inability to push through a provision of the Act which would discourage the Czech Financial Administration from the possible bullying of the business people and also mainly by the disproportionate general deadline prolongation for deductions returns from 30 to 45 days which CCC perceives as really insensitive in the time of the coronavirus induced problems with cash-flow of many companies. The new, and we hope also more consensual, Tax Ordinance Amendment will, therefore, have to be passed through the whole legislative procedure again.

You have probably already noticed in the media the outputs of the press conference organized by the Czech Chamber of Commerce together with its partner organizations. At this conference we have pointed out that in case there is no conceptual change, important economic sectors will in the coming weeks and during the loosening up of the economy face major difficulties and unjustified discrimination. The Government, therefore, should enable a quicker opening of the gastronomic establishments, accommodation services or shopping malls. The whole video record of this press conference is to be found here (in Czech only).

CCC has on its website published a press release of the Automotive Industry Association AutoSAP regarding the decrease of the motor vehicles production. The suggestions from our incorporated associations and members are regularly passed on to the Government representatives, the Crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and also to a team of epidemiologists.

On the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce you can also read the press release of the South Bohemian Chamber of Commerce which, among others, summarizes the new calls for companies that, in reaction to the current situation, transformed its production.

We have for you 6 tips for useful on-line webinars by the Czech Chamber of Commerce. We have adapted to the Government restrictions and starting from March already we offer on-line education. 3 webinars were already successfully carried out, while 6 more are opened for registration. Among those, you can find for example How to motivate your employees in the time of crisis, How to outsmart the PPC advertisement on Google and Seznam, Employing foreigners in the time of the emergency state or a free-of-charge webinar Legal minimum for business people. You can look up those events directly at www.komora.cz/kurzy.

April 20th, 2020

The outputs of the Government meeting:

  • There is a Government Amendment of the care-giver’s allowance to be presented in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic in the regime of legislative emergency. This Amendment is to increase the care-giver’s allowance for employees taking care of their children at home from the current 60% to 80% of the average pay and that retrospectively from April 1st up to the schools opening, to June 30th the longest.
  • After only a few weeks, the Chamber of Deputies will probably approve another Amendment of the Act on State budget. This time it will concern a deficit in the amount of 300 billion Czech crowns. The State should also provide a new lawful guarantee by CMZR Bank in the amount of 150 billion Czech crowns for its COVID programs. The original modest guarantee amount proposed by the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic was increased on the Monday Government meeting by 100 billion Czech crowns.
  • Two legislative intents of the Government were discussed on the first meeting of the restored National Economic Council of the Government (NERV) on Monday evening – the cancellation of the real estate transfer tax and an implementation of the retroaction of an income tax loss. NERV’s stance towards both intents is basically positive. However, there was a rather dynamic exchange of opinions regarding the existing Government precautions in the fight against the coronavirus which is a topic of Chamber’s surveys. The difficulties of the so called kurzarbeit current settings or the State bank guarantees were evaluated in detail. Polemics were caused by the Government plan for loosening of the precautions. What is already a challenge and still will be in the future and that not only for NERV is the post-crisis investment promotion. We will see how the debates within NERV will practically be reflected by the State policy in practice.

On April 20th, 2020, the establishments of craftsmen, farmers’ markets, car marts and car showrooms can reopen. It is also permitted to carry out weddings with a total of 10 participants, while smaller groups of professional sportsmen can start their outdoor trainings. The Government divided its plan of shops opening and loosening of other activities into five phases starting from today and ending on Monday, June 8th. The schedule of loosening of the restrictions is available here (in Czech only).

Acts regulating business premises and apartments rents are being returned back to the Chamber of Deputies with an 80% State guarantee for owed rents put there by the Senators. To the first of those Acts (on rents of premises serving for business activities) the Senators also attached a continuation of the compensation bonus for the self-employed for the time after April 30th when the pay-out of the current 25,000 Czech crowns ends. The possible May bonus will comprise 700 Czech crowns/day for 31 days, while the June bonus will amount to 900 Czech crowns/day for 30 days. This proposal will, therefore, meet in the Chamber of Deputies with the separate Government solution which preserves the daily compensation in the amount of 500 Czech crowns that is currently in force, however, the second period is strictly defined as longer and that up to June 8th, therefore, 39 days in total, and grants a possible third bonus period even after June 8th (also comprising 500 Czech crowns/day) whose length is to be decided by the Government itself. Anyway, the compensation bonus will not end by June 30th.

The President of the Republic signed today the Act on some precautions taken to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 epidemic on persons participating on the judicial proceedings, injured persons, victims of criminal acts and legal persons and on changes of insolvency law and distraint procedure.

  • It contains, among others, the mandates prolongation of the members of legal persons’ bodies. In practice, this means that in case the mandate of members of those bodies terminated during the period when the emergency precautions were in force, their mandate is automatically prolonged. This mandate will last for another 3 months after the emergency precautions termination. At the same time, all the bodies can for the duration of the emergency precautions meet, adopt decisions and vote “per rollam” or via videoconferences and that even in cases when such possibilities were not mentioned in their internal regulations or those were even prohibited.
  • Another important novelty is the so called “special moratorium” – the means of protection against bankruptcy which has similar effects as the insolvency proposal (including the limitations of the possibilities of handling with own property), however, on the other hand, it enables to draw the funds of public support for the mentioned epidemic impacts. Another of its important components is that the bankrupt for the duration of the special moratorium does not have to submit an insolvency motion for himself/herself.

Today, at the headquarters of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, we have succeeded in realizing a meeting with a team of epidemiologists led by Mr. Rastislav Maďar, the Coordinator of the Group for Quarantine Loosening Management of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, informed him of the letter he sent today together with other confederations and associations to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Andrej Babiš. In this text he appeals for faster opening of shops and services, shopping malls, gastronomic and hotel establishments. Of course, bound by the condition of respect of the essential hygienic requirements for both costumers and service providers protection. Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý stated that we have for a long time respected the expert opinions and recommendations of the epidemiologists, however, currently, we expect clearer information as to the data this approved proposal of quarantine precautions loosening is based on and which concrete data will affect its possible acceleration or deceleration, or the adjustment of the particular steps internal structure.

  • During the meeting, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý informed of the concrete comments of our members and incorporated associations – e.g. why the big shops with furniture have to be closed while the hobby markets are open? We have also talked about the suggestions by the Czech Fitness Chamber or by the representatives of the Association of Swimming Pools and Saunas of the Czech Republic with whom we have debated last week on how to obtain from the State the schedule and conditions for loosening up of activities also related to the domestic tourism summer season for them to better prepare their establishments and hygienic precautions.
  • At the same time, we have arranged a further communication in such a manner which would enable us to continuously obtain information and propose our recommendations for further quarantine loosening. Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý also demanded an on-line communication line set-up between the Czech Chamber of Commerce and the team of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic where we could be provided with reactions to the many questions and suggestions of our members which usually touches the practical questions as how to apply hygienic and regulating requirements when it comes to the establishments opening or how to set those precautions to quicken the loosening in segments of trade and services planned to be loosened in later phases.

We have published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce another piece of information from our incorporated associations concerning the coronavirus. Newly, you can read an article by the Association of Laundry and Drycleaners of the Czech Republic which focuses on how the small laundries and drycleaners are trying to deal with the crisis. The suggestions from our incorporated associations are regularly passed on to the Government representatives, the Crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and newly also to a team of epidemiologists.

On Tuesday, April 21st, 2020, at 10 a.m. an unscheduled press conference of the Czech Chamber of Commerce on the demands for the loosening of the precautions taken with regards to the coronavirus will take place. At this press conference which will follow upon the Monday meeting of the representatives of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and its partner organizations with the members of the team of epidemiologists of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, together with Mr. Tomáš Prouza, the President of the Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, Mr. Václav Stárek, the President of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Czech Republic, and Mr. Jan Kubíček, the Chairman of the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) Czech Republic National Committee, will make a speech. The conference can be watched e.g. on the Facebook page of the Czech Chamber of Commerce (in Czech only).

April 17th, 2020

Brief summary of some Government meeting conclusions:

  • The new announcement of the Minister of Healthcare of the Czech Republic, Mr. Adam Vojtěch, is important when it comes to the facilities providing healing-rehabilitation spa care. The Government Cabinet plans to wait until the end of April for the epidemiology situation evaluation and in case no problems emerge, the spas could be opened gradually.
  • The Government approved a care-giver’s allowance increase up to 80% of daily base employee income instead of the current 60%. What is key for the tradesmen taking care of their close ones is whether this change will apply also to the self-employed. The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, Ms. Jana Maláčová, assumes it, nonetheless, she did not confirm the support conditions levelling referring to the fact that the care-giver’s allowance increase proposal must come from the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Mr. Karel Havlíček. The Resort should announce the call for support requests admission for April on May 1st.
  • With regards to the travel agencies proposal to create a corridor for vacations in, for example, Croatia, the Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Czech Republic, Mr. Roman Prymula, admitted it is one of the considered possibilities, nonetheless, the top level discussions with several states will be necessary. He can imagine that such transit will be made possible in countries with similar health risk as in the Czech Republic. However, he did not mention whether the Government did start with such discussions.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce welcomes the decision of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic from April 17th, 2020, which returns the Law draft for the coronavirus epidemic impacts on the tenants of premises serving for business activities (print 239) for revisions to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. The Upper Chamber, among others, approved the Amendment enabling the landlords to provide up to 80% State guarantee for the unpaid rent in the times of the coronavirus crisis. The Amendment also thinks of the group of business people omitted by the original Amendment approved by the Chamber of Deputies. More information is to be found in the press release here (in Czech only).

We have also published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce another piece of information from our incorporated associations concerning the coronavirus. Newly, we have published the statement by the Czech Furniture Association. The suggestions from our incorporated associations are regularly passed on to both the Government representatives and the Crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

We value the work of our Regional and District Chambers of Commerce that carry out the information role, provide consultancy services, actively negotiate with the local authorities, take part in securing and distribution of personal protective equipment and mediums and perform many other activities for business people and tradesmen support in their regions. Among the information we have published concerning this topic last, there is the commendable activity of the South Bohemian Chamber of Commerce or the Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Central Bohemia.

CCC would also like to thank again all of you who answered our call to send us an e-mail with personal experience with the COVID I, COVID II or Antivirus programs. Currently, we are processing all those suggestions and communicating them towards the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic. We also point out the stagnating support for the business people in the media. We thank you all that you were willing to share your experience with the readers of the Hospodářské noviny here (in Czech only).

Regarding your questions concerning the support in the framework of COVID programs we have also got in contact with the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank in order to ascertain more detailed and up-to-date information. CMZR Bank did within the COVID programs approve, for now, the support for the business people in the total amount of 1.6 billion Czech crowns (while COVID II adds up to 1 billion Czech crowns), finally CMZR Bank processed about 1,400 business people requests. Within the COVID I program 500,000 Czech crowns were paid out. The money is – at least according to the statement of this State bank – really being paid out. Nonetheless, CCC considers two points to be difficult to accept. Not even a half of the requests were processed in a month. And while the total allocation to the COVID I was in the amount of 5 billion Czech crowns, the statistics suggest the allocation will not be drawn in its entirety. In such case it is absurd that the rejected business people still lack the explanation why their requests were declined. It is quite clear, nevertheless, that a communication from the side of CMZR Bank which could have helped the applicants to eliminate the possible flaws in their requests would enable them to yet draw the funds from this program, since the money is apparently still available. The main issue is, however, the useless administrative difficulty of the whole process which we have pointed out to the Director General of CMZR Bank in half of the month March already.

As a follow up to the emergency state prolongation and a considerable interest shown by the business people CCC will continue to issue the certificate of the force majeure intervention with a 50% discount. You can rely on the discounted price up to the date of the emergency state termination. Thanks to this certificate employers can relieve themselves e.g. from the obligation to pay damages in cases when an unpredictable and insurmountable obstacle will be proven by a presented contract documentation. The certificate can be issued to an applicant who is registered in an evidence required by law (e.g. Czech company, branch of a foreign company) and who has the contractual relationship with a foreign entity. More information is to be found here (in Czech only).

The Government schedule of loosening up of the restrictions was, among others, pointed out as ill-conceived also by the Deník on April 17th, 2020.

April 15th, 2020

The outputs of the Government meeting:

  • On April 14th, 2020, the Government introduced a plan for loosening of the quarantine precautions. It consists of 5 phases (in Czech only). CCC appreciates that the Government came with a proposal on the gradual opening of shops, services and gastronomic facilities in the coming weeks, nonetheless, we perceive it as a rather conservative one. We suppose that the loosening rate could have been faster. We also regret that the Government did not discuss the plan in any way with those who will implement it. Therefore, the proposal has its flaws which we have pointed out today together with many of our incorporated associations. It is a mistake that the Government made its vision public as late as at the press conference by which it practically prevented an objective discussion that could have been used by the business people to highlight the many ambiguous and ill-conceived points which the Government proposal contains. Details are to be found here (in Czech only).

The outputs of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic meeting:

  • The Upper Chamber of the Parliament of the Czech Republic will, on its meeting tomorrow, discuss two Acts on rents to which the Czech Chamber of Commerce has its objections. In the first case, the tenants are enabled to postpone their rent payments for the tenancy or subtenancy of premises for their business activities. The Act, on one hand, relatively responsively relieves the business people as tenants, however, on the other hand, leaves the landlords without any compensation whatsoever on whose shoulders it completely transfers the consequences of emergency precautions taken due to the pandemic. In the second case, CCC points out that the Law draft does narrow the whole complex problematics into a simple contract termination on the basis of late rent payments. More information is to be found here (in Czech only).

We are pleased to state that to April 15th, 2020, we have already processed already more than 2,000 questions and suggestions in our free-of-charge helpdesk. We are glad that thanks to this activity the business people have access to the up-to-date information and one contact point where to direct their suggestions and questions. Seizing this opportunity we would like to thank our cooperating Law Offices (their list is available below) for their support and the company NEWPS.CZ which created the technological solution and is currently administering the whole helpdesk. We highly value this cooperation. Our helpdesk will be operating until the end of April at the very least.

As a follow up to the ever repeating questions of employers to the requests of support from the Antivirus program, we have prepared for you answers to the 12 most frequently asked questions (in Czech only).

CCC considers as alarming the results of the on-line survey that has been carried out during the past days by the agency SC&C. The survey on which participated 2,085 respondents in total implies that 10% of business people declares they have already stalled their business activities or are going to in the nearest future and further 18% states they have serious financial difficulties. The business people are in a worse situation than the average population when 3% of population is endangered by financial difficulties.

April 9th, 2020

The outputs of the Government meeting:

  • The Government on its meeting of April 9th, 2020, prolonged, following a previous approval of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the emergency state which would have expired on Saturday, April 11th, 2020, and that up to April 30th, 2020. At the same time, the Vice Prime Minister, Mr. Karel Havlíček, announced an intent to, starting from next week, proceed with the opening of other shops and services. We believe that the Government will discuss this process with the Czech Chamber of Commerce within the framework of our call we have sent on Monday.
  • The Government also decided to restore the activity of the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV) the member of which is also the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý. NERV will have 15 members coming from both academic and business sphere. The main tasks of NERV should be searching for possible problems in functioning of the economy or preparing recommendations concerning the strategic economic documents of the Government. The Council should also evaluate the precautions taken with regards to the coronavirus spread and propose measures related to the State budget proposal for the year of 2021. We perceive the participation of Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý in NERV as a respect of the Government towards the Czech Chamber of Commerce.

The outputs of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic meeting:

  • The Senate affirmed the Chamber of Deputies’ version of the Act on compensational bonus with regards to the crisis measures related to the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 occurrence. The self-employed affected by the coronavirus pandemic will, therefore, have the possibility to apply for 25,000 Czech crowns contribution compensating the problems in the period from March 12th, to April 30th, 2020. We presume that in case the emergency precautions would considerably exceed the horizon of April 30th, 2020, the Act of Law would have been amended and the compensational bonus pay-out would have continued. We believe that such a situation would have presented a possibility to introduce some compensation also, for example, for the associates of small limited companies which have usually only a minimum number of employees and the core of their business, often depending on the continuous takings, does not significantly differ from the business of the small tradesmen.
  • The Senate did, in the framework of the Act on some adjustments in the field of employment with regards to the emergency precautions taken during the 2020 epidemic and on the Amendment of the Act No. 435/2004 Coll. on employment, approve that companies requesting the reimbursement of wage compensations of their employees experiencing obstacles at work within the Antivirus program which has been launched this week by the Government will not have to, for the duration of the emergency precautions, document their debtlessness when it comes to tax and obligatory insurance premiums payments.
  • Other important Acts of Law approved by the Chamber of Deputies in the Wednesday evening will not be discussed by the Senate until after the Easter. We believe that the adjustment of wording of at least some of those will be achieved. That applies especially for the Act on some precautions taken to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 epidemic on the tenants of premises being used for business activities which Act, on one hand, relatively responsively relieves the business people as tenants, however, on the other hand, leaves the landlords without any compensation whatsoever on whose shoulders it completely transfers the pandemic’s impacts.

CCC would like to thank all of you who have answered our call and sent us an e-mail containing your experience with the COVID I, COVID II or Antivirus programs. To sum up: The business people have to face the inexact requirements given by the authorities, complicated forms and useless bureaucracy. For that reason we have on today’s press conference, together with the President of the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Mr. Václav Stárek, and the President of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, Mr. Tomáš Prouza, recommended the Government to take steps in solving this situation which definitely is not a proof of flexible aid that has been declared by the Government. At the same time, we have asked the Government for a bigger support of the business people following the example of Germany and Austria and for at least a preliminary plan for loosening of the trade, gastronomic and accommodation services. More information is to be found in the press release, the video from the press conference is to be found here (both in Czech only).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce did repeatedly appeal on the State, banks, insurance corporations, municipalities and private landlords and urged them to be lenient when it comes to late payments from companies impacted by the Government precautions taken with regards to the coronavirus. In total 69% of member companies answered to the survey question from the end of March which is newly published on our website that they so far did not meet with any responsiveness from the creditors’ side. The reason for such a result is probably the fact that the majority of companies as yet neither requested a postponement of instalments nor communicated with their creditors. CCC, therefore, continuously monitors the situation and believes that there will be more and more companies with positive experience every day.

We have published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce the press release and the Rescue Plan for Tourism on which, among others, the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism and the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants also participated. In this document, the authors together call on the Government to finally seriously start to deal with the real impacts of the proposals which have been presented with regards to the rescue of the tourism sector in the Czech Republic.

CCC has also published the announcement of the communication industry – an industry representing an annual turnover of 170 billion of Czech crowns. The announcement was, among others, supported by those incorporated associations of the Czech Chamber of Commerce: the Association of Communication Agencies, the Association of Direct Marketing, E-Commerce and Mail Order, the Audiovisual Producers’ Association, the Public Relations Association and the Confederation of the Outdoor Advertising Operators.

We have also published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce the so called “Hradubický” Easter Challenge initiated by the Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Pardubice Region and the Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Hradec Králové Region.

April 8th, 2020

As a follow-up on the project Save jobs! in which more than 400 business entities engaged within a week, the Czech Chamber of Commerce together with partners broadened its project activities by a project Make in Czechia. A project operating on the same principles whose aim is to connect the protective equipment producers with the demand entities, is rather popular. The Czech Chamber of Commerce already registers more than 50 offers from producers of various types of protective equipment (face masks, respirators, protective goggles, etc.). Registration for this project is free of charge and that for the whole duration of the emergency state. More is to be found here.

We have published on our website an evaluation of the survey question regarding the changes in work organization that many companies, currently, face. At least some employees of a third of companies (34%) work in a normal regime, in the manufacturing industry it is three fifths (60%) of respondents within the Czech Chamber of Commerce. In total, 60% of our employers declare that in the current situation all of their employees work in another way than in a normal company regime. The changes are, indeed, fundamental and it also come to a decrease of labour productivity.

On April 9th, 2020, a special press conference concerning the current situation of tradesmen and employers will take place. Together with Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the President of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, Mr. Tomáš Prouza, and the President of the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Mr. Václav Stárek, will also take part. You can watch the conference starting at 10:00 a.m. for example on the Facebook page of the Czech Chamber of Commerce.

You might have already noticed a billboard campaign “Before it is too late”. It encourages to rescuing business, jobs and to a restart of domestic economy. It is a way how companies from many fields want to support the activities of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and help, therefore, to increase the pressure on negotiations with the Government concerning the support of tradesmen and companies. The aim of this campaign is also to inform about our webpage in order to make the information and advice we publish on it available to as much of business people as possible. The initiator of this campaign, the BigBoard Group, provided 120 of its large format outdoor advertising across the Czech Republic free of charge and arranged for both their production and installation. The financial support for the overhead expenses related to printing and installation of the posters was already provided by 12 business people and companies. The Czech Chamber of Commerce thanks very much to the BigBoard Group same as all the supporters of our activities.

April 7th, 2020

The Government can prolong the emergency state up to Thursday, April 30th, 2020. The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic did, after a five and a half hour-long debate on April 7th, 2020, agreed upon this prolongation due to the current coronavirus crisis. As a reminder, we would like to inform you that the Cabinet originally asked the Deputies for an emergency state prolongation up to Monday, May 11th, 2020, since the Cabinet can on its own announce an emergency state for 30 days at most. In the current situation, it would have terminated on Saturday, April 11th, 2020. What does that, in fact, mean for the business people? The Government approved emergency precautions limiting the freedom of doing business, of movement for persons and in the field of transport are still in force.

We have welcomed the proposals presented in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic which could eliminate the obligation of VAT payments for invoices that have not yet been paid to the businessman, an obligation criticised by CCC for a long time. Both the proposal by the Chairman of the Deputies Club of the Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People’s Party (KDU-ČSL), Mr. Jan Bartošek, and the proposal by the Civic Democratic Party, the representatives of which proposed a similar measure at the Committee on Economic Affairs of the Lower House, are heading in the right direction. CCC considers the Committee’s Resolution, which calls on the Government to, as one of the economic measures helping the economic subjects in the times of epidemic, postpone the due dates of VAT payments for non-paid invoices to taxpayers for the period from March to June 2020 and that up to the end of the year of 2020, as a good basis for other concrete legislative proposals. More to be found here (in Czech only).

One of the key Government measures, of which we inform you on a regular basis, should have been and should be the COVID programs by CMZR Bank. The aim of those programs should be to facilitate the access of small and medium business people, whose economic activities are limited as a consequence of the coronavirus infection and related precautions, to financing of operations. Although CCC from the very beginning points out the administrative obstacles, inadequate conditions or low allocation of funds, those comments, unfortunately, have not been answered by CMZR Bank and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, we are prepared to continue to intensify our pressure towards the responsible parties. In order to be able to back our arguments by experience of the applicants, we have set up a new e-mail account zkusenosticovid@komora.cz for you to share, by sending an e-mail, your experience with submitting your applications for particular programs and your results. This e-mail account will serve as a source of suggestions for the following negotiations, however, it will not serve as a helpdesk.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce joined the call on the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic to adjust the opening hours of CzechPOINTs in order to make possible a quick set-up of data boxes for citizens, business people and non-profit organizations that still do not have their data box. Thanks to this, the citizens will be able to set-up data boxes while you wait and free of charge even during the emergency state. For that, it will be possible to use also the public administration contact places of the Czech Chamber of Commerce. Detail information regarding this call are available here (in Czech only).

On April 7th, 2020, we have published on our website an evaluation of the survey question “Do you have access to well-arranged information concerning the Government support of companies with regards to the coronavirus?” Two thirds (66%) of our membership has access to necessary information. Important is to make the news concerning the State support and other changes available mainly to those companies doing business in the most affected fields – in tourism, 64% of our membership is content with the knowledgeableness, while it is 65% in the restaurant services, therefore, the knowledgeableness is not above the average ascertained by the survey.

We have also published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce the DECLARATION OF NOT ONLY the fitness sector of the Czech Republic which was drawn up by the Czech Fitness Chamber. The suggestions from our incorporated associations are regularly passed on to both the Government representatives and the Crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

April 6th, 2020

The Czech Chamber of Commerce regularly, preceding the plenary meetings of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, sends the Deputies its recommendations concerning the voting on Law drafts which are to significantly regulate the business environment. In the state of legislative emergency, the Chamber of Deputies will on April 7th, 2020, discuss a range of Government proposals being put forward with regards to the pandemic’s impacts. This time, considering the criticism coming from our membership, we have commented on two proposals:

  • In case of the Law draft on compensational bonus, the Czech Chamber of Commerce will back every change which will not significantly increase the administrative proceedings necessary for applying for this bonus, however, will mean compensations accessible for a wider range of persons who are impacted by the precautions taken with regards to the epidemic.
  • When it comes to the Law draft regulating the issue of rents of premises being used for doing business, we have some essential objections. We understand the Government effort to help the business people who could, due to the current situation, get into financial difficulties, however, the means of this help will have relatively positive impact solely on those business people who found themselves in the position of tenants. The situation of landlords could be, in fact, only worsened by the current version of the Government proposal because it, without any compensation, simply transfers the consequences of this situation to their cash-flow. On the other hand, even the help intended for the business people-tenants is debatable: in reality, their problems are only postponed, while the debts are to eventually just increase by the possible interests and sanctions linked to the fact of late rent payment. The Czech Chamber of Commerce, therefore, holds a stance that this half-baked proposal should be modified by the Chamber of Deputies in such a way which would provide the landlords impacted by the loss of income from the rent payments the most with some kind of a State compensation. In case a compromise regarding the consolidation of compensations for the landlords is not found and an enactment of the Law draft in its original form is imminent, it would be better not to approve this change at all, to revise it and afterwards present the proposal once again to the Chamber of Deputies for discussions.

The Government on its meeting on April 6th, 2020, decided to reopen on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, the establishments that collect and buy out raw materials and that including the composting plants. On Thursday, the hobby markets, building supply stores, hardware stores and bikes repairs will be able to reopen as well. The broadening of the emergency precautions exceptions banning the retail sale with the aim to prevent the new type of coronavirus spread will, however, be accompanied by an across the board toughening of the hygienic requirements.

The Government also approved the legislative change proposal which will accommodate one of the worst affected business fields – tourism. The domestic travel agencies will be able to postpone the refunds for cancelled package holidays with departures from August 31st, 2020, cancelled due to the coronavirus. Instead of the refunds the agencies will issue vouchers for equal tours. The travel agencies would have to make the refunds only in such exceptional cases when the clients will not make use of the vouchers up to August 31st, 2021.

Together with the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism and the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants we presented to the Prime Minister a proposal for gradual opening of shops, services establishments and gastronomic facilities in the Czech Republic. At the same time, we declared our preparedness to join the preparations of the schedule of individual trade and services segments opening and, simultaneously, the set-up and implementation of strict hygienic and epidemiologic measures in such a way that would minimize the risks of infection transfer in the newly opened establishments.

Furthermore, we have asked the Government to formulate clear conditions that would apply for all the open shops and services and will not be chaotically changed or supplemented. At the same time, we have warned against taking measures that are not applicable in daily operations or only cause other problems, as are, for example, the measures calculating with an average number of persons per m2 of surface, temperature measurement of people entering shops, sequential letting people into shops, limiting sale times or closing shops in chosen days in a week, since all those measures only cause situations that are in contradiction to the effort of preventing gatherings and shortening the time spent in shops.

Our proposal contains three waves of gradual shop opening and services loosening. We are prepared to further discuss with the Government other specifications and proposed measures. The whole proposal is available here (in Czech only).

FILETHAT FOR ME (PODEJTO ZA MĚ) – or how to file electronic requests even without having a data box. The Czech Chamber of Commerce did, on April 6th, 2020, launch, in a cooperation with its technological partners, the initiative FILETHAT FOR ME (PODEJ TO ZA MĚ). This initiative will enable the tradesmen and business people to file and electronic request to the authorities or for example also banks. This concept makes the usual practice easier, therefore, the legal transaction is led on behalf of the applicant by the designee. There is a number of attorneys-at-law, accountants, tax advisers but also friends or family members who have their data boxes and know how to use it.

  • This initiative is a response to the situation when a range of new rights for tradesmen and business people emerges – of rights, however, granted upon a request. Unfortunately, a considerable part of tradesmen does not have a data box and have to come with those requests to the offices. That in the times when the offices are weakened personnel-wise, while there is also an effort to deal with all the issues electronically, therefore contactless. In order to prevent those repeated visits of offices, the frustration and disappointment, CCC created the FILETHAT FOR ME (PODEJTO ZA MĚ). More information is to be found here.

On April 6th, 2020, the Antivirus program was launched by the announced admission of employers requests for partial wage expenses reimbursement in the form of wage compensations for employees for the duration of the obstacles at work caused by quarantine, emergency precautions, crisis measures related to the COVID-19 infection spread. To request the State reimbursement, use the web application on the website www.uradprace.cz. The instructions on How, when and where to request a wage compensations reimbursement were complemented by an instructing video of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic which is to guide you through the whole process. The video is available here (in Czech only).

Currently, you can find on our website an evaluation of the survey question “How would you evaluate the financial situation of your company (with making use of your own reserves and loans)?” Presently, the complete picture of the companies’ financial situation is not catastrophic, however, it is dramatically evolving. In total, 8% of the business people forming the membership of the Czech Chamber of Commerce answered that they are already not able to pay their liabilities. In tourism sector there are 15% of such insolvent companies, while in restaurant services it is 12%. 29% of respondents is able to cope with the situation yet in March, therefore, there will be 37% of business people unable to pay their liabilities in April which will result in a domino effect of income deprivation for both bigger and smaller suppliers. In May, there will be 26% more business people unable to pay their liabilities, therefore, the total of 63% of companies will then be experiencing major financial difficulties.

On April 6th, 2020, CCC published on its website a statement by the Czech Association of Breweries and Malting Plants to the emergency state impact on pubs, restaurants and breweries. The Czech Chamber of Commerce also backs the initiative to support pubs and restaurants #SAVEPUB. The initiators of this call launched a website www.zachranhospodu.cz which serves as a platform for pubs, restaurants and their customers. Using this system, people will be able to buy a voucher that could afterwards be used in a pub or restaurant when the current precautions will be lifted and the pubs will reopen. Furthermore, we have published an open letter of the Association of Laundry and Drycleaners of the Czech Republic with a demand to add the laundry services to the critical infrastructure. The suggestions from our incorporated associations are regularly passed on to both the Government representatives and the Crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

Recently, we have informed you that the Czech Chamber of Commerce became a partner for the charity project Karlin Musical Theatre LIVE which helps mainly the seniors, those who are taking care of them and also all the other workers in the first line. Thanks to the companies’ involvement it was possible to distribute the medical equipment and material for example to the Saint Charles Borromeo Home and the Centre of Postacute Care, Motol University Hospital. The Saturday episode, the guest of which was the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý (starting from 9:50) is available here.

April 3rd, 2020

The Government decision to approve the proposal of changes in the Antivirus program is considered by the Czech Chamber of Commerce to be the most important one of the past week. The essence is a partial reimbursement of the total wage expenses in the form of wage compensations to the employees for the duration of the obstacles at work caused by quarantine, emergency precautions, crisis precautions relating to the COVID-19 infection spread. The aim is to protect the jobs.

The Antivirus program implemented by the Labour Office of the Czech Republic will start on Monday, April 6th, 2020. It is possible to submit the wage compensations requests via a web application on the website www.uradprace.cz.

  • Eligible for the wage compensations reimbursement are those employers who have either employees in quarantine or in isolation, or who had to close their establishments based on the Government precautions (on those by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, to be exact). Also the employers who had to reduce or close their operations on the grounds of demand decrease or a shortage of inputs in the form of raw materials can file a request. The wage compensations reimbursement will be provided based on the type of the obstacles at work and that either within the regime A in the amount of 80% of wage compensations, levies included, however, 39,000 Czech crowns per employee per month at maximum, or within the regime B in the amount of 60% of wage compensations, levies included, however, 29,000 Czech crowns per employee per month at maximum.
  • Useful information on How to file a request for a wage compensations reimbursement is summarized here. A complete manual by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic for the employers is to be found here. (both documents in Czech only).

CCC has prepared an analysis of the Government proposal to introduce a moratorium for rents paid by the business people (in Czech only). We understand the Government step to enable a due date postponement of 3 monthly invoices and that for the duration of up to 24 months. On the other hand, the landlords have their liabilities towards banks, services providers and the State itself. Therefore, the Czech Chamber of Commerce did, on April 3rd, 2020, join the call of the business organisations to the Government to adjust its decision.

We would like to thank all the employers who started to make use of the new platform Save Jobs! which enables to temporarily “lend” employees to other employers. After the first two days already 250 companies offers more than 3,200 qualified employees who could not have to go to the Labour Office. 400 people are currently being demanded. Most often those are production operators, workers in construction, transport, metal-workers and engineering labourers. Get involved too, the dispatching is operating on the number +420 800 222 121, more information is to be found here.

On April 3rd, 2020, CCC put on its website the request of the Confederation of Chemical Industry of the Czech Republic for the Targeted Program of Employment Support Antivirus broadening and the statement of the trade fairs and events industry the author of which is, among others, the Fellowship of Organisers of Trade Fairs and Exhibitions of the Czech Republic (both documents in Czech only). Both suggestions are being dealt with within the Crisis Crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

As a reminder, we would like to inform you there are to be found on our website the model examples of the most frequent requests that are being submitted by the business people to their Tax Offices for download. The model examples were prepared by tax advisers and lawyers of the crisis team of the KODAP consultancy group. Newly, you can also download the Request for payment by instalments of a debt towards the District (or other) Social Security Administration and that both for the self-employed and employers.

April 2nd, 2020

The compensational bonus proposed by the Government, the author of which is the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, in the amount of 25.000 Czech crowns for the self-employed is a step in the right direction. Not only the employers but also the employees should be considered by the State in this difficult situation. Nonetheless, the form of the bonus proposed by the Government has, according to CCC, flaws that in effect prevent many of the small business people whose trade was severely damaged with regards to the pandemic from drawing this State allowance. Within the subsequent legislative procedure, we will push forward a change of the bonus parameters that would make a more just access of a bigger group of self-employed possible, the more so, considering the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic herself admitted that changes of this proposal are necessary.

CCC prepared for you a summary of the conditions and other important information resulting from the originally presented Law draft on compensational bonus for the self-employed with regards to the crisis precautions.

On April 2nd, 2020, CCC has prepared for you a legal analysis of the proposal by the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Mr. Karel Havlíček, regarding the moratorium of rents paid by the business people (in Czech only). This topic has, from the viewpoint of business people, two levels – the proposed regulation from the viewpoint of the tenant and of the landlord. According to the Czech Chamber of Commerce, it is important to secure a State compensation for the landlords in the form of guarantees or credits provision which would prevent a possible damage caused by the rent income deprivation. The rent income is, in fact, in many cases a key source for instalments or other services payments. The landlord should not be de facto covertly giving credits to his/her tenants without a State support. It is not out of the question that this proposal will be changed in the subsequent legislative procedure.

In the morning of April 2nd, 2020, the announced applications admission for a guarantee within the COVID II program of CMZR Bank was launched. It has, however, been, due to a big interest shown by the business community, stalled after only three hours. Our objection that the allocation of funds is too low was, therefore, proven right. Thanks to the increase of 3.5 billion Czech crowns in the funds allocation, the program has since been reopened. What currently holds is that the applications admission deadline was prolonged to 11:59 p.m. of April 3rd, 2020.

As CCC has already informed you, the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP) did offer an immediate aid to Czech exporters. It lowered the fees, shortened the waiting time and it deals with the requests of exporters finding new customers preferentially. On April 1st, 2020, the Government also approved a change of the Act on State supported export insurance and financing. In case this amendment is approved by the Parliament of the Czech Republic, EGAP will newly be providing guarantees for credits of commercial banks applied for by companies of more than 250 employees due to the coronavirus. EGAP will guarantee the credits ranging from 5 million to 1.4 billion Czech crowns. More to be found here (in Czech only).

In the afternoon of April 2nd, 2020, CCC sent a snap survey to the employers in the Qualified Employee Program (formerly Ukraine Regime and Other Countries Regime) regarding the coronavirus impacts on employing the foreign workers coming from the third countries. We will make use of the reactions in our further course of action, in offering new services and in communication with the State bodies with the aim to make the current burdensome situation easier for you. This survey will be opened for the next 3 days (up to Sunday, April 5th).

Based on the suggestions CCC has received from its incorporated associations up to April 1st, 2020, we have prepared a summarizing table in which we gather these suggestions and also monitor the state of their fulfilment (in Czech only). The table will be continuously updated.

April 1st, 2020

The Government, during its meeting of April 1st, 2020, approved a range of important proposals for business people which, however, have yet to be discussed and approved by the Parliament of the Czech Republic:

  • Essential for all is the prolongation of the emergency state and that up to May 11th, 2020.
  • Important for business people as clients of banks is the possibility to request a moratorium for bank credits instalments (both the principal and interests) for 3 to 6 months on the grounds of the pandemic. The repayment period will, therefore, be prolonged for the duration of the repayment interruption, whereas, the amount of the credit in question taken out and drawn before March 26th, 2020, is not limited. More information is available here (in Czech only).
  • Important for business people as creditors is the similar moratorium for the repayment of consumer credits.
  • Significant for business people as both tenants and landlords is the moratorium for the rent payments of the 3 months duration (up to June 30th, 2020), while the postponed rent has to be paid within a 2 years period. The business people providing rental housing will not be able, for a limited time, to terminate the lease – only in case the tenant is late with his/her rent payments.
  • The Government also allowed yet another exclusion from the ban on retail sale and sale of services in establishments. Starting from April 2nd, the household-goods shops could be open in case their assortment includes protective equipment.

In the context of the legislative package of the Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic, Ms. Marie Benešová, approved yesterday, CCC prepared a basic analysis of the proposed changes impacting the business environment the most (in Czech only).

Based on the Government meetings, we continuously update the table containing the measures of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and their fulfilment. This table is available below on this very webpage.

As a reminder, on April 1st, 2020, the applications admission for the care-giver’s allowance for the self-employed has started. Every self-employed who, based on the emergency precautions taken by the Government of the Czech Republic against the COVID-19 infection spread, cannot do their business activity on the grounds of taking care of their children or handicapped person(s) are eligible for this allowance. More information regarding the conditions and process of filing a respective request are gathered for you here (in Czech only).

In the context of the announced start of the applications admission (April 2nd, 2020, at 8:00 a.m.) for guarantees in the framework of the COVID II program of the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank, CCC informs you of the launch of the on-line instrument facilitating the applications filing. This on-line instrument has been developed by the Law Firm Frank Bold together with the IT company Legal Systems. It will be available within the on-line legal support of Frank Bold which provides a pandemic COVID-19 related consultancy free of charge. An on-line form guides an applicant for a guarantee through the COVID II program and prepares for him/her all the necessary forms for a successful application filing. The applicant, however, will afterwards have to fill in some additional information on his/her own same as he/she will have to arrange for the actual application filing.

On March 31st, 2020, CCC published yet another set of results of our last survey among the business people – this time concerning the coronavirus impacts on the HR policies (in Czech only). Employees have, due to the Government precautions taken with regards to the coronavirus, already been laid off by as much as 7% of the Czech Chamber of Commerce members and that primarily in the restaurants and tourism services. It is alarming that more than a quarter of the employers from the membership is considering laying off their employees while in the manufacturing industry it is more than 1 out of 3 member companies. The total of 29% of respondents, mainly big companies and the companies in the manufacturing industry, showed their interest in the service in which framework they could temporarily provide mainly their free labour capacities to another company or vice versa, if needed, they could get those capacities temporarily.

In this context CCC promptly reacted by the Save jobs! project implementation. We are pleased with the feedback and interest shown by companies. It did not take even a whole day after this project launch to have more than 50 companies registered that are offering to share their labour capacities in total of almost 1.700 workers to be assigned to another employer. The most offered jobs are in the field of production or warehousing and products manufacturing. On the other hand, CCC registered, together with the project partners – Jurent CZ and MONTO, s.r.o., almost 40 companies that would welcome additions to their labour capacity when it comes to, in most cases, technical and craftsman jobs in building production, welders and warehousemen in total of almost 200 workers.

March 31st, 2020

Outputs of the Government meeting on March 30th, 2020, impacting the business community:

  • The Government answered our demand for an across the board postponement of the road tax advance payments. In practice, this means all the business people will be allowed to pay the advances with a due date in July up to October 15th, 2020. When it comes to those postponed advances, all the default and deferment interests will be remitted.
  • The Government wants to enable the postponement of rents for the business people whose business activities were thwarted by its decree against the COVID-19 spread. A legal norm is to enable that rent postponement of the duration of up to 6 months. The rent could afterwards be distributed within 24 months. The preparation of this Act was assigned to the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Mr. Karel Havlíček, together with the Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic, Ms. Marie Benešová.
  • The Minister of Transport of the Czech Republic, Mr. Karel Havlíček, also informed of the intent to postpone the toll collection for lorries on motorways and class I roads. Currently, this postponement could be of 3 months duration. The technical details, however, are not yet known – CCC will ascertain those for you.

Outputs of the Government meeting on March 31st, 2020, impacting the business community:

  • The Government approved the Law draft which is to, via a one-time compensational bonus, mitigate the impacts of events related to the coronavirus on the self-employed whose business activities were reduced as a consequence of those events. The compensational bonus will be of the amount of 25.000 Czech crowns for the period from March 12th to April 30th, 2020. More information is to be found here (in Czech only).
  • The Government changed the Targeted Program of Employment Support “Antivirus” adjusting the State reimbursement to employers paying the wage compensations to the employees experiencing obstacles at work with regards to the coronavirus while it also specified the principles of administration of this contribution which will be disbursed by the Labour Office. The program is divided into 2 regimes. One of those regimes concerns the obstacles which arise from the medical or Government authority decision and are, therefore, beyond the employer’s own control, the second regime then relates to the situations arising from the employer’s own decision. A contribution of 80% of the employers’ expenses linked to the wage compensations, 39.000 Czech crowns at maximum, will be paid in the framework of the first regime while in the framework of the second one the contribution is to be of 60% of the super-brutto wage. Simultaneously, the Government announced that in the coming days it will introduce yet a third special regime of compensations for the continuous operations.

The particular parameters for the business people support which were after the meeting of March 31st, 2020, introduced by the Government do in many aspects reflect the demands of the business people and the Czech Chamber of Commerce. The companies will thus, among other, have, at last, at their disposal the final wording of the Antivirus program which the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs rearranged to two main regimes. We are pleased that after 14 days of business people impatient waiting for details regarding the kurzarbeit, the Government finally issued a clear statement and, therefore, the companies can at least prepare general financial plans for the following weeks and months. More is available in the comment of the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý here (in Czech only).

In reaction to the methodology of the Antivirus program approved on March 31st, 2020, CCC quickly prepared a summary of practical information “Antivirus – employment support: How and where to apply, who will be eligible for the support” here (currently in Czech only).

  • The Government approved a package of amendments in the scope of the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic authority. The proposal contains a moratorium starting from August 31st, 2020, for the submissions of the insolvency motions for the companies experiencing difficulties in consequence of the epidemic. Not even the business people experiencing temporary difficulties would have to submit an insolvency motion for themselves. The procedures of reorganisation will be relaxed. The missed deadlines within the judicial proceedings will be pardoned. The remote decisions of companies’ statutory bodies using Internet or other technical equipment will be possible even in the cases that are not currently adjusted in the effective statutes.
  • We will keep monitoring the particular Government steps and will inform you of the possibilities of making use of them.

We would like to remind you of the starting date of the applications admission for the COVID II program by CMZR Bank which was set for April 2nd, 2020. Considering the low allocation of funds and the expected big demand, we recommend you to carefully read all the particulars in advance to be able to afterwards quickly submit your application. In this context, we have prepared a summarizing information which is to help you in this situation (currently in Czech only).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce actively offers employers’ cooperation in the framework of the state-wide project Save jobs! The aim of this project is to lower the risk of laying off employees as much as possible. Therefore, CCC offers a possibility to share labour capacities according to the §43a of the Labour Code by an assignment of the employees to another employer. First employers’ demands and offers will start to be received by the dispatchers on March 31st, 2020, on a line +420 800 222 121 free of charge. Detail information regarding this project of the Czech Chamber of Commerce are available on a dedicated webpage or in this press release (in Czech only).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce also comes with a new activity helping the business community in the times we all face a completely unusual situation which already has and in the future yet will have a big impact on the economy of the Czech Republic and of our trade partners. Apart from the crucial State support it is also necessary to keep a transparent business environment that will lower the danger of a secondary insolvency. In this context, the Czech Chamber of Commerce does in cooperation with the company CRIF – Czech Credit Bureau offer an application called Cribis which makes it possible to monitor the economic situation of all your customers and other business partners, free of charge for the duration of 2 months. This customer portfolio monitoring is focused on both legal and natural persons – business people registered on the territory of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. More information is to be found here (in Czech only).

On March 31st, 2020, we have published on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce a press release of the Automotive Industry Association in which you can find a comment on the Antivirus program launch (in Czech only).

As a reminder, we would like to inform you that the Deník is still processing the stories of the tradesmen who were affected by the current crisis. It also works together with the Czech Chamber of Commerce on answering your questions – more is to be read here (in Czech only).

In cooperation with the company Wolters Kluwer CCC did, in the framework of the Exemplary Law service, make available the chosen model examples of contracts and of other legal documents. All of this exclusively and free of charge for the members of the Czech Chamber of Commerce. More information is to be found in this letter (in Czech only). This service is, starting from March 31st, 2020, available via the Law Electronic System pespropodnikatele.cz or directly on the webpage www.vzornepravo.cz/hkcr.

March 30th, 2020

In the morning of March 30th, 2020, the briefing of the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, concerning the Government measures taken with regards to the tradesmen and employers and as to the possible wave of layoffs took place. On this occasion Mr. President appreciated the support which was promised by the Government to the employers and tradesmen in connection with the precautions taken against the coronavirus spread. At the same time, however, Mr. Dlouhý reproached the Government for the lack of concrete information as to how and when will the tradesmen and business people become eligible for this support. During the briefing the President also presented the results of our snap survey which was answered by almost 1,400 respondents. With regards to the case of lost profits compensation, Mr. Dlouhý made a remark that the business people are not exactly calling for a compensation of lost profits (therefore, of all takings) per se but rather for payment of damages caused by the Government precautions. What it comes to is that the Government which made the business people unable to perform their business activities should pay the damages which are being caused by the necessity of paying the fixed costs. Apart from the wages and the payments to the State, there are also the rents for establishments currently closed, the credits or payments to the suppliers. Mr. President illustrated the amount of companies’ losses on the examples of two employers – one with two and the other with forty employees. These animations are to be found here.

At the press conference with Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý Mr. Marek Hlavica, the Director of the Association of Communication Agencies, also made a speech. He called on the Government representatives to simplify their announcements by using simple and easy to understand language. For that matter it is possible to make use of the experienced experts who, due to the current circumstances, lost their work orders.

The video recording of the whole briefing is to be found here (in Czech only).

At the end of the week the Czech Chamber of Commerce expressed 3 crucial comments on the Antivirus program:

  1. CCC wants to increase the ceiling of the maximum support for one employee. We propose to increase the limit to 36,000 Czech crowns per month, therefore, to the level of the republic-wide average wage or to derive the ceiling from the concrete average wage in an enterprise.
  2. CCC does not want the employers to pay the social and healthcare insurance premiums from the wage compensations. If it would be paid, it, in fact, would lower the share of the State contribution on the total wage expenses of companies as for every one hundred crown received the employer would have to pay 34 Czech crowns back to the State.
  3. CCC requests such a broadening of the kurzarbeit to encompass also the continuous operations, as for example the steelworks or glassworks. The Antivirus program, in fact, does not take account of the problems in those companies that have to keep the costly continuous operations even in such cases when a significant portion of their employees is in quarantine or at home taking care of their children.

Considering that the Government decisions, the ones so impatiently awaited by the business community, were postponed again, we cannot inform you now of the concrete conditions of the compensational program Antivirus or of the support for the self-employed.

Following the Friday announcement, CCC informs that the parameters of the COVID II program were finally published today on the website of CMZR Bank. CMZR Bank will, for tradesmen, therefore the self-employed included, and the small and medium size enterprises alike, guarantee the credits provided by commercial banks and will also contribute up to 1 million Czech crowns to interests payment. The program is financed by the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovations for Competitiveness (OP EIC) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. Commercial banks are prepared for the COVID II program. The applications admission for this program is to start on April 2nd, 2020.

Unfortunately, this program suffers from a few imperfections:

  • It is, again, administratively-demanding.
  • The same conditions as in the case of the COVID I program repeat – such conditions that can complicate the engagement of many companies in this program, as for example the condition of debtlessness.
  • A major issue is, without a doubt, also the fact that the program, according to EU regulations, does not apply to the business activities in Prague. Considering that, it is quite startling that there was no separate program for the business people based in Prague financed from the national funds launched together with the COVID II program.

Below on this webpage you can find a table summarizing the Government measures towards both natural and legal persons. Its value added is the part containing practical information of the measures implications towards the particular groups of business people. Thanks to this table you can better orientate in the adopted measures and at the same time remind yourself of the application processes for those supporting measures. The basic summary of the measures was obtained from the website BusinessInfo.cz.

In cooperation with the company Wolters Kluwer CCC did, in the framework of the Exemplary Law service, make available the chosen model examples of contracts and of other legal documents. All of this exclusively and free of charge for the members of the Czech Chamber of Commerce. More information is to be found in this letter (in Czech only). This service is, starting from March 31st, 2020, available via the Law Electronic System pespropodnikatele.cz or directly on the webpage www.vzornepravo.cz/hkcr.

On the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce we have published more information from our incorporated associations with regards to the coronavirus. Today we have published for example the press release of the Czech Furniture Association and the survey results conducted among the members of the Association of Laundry and Drycleaners of the Czech Republic (both in Czech only).

Similarly as we continuously publish the information coming from our trade associations here, we will also gather all the relevant information from our regional and district chambers here.

Following the last week announcement by which we have informed you of our new cooperation with a partner securing protective equipment for the needs of the private sector (more information is available here, in Czech only), we remind you that the deadline for the first protective equipment order is set on April 1st, 2020, and will be afterwards delivered within 5 working days. You can inform us of your demand for the protective equipment via the contact form here.

March 27th, 2020

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, perceives as positive some of this week’s steps taken by the Government to support the business people and tradesmen. Among those there are for example the remission of half of the social and healthcare insurance premiums payments for the self-employed, across the board cancellation of the June income tax advance payment for all business people and also the further specification of the Targeted Program of Employment Support “Antivirus”. So far, however, he is  rather disappointed by the insufficient flexibility and action readiness of the State when it comes to the implementation of many of those energetically announced measures in practice. It is quite useless to supply us daily with information regarding the preparation of ever new aid programs while those that are already formally launched still do not function in practice. We are, thus, told of the joint CMZR Bank and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic preparations of the new program COVID III while we are not able to get even the basic information concerning the administration process of the already announced program COVID II. Therefore, CCC repeatedly calls on the Government to activate the financial flows towards the affected companies and self-employed and that as quickly as possible. If such a step is not taken, it is probable that many of the business people – mainly those amongst the small and medium size enterprises and also tradesmen – will not get the so needed financial aid in time. Although CCC made a considerable effort to obtain more detailed information from CMZR Bank regarding the COVID II program, all we can provide you with is only general information published on the bank’s website (currently in Czech only).

On March 27th, 2020, we have updated the table The measures of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and their fulfilment. Its current form is to be found below on this webpage. We have also updated the 20 demands of the Czech Chamber of Commerce for business people directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus which is also available below on this webpage.

On the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce we have published more information from our incorporated associations with regards to the coronavirus. On March 27th, 2020, we thus made the following public: the appeal to the Government and the Self-Government of the Czech Republic by Mr. Radek Roušar, the President of the Czech Eletrotechnical Confederation, and the results of the survey by the Association of Direct Marketing, E-Commerce and Mail Order. All the information coming from our incorporated trade associations and the expert sections of the Czech Chamber of Commerce is available at the bottom of this webpage.

On Monday, March 30th, 2020, a briefing of the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce concerning the Government measures taken with regards to the tradesmen and employers and as to the possible wave of layoffs will take place. You can watch this briefing for example on the Facebook page of the Czech Chamber of Commerce.

In the context of the forced Government precautions the Czech Chamber of Commerce reacts to the companies’ demands and adjusts the form of attendance of its educational courses and seminars to the on-line form of webinars. The registration for the first one of those called The Efficiency of and the Instruments for Home Office will open on March 27th, 2020. Other webinars will be one by one listed here (working language of those events is to be Czech).

March 26th, 2020

On March 26th, 2020, the Czech Chamber of Commerce harshly objected to the Government attempt to complicate the legitimate business people claims for damages. We have thus reacted to the Government decision to prolong the closure of chosen shops and establishments up to April 1st, 2020, and that not according to the Government decree within the framework of the crisis law but according to the Act on public health protection. We can interpret such a step in a way that the State is trying to minimalize the claims for damages which we understand. However, in such a case, we warn of a logical interest of the business people to claim for damages and minimalize their losses. According to our interpretation, the business people have the right for damages both in the case when the Government acts according to the crisis law and in the case it acts according to the Act on public health protection. The State responsibility for the damage caused remains.

Outputs of the Government meeting on March 26th, 2020:

  • The Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic did, based on the Government meeting, release an emergency precaution by which the ban on retail sale and sale of services in establishments excluding chosen shops is prolonged. The locksmithing, maintenance services of products and appliances for households, car wash and also the activities linked to burying were newly added among the exceptions. The sale ban also does not apply to accommodation services provision and that to the performance of work and to the foreigners with a work permit or up to their leaving the territory of the Czech Republic. The softened ban thus enables, among others, a partial opening of the hotels and boarding houses. To make use of their accommodation services will be possible for example with regards to doing business or work performance and that including the foreigners with a work permit for the territory of the Czech Republic.
  • The Government did also take into account the announcement of the support program of the small enterprises affected by the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 disease called Care-Giver’s Allowance for Self-Employed. By the announcement of this grant program the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic puts into practice its intent to support the tradesmen who had to, due to the emergency precaution of the Government by which the schools were closed, stop performing their trade and start taking care of their children. The Government approved an allowance of 424 Czech crowns per day to be paid to those business people.
  • The tradesmen whose businesses were damaged by the Government decree will be given 15.000 Czech crowns per month by the State for the duration of the current restrictions. The Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Ms. Alena Schillerová, will prepare a law draft which will be approved by the Government on Monday.

On March 26th, 2020, we have updated the list of demands of the Czech Chamber of Commerce for the business people affected directly or indirectly by the coronavirus. This list now comprises 21 demands. Amongst the new ones there is the introduction of the so called cash principle of paying the value added tax which reckons only with the VAT payments resulting from the paid invoices and also the across the board postponement of road tax advance payments.

On March 26th, 2020, CCC has sent to the whole membership a survey concerning the last course of events in your company with regards to the coronavirus. The Czech Chamber of Commerce will make use of the reactions when taking its following steps and that mainly in the communication with the State bodies with the aim to relieve the business people in the current burdensome situation. In order to be of help in this situation we have to know what the current situation is and what the next plans of our members are. The survey will be open only for the few coming days.

The Chamber of Commerce of Olomouc District registers requests, suggestions and topics from business people and companies from the region. All of those are summarized in this document (in Czech only). “Let’s not let the coronavirus long-lastingly damage the long-established Czech economy, the traditional industry and consequently also the development of the region, the Czech Republic and the living conditions of our co-citizens. Many companies are already on the edge of their bare existence. This, however, is not a result of their unpreparedness or instability but rather of purely objective factors and directly of the precautions taken with regards to the emergency state,” says Mr. Radim Kašpar, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Olomouc District.

The Karlin Musical Theatre is trying to creatively deal with the current situation, therefore, it created, together with partners among whom there is the Czech Chamber of Commerce or COT media, a charity project Karlin Musical Theatre LIVE which is to help mainly the seniors. Its main idea is simple: When the people cannot come to the theatre, the theatre can come to them and that by the means of the modern technologies. This Friday, March 27th, 2020, already, there will be the first live broadcast starting at 8 p.m. The streaming will continue on a regular basis every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. You can watch those broadcasts here. The project’s proceeds will be primarily used for the purchase of medical equipment and material for seniors. The project is already creating a platform for a broader help which can be joined primarily by business people. At this time, many companies of great importance are participating on this project and others are planning to do so. Join this charity project and help the ones in need. Contact and more information is available here (currently in Czech only).

March 25th, 2020

Outputs of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic meeting on March 25th, 2020

During a nonscheduled meeting on March 25th, 2020, the Senators approved and supported all the Government proposals concerning the coronavirus situation as submitted by the Deputies.

For business people, mainly the following new legislation is important:

Law draft on some adjustments in the field of electronic evidence of takings with regards to the announced emergency state

  • There will be a postponement of the last wave of EET for the duration of 3 months starting on the date of the emergency state termination, therefore, on July 1st, 2020, the earliest.

Law draft on some adjustments concerning the social security with regards to the emergency precautions taken during the 2020 epidemic

  • The State will pay the care-giver’s allowance for the whole duration of the schools closure caused by the coronavirus crisis and that to the parents of children up to 13 years of age who stayed with their offspring at home. The parent will be given 60% of the reduced basis of assessment and that even retrospectivally. This allowance will also be given to the self-employed.

Law draft on some adjustments in the field of social security insurance premiums and the financial contribution for the State employment policy and pension insurance with regards to the emergency precautions taken during the 2020 epidemic

  • The social insurance premiums advances are remitted for the duration of 6 months and, in practice, the insurance premiums to be paid for this year by the self-employed are reduced by half.

Law draft by which the Act No. 592/1992 Coll. on insurance premiums for the public healthcare insurance as amended is changed

  • The healthcare insurance premiums advances are remitted for the duration of 6 months and, in practice, the insurance premiums to be paid for this year by the self-employed are reduced by half. The deadline for the income and expenses report submission to the Insurance Corporations is postponed.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce assumes that all the discussed law drafts will be promptly signed by the president of the Czech Republic and therefore this new legislation will soon come into force. More information to the particular draft laws is to be found on the website of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic here (currently in Czech only).

The Ammendment of the Act on State budget for the year of 2020 was already signed by the President of the Czech Republic, Mr. Miloš Zeman, today. In this case, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic does not, according to the set legislative procedure, deal with such an ammendment.

The approved deficit of the State budget for this year is to increase from the original 40 billion to 200 billion Czech crowns which will, among others, make space for the compensational expenses programs and tax and insurance premiums relieves.

Based on the outcomes of today’s meeting of the Board of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, we update our already published 19 demands by another topic discussed in these last days throughout our membership:

  • Paying only the VAT resulting from the paid invoices. The Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic should make use of the leeway given by the European directives and quickly prepare an ammendment to the Act on VAT which would temporarily introduce, at least for some payments, the so called cash principle of paying taxes. Considering the out of the ordinary problems with cash flow on the side of customers, many companies, especially the small ones, are getting in trouble when a tax resulting from the goods or services provided is to be paid in cases when those were not paid by the customer in the first place.

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, asked the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic to adjust the Government approved program of State compensations to employers, the so called Targeted Program of Employment Support Antivirus, to better suit the employers. For you, employers, the methodology of requesting the State support will be crucial. CCC, therefore, proposed to MoLSA this evening several changes of this methodology we introduced in order to reach fair program parameters. As an example we present the following two:

  • According to our analysis of the financial contribution calculated for 1 employee, the ceiling amount would be too low. Although the State is prepared to contribute to wage compensations paid by 50 or 80%, the compensated monthly wage is to be limited by the median value, therefore, by the sum of 31.000 Czech crowns. And that is a problem. The companies paying higher wages – and those do not necesarilly have to be above-average ones – would have been given relativelly less State contributions.
  • Second example. The employers would pay the healthcare and social insurance premiums from these wage compensations “for themselves”. This, in fact, lowers the share of the State contribution on the total wage expenses of companies. Why is that? The answer is that for every one hundred crown received the employer would have to pay 34 Czech crowns back to the State. CCC therefore requested the State to temporarily cancel the monthly insurance premiums payments, to provisionally lower them significantly or at least to postpone them for 6 months and enable their successive payment by instalments in the coming years.

CCC belives that MoLSA will accommodate those proposed changes. As soon as the methodology is prepared, we will inform you how to apply for this support.

For all of you who consider, with regards to the current situation, a trade licence interruption, we have gathered all the necessary information for such a step on the website dedicated to the Law Electronic System – more to be found here (currently in Czech only).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce represented by Mr. Zdeněk Zajíček, the President of the Information Technology and Telecommunication Association, is currently, together with the Czech Banking Association and the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, finding a way to remotely set up a data box using a bank identity which the business people already use when entering into their Internet banking. In case we find a technical and law solution, we would be able to launch it in up to 14 days. Our joint expert teams are day by day intensively working on such a solution, therefore, in few hours or days at most we would know if it is feasible. If it is, no businessman would have to go to any branch office of the Czech post or any other authority and would be able to set up his or hers data box from home.

Today we have established a cooperation with the company Wolters Kluwer, one of the leading expert publishing houses in the Czech Republic, regarding a catalogue of contracts model examples. This unique document will soon be made available to all the members of the Czech Chamber of Commerce completely free of charge. We believe that we will inform you of launching of this offer tomorrow already.

As a reminder, the Deník is gathering the stories of you, tradesmen, who were hardly impacted by the Government precautions. The editors of the Deník together with the Czech Chamber of Commerce work on answering the questions posed by the readers. How the tradesmen evaluate the Government steps? Read here (in Czech only). The Deník also warns today that the Labour Offices are filled with the dissmissed employees (more here, in Czech only).

As a follow-up to our Monday communication with regards to the initiative of Mr. Zdeněk Pohlreich which lies in the meal delivery free of charge for the members of the integrated rescue system, we would like to sincerely thank you for your contributions you have sent in spite of these economically difficult times. Also thanks to you over 1.2 million Czech crowns have been collected so far. For all the potential contributors, you can transfer your contributions to the following transparent account: KB 6770217/0100.

March 24th, 2020

The Government submitted for dicsussion in the Chamber of Deputies several law drafts in the regime of legislative emergency that were approved at yesterday’s Government meeting. Important are the changes of the Act on public healthcare insurance premiums and the Act on social security premiums and financial contribution for the State employment policy:

  • Although the text formulations in the ammendment proposals of both those Acts are different, in both cases it means an actual remission of half of the insurance premiums for the self-employed for this year. Small business people will not have to, for 6 months from March to August 2020, pay the insurance premiums advances at all and that without the need of submitting any individual requests. As we have informed you yesterday already, it will not mean only a postponement of the payments. When the self-employed calculate their basis of assessment and the insurance for the whole year of 2020, they will have the possibility to figure in not only the advances actually paid but also the sum in the amount of six minimal advances equal to those that should have, under the normal circumstances, been paid in the period from March to August. That will, for those self-employed who pay just their minimal insurance premiums, mean a half of their annual obligation.
  • The second change also concerns the self-employed. When it comes to the healthcare insurance premiums, it is proposed to synchronize the deadline for the income and expenses report submission for the Insurance Corporations with the postponed deadline for submission of the income tax return. Regardless the particular day of the tax return submission, the self-employed can without any sanction submit the report up to August 3rd, 2020 and only afterwards to pay the possible balance premiums.
  • The Government proposals, therefore, do not deal with the relieves on the insurance premiums paid by the employers. Thus, it still applies that not only the insurance premiums payments cannot, according to the law, be remitted but neither the monthly payments of healthcare insurance premiums can be postponed nor the postponement (payment by instalments) of the social insurance premiums payments can be granted without an individual request to the respective Social Security Administration.
  • Those law ammendments will, however, be discussed in the Parliament and therefore, the Government proposals might yet be adjusted. The Czech Chamber of Commerce would welcome not only the synchronization of income and expenses report submission to the Czech Social Security Administration deadline with the one for the submission of the income tax return for the healthcare insurance corporations but also some kind of a relief for the employers as insurance premiums payers and that possibly directly linked to the Targeted Program of Employment Support approved by the Government.

The Government passed a program of State compensations to employers, so called Targeted Program of Employment Support. It aims at such employers who pay wage compensations to their employees experiencing obstacles at work. The extent of the support is to differ according to the particular types of obstacles and it is to be paid, based on an agreement with the employer, by the Labour Office. CCC believes that the list of situations (the specification of obstacles at work) when a compensation will be provided is yet to be completed by the Government in order to really cover the difficulties with which the companies are dealing. We would also welcome an increase of the absolute ceiling of the compensation allotted to one employee from the republic median (this limitation by the statistical value of the median wage was not discussed during the Program preparation neither with the Czech Chamber of Commerce nor with the partners forming the tripartity) to a higher value, for example 1.5 fold the average wage. The framework of such an agreement including the methodical procedure for the compensations payments is still not known. That is important, since we as yet do not have a clear information with regards to the fate of e.g. the insurance premiums paid by the employers due to the obstacles at work which fundamentally affects the actual amount of the State compensation – what percentage of the total wage expenses of the employer is to be covered by the State.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce considers it reasonable for the Government to adopt and submit for discussion in the Parliament the proposal of an ammendment to the crisis law (Act No. 240/2000 Coll.) by the Civic Democratic Party. The purposefulness of such an ammendment is perceived mainly in the straightening of the circumstances for the crisis law application by the Government when it comes to the possibility of state compensations provision to the companies in such situations as in today’s coronavirus epidemic.

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, appreciates that towns and municipalities did answer his request to lower or postpone the rent payments for companies, alternatively to refrain from contracts termination on the basis of unpaid rent. Following the Municipality of the City of Prague, the tenants of commercial premises in Prague 12 will also pay only half their rent. Similarly the bigger South-Bohemian towns are also considering the remission or postponement of rents. Thanks are due for the Chambers in the Regions of the Czech Republic which are helping the business people in such negotiations.

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce also welcomes the Government Resolution from March 23rd, 2020, no. 275 (in Czech only). This Resolution coming to force on March 24th, 2020, 00:00 a.m. sets down that there is no fee due for the data box information system provider for the duration of the emergency state according to the §18a article 3 of the Act No. 300/2008 Coll. on electronic operations and authorized conversion of documents as amended. Thanks to this measure, all the data box users can send their data post messages to each other free of charge and do not have to take their mail, which would have to be otherwise sent by the means of a regular or a registered letter, to one of the Czech post branch offices.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce succeeded in establishing a cooperation with its partner in securing protective equipment for the needs of the private sector. It is possible to, within the framework of this established cooperation, secure a provision of the protective equipment, mainly the face masks and respirators of the FFP2 type. The deadline for the first protective equipment order is set on April 1st, 2020, and its delivery is to be within 5 working days. CCC is currently analysing the companies’ demand of such protective equipment. For this purpose a contact form, which is available here (currently in Czech only), was created.

On March 24th, 2020, CCC have, together with the Chamber of the Tax Advisers, published below on this website the model examples of the two most frequent requests that are being submitted by the business people to their Tax Offices. In particular, the Request for Deferment and the Request for Change in Advance Payments Amount (or rather for remission of the obligation to pay the advance payment). Other model examples – mainly the request for default interests deferement and the request for deferement of the insurance premiums penalties – will be added later and that with regards to the currently ongoing legislative procedure that could make the situation easier.

March 23rd, 2020

The results of the government meeting on March 23rd, 2020:

The precautions being considered by the Ministries are changing quite dynamically. At the time we are writing this text, there is no complete information as for the concrete form of the particular proposals. The precautions which require a law modification will, moreover, have to pass through a legislative procedure, however, since in the time of an emergency state through a fast-track one, in the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, we cannot exclude the possibility of a change of some parameters as in the case of the insurance law changes that took place from Friday to Monday. We will continuously inform you of the events evolution.

From the self-employed point of view the following steps agreed upon by the Government on the Monday meeting are important:

  • An actual remission of a half of the social security premiums for this year. Small business people will not have to, for 6 months from March to August 2020, pay the insurance premiums at all and that without a need of submitting any individual requests. Moreover, it will not mean only a postponement of the payments. When the self-employed calculate their basis of assessment and the insurance for the whole year of 2020, they will have the possibility to figure in not only the premiums actually paid but also the sum in the amount of six minimal premiums equal to those that should have, under the normal circumstances, been paid in the period from March to August. That will, for those self-employed who pay just their minimal insurance, mean a half of their annual obligation.
  • According to the members of the Government announcement (available here, currently in Czech only), the same will apply for the healthcare insurance premiums. On the other hand, the fate of the proposal by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic regarding the synchronization of the deadline for the income and expenses report submission for the Insurance Corporations with the already postponed deadline for submission of the income tax return is not yet known. Such a synchronization (when the income and expenses report would not have to be submitted in May considering the income tax return can be submitted as late as in July) could also be applicable for the reports submissions to the Czech Social Security Administration.

What is necessary when it comes to the employers, the Government passed a program of State reimbursement for employers who pay the wage compensations to their employees experiencing obstacles at work. With regards to the two types of obstacles, the Government reached an agreement during the previous week already. Today, it added the remaining three (a brief description can be found on the website of MoLSA – in Czech only). Currently, we do not have an unambiguous information at our disposal regarding the payments of the insurance premiums paid by the employers for the employees experiencing obstacles at work which fundamentally affects the amount of State compensation – and thus, what percentage of the total wage expenses will be covered by the State.

All the affected employers will be interested in the following:

  • The Government comes with a proposal to officially postpone the last wave of the electronic evidence of takings (EET). The Minister of Finance was initially completely against such a proposal, however, she afterwards yielded to a solution of passing instructions to the control bodies to be lenient and to de facto not to act – the postponement will be, in the end, covered by the law. In Practice it seems, with regards to the as of now not known emergency state termination which is to be a starting point for the three month long postponement, the actual postponement of the last wave of EET might be of the duration of two months at the very least. The last wave should, according to the provisions of law currently in effect, start on May 1st, 2020.
  • The Minister of Finance did, after the Government meeting, announce that she will as soon as possible further extend the tax liberation package announced last week by some other remissions (an important one could definitely be an across the board remission of the June income tax advance payment).

At last it was assessed by the Government that the measures to mitigate the epidemic impacts cannot be financially provided for by the existing State budget reserve or by mere transfers of funds within this approved budget. Therefore, the Government will present in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic an ammendment to the Act on State budget for the year of 2020 which will enable it to finance the measures by the means of a budget deficit raised to 200 billion Czech crowns.

Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, did, on March 22nd, 2020, harshly denounce the call of the KOVO trade union to completely stop the production in its entirety. To urge the managers to waive their bonuses and companies to waive their profits for the protection of health and lifes of the employees is according to him distastefully populist and on the edge of sanity. On the contrary, we need all manufacturers for whose products there will be at least some demand to continue operating. The Steel Union is of the same opinion – more to be found here (currently in Czech only).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce unequivocally supports the 5 essential demands of the automotive industry (available here, currently in Czech only) to quickly deal with the COVID-19 pandemic’s imminent economic consequences that were presented to the Government by the Automotive Industry Association (AutoSAP). AutoSAP is one of our incorporated trade associations and represents around 140 key companies from the field of automotive industry with the total of 170,000 employees.

In the cooperation with renowned law offices and tax consultants CCC is working on the model examples of the currently most frequented requests to particular State institutions. Those model examples which will be item by item published on this website could help you with requests for tax deferment and payment of insurance premiums by instalments or for default interests remission.

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce sincerely appreciates the trust you place in the Czech Chamber of Commerce when you address us. As of today, we register almost 800 received questions and suggestions. Be sure that together with the partner law offices we intensively work on the answers. Consequently, we would like to ask for your patience especially in the cases of more complex questions that require a more thorough analysis.

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce also visited the Czech chef Mr. Zdeněk Pohlreich who started his own initiative of meal delivery free of charge for firefighters, policemen and the rescue services that, same as the business people, are going through an acid test and skimp on food. Starting on Sunday, 500 meals per day are delivered in Prague. This initiative helping the members of the integrated rescue system which has a support of the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, logically, needs funds for its financing. Contributions can be transfered to the following transparent account: KB 6770217/0100. The first contribution of 500 000 Czech crowns comes from Plzeňský Prazdroj which will help to launch this project. Those who are interested in supporting this activity of Mr. Zdeněk Pohlreich in the long run, please contact the Czech Chamber of Commerce (office@komora.cz). Thank you! Mr. Zdeněk Pohlreich also addressed a letter to the Government in which he points out that without an early and clearly formulated guarantee of a direct financial aid from the State the majority of the restaurant owners will not be able to continue in doing business – for more read the Deník.cz (in Czech only).

March 20th, 2020

The Government of the Czech Republic did, on March 20th, 2020, pass two key Resolutions:

A) The Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic no. 262 (currently in Czech only) approving an allowance for the self-employed – the care-giver’s allowance

The aim of this support is an allowance compensating the self-employed for the precautions against the coronavirus – attending to a family member – in the amount of 424 Czech crowns per day and that for the duration of up to 31 days. Detail information is to be found here (currently in Czech only).

B) The Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic no. 267 (currently in Czech only) regarding the cross-border workers and the foreigners, holders of an employee or a blue card, and regarding the possibility for foreigners to change their job without the need to fulfil a condition of a 6 month long previous employment

Consequently, this Resolution enables a foreigner working in the Czech Republic by the means of an employee card to, from March 20th, 2020, until the end of the emergency state, to change his/her employer or job even earlier than after 6 months. This measure was implemented by the amendment to the Act on the foreigners’ stay on the territory of the Czech Republic of last year. This change, however, is still a subject to notification to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic in accordance with the conditions defined by law. More information including the forms for such change is available here.

Still, the Czech Chamber of Commerce does not perceive those measures as sufficient, therefore, the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce together with the representatives of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic and the Confederation of the Employers and Business People Associations of the Czech Republic did, during a joint press conference, call on the Government to activate the kurzarbeit yet during this coming weekend. The companies are, in fact, in the need of an immediate aid in order not to lay off their employees for whom they, due to the precautions against the coronavirus, do not have enough work. More information is to be found here (in Czech only).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce did, based on the suggestions of its members, update the measures the aim of which is to protect jobs in enterprises, employers and tradesmen from bankruptcy and save Czech economy from collapse. We summarize those suggestions in the 19 demands that we push forward in the course of our debates with the Government, authorities and banks. Those demands can be found on this page under the table of precautions.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs did, on March 20th, 2020, publish the “Ten Commandments of the Labour Law in the Fight Against the Coronavirus” (currently in Czech only).

Considering the quantity of posed questions concerning the certificate of the force majeure intervention, CCC publishes up-to-date information here (currently in Czech only). Thanks to this certificate employers can relieve themselves e.g. from the obligation to pay damages in cases when an unpredictable and insurmountable obstacle will be proven by a presented contract documentation.

The Deník on the side of the tradesmen: How are you (not) coping with the current situation, does the State help you enough, what would you appreciate now, when you are in dire straits? The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce did, on March 20th, 2020, arrange with the Deník which pays on its website and also on the webpage www.denik.cz/podnikani attention to tradesmen and small enterprises the possibility for you to sned your stories and experience also to an e-mail address zivnostnici@denik.cz. Do share your suggestions and complaints with the readers of the Deník – CCC will contribute with its professional experience to answering those questions.

March 19th, 2020

The Government Resolution no. 262 from March 19th, 2020, is available here, while the Government Resolution no. 267 from the same day is available here (both currently in Czech only).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce positively perceives the 3 months long postponement of the notification obligation of the private same as public sector by the Ministry of environment of the Czech Republic that took this step with regards to the emergency state announcement. More information is to be found here (currently in Czech only).

CCC also welcomes the deadline prolongation for applications submission for the business people applying for the grants in the framework of the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovations for Competitiveness (OP EIC) and also the deadline prolongation of other calls. The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, considering the COVID-19 viral disease spread, decided to prolong the deadlines for all the calls where the applications admission was not finished by March 17th, 2020, and does not extend over April 30th, 2020. This prolongation of 30 days also applies to the deadlines of such calls amongst the obligations of which is to present a particular document such as a building permit, or to deadlines for projects completion defined in the respective calls. More infromation is to be found here (currently in Czech only).

CMZR Bank should, according to the information communicated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, newly have at its disposal 1 billion EUR originating from the EU funds. This sum could serve as a guarantee for the commercial banks’ credits provided by the means of their branch offices to the small tradesmen.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce did, on March 18th, 2020, launch a new system of answering business people questions with the help of the company NEWPS. From the system launching up to now we register 250 new questions. Given the switch from the previous system to the current one and the related necessary staff training, CCC politely asks for your greater patience.  The consultancy with regards to those questions is being provided by the following renowned law offices: Havel & Partners, Becker & Poliakoff, Němec, Bláha & Navrátilová Law Office, Felix a spol. Attorneys-at-Law and also by newly joined Frank Bold Attorneys-at-Law, PRK Partners and VIA IURIS. Answers to the questions frequently asked by business people regarding the current precautions against the coronavirus spread can be found here on a page prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic on the website BusinessInfo.cz (currently in Czech only).

In these hard times we as the Czech Chamber of Commerce are being approached by the business people with a request to issue a certificate of the force majeure intervention. Considering the current situation CCC has decided to issue this certificate with a 50% discount. Thanks to this certificate employers can relieve themselves e.g. from the obligation to pay damages in cases when an unpredictable and insurmountable obstacle will be proven by a presented contract documentation. More information including the price list is available here (currently in Czech only).

March 18th, 2020

The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic will reinforce the COVID program by 10 billion Czech crowns originating from the Operational Programmes. These funds will be directed to the interest-free loans or credit guarantees for the smallest of business people.

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, did also, on March 18th, 2020, send a letter regarding the COVID program setup to the director general of CMZR Bank, Mr. Jiří Jirásek, in which letter the President called upon the director general to get rid of the unnecessary administrative obstacles (e.g. the statutory body professional qualification description), to complete the information concerning the financial programs setup for self-employed and last but not least to modify those points of the program that will as the time comes become impossible to fulfil for many business people (e.g. the wage arrears or other liabilities). The President of CCC did in this letter also higlight that the rapidity of this aid for business people is crucial.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce appreciates the Government reaction towards our yesterday’s call for an immediate allocation of funds for job preservation and rescue of companies from bankruptcy which reaction will support Czech economy by approximately 100 billion Czech crowns and indirectly in the form of guarantees by 900 billion Czech crowns. The form of the direct aid will be yet specified, however, it will encompass wage compensations, kurzarbeit or a liquidity provision for companies. CCC underlines the importance of real actions and therefore expects a substantial flexibility of the State when it comes to the companies’s applications for COVID Credit at CMZR Bank assessment in order to provide the tradesmen and employers with funds quickly and without unnecessary administrative obstacles.

A document concerning compensations will be on the agenda of Government meeting of March 19th, 2020, which document proposes to copmensate in such a way that was agreed upon also thanks to the active contribution of CCC at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Apart from work obstacles already treated by the proposed program of compensations in the scope of Government authority, there is a parallel discussion regarding the reimbursement for employers paying the wage compensations to employees taking care of their children that has to be due to the broadening of the scope and the prolongation of the care-giver’s allowance modified by law and therefore debated in the Parliament. This proposal gives us hope that there will finally be a financial aid for employers that have to bear the wage espenses eventhough their businesses were significantly impacted by the Government measures taken with regards to the announced emergency state.

The problematics of relieves and premiums, however, is (as yet) not being solved centrally. Insurance payers always have to submit their applications for changes in insurance premiums, applications for insurance payments and penalties in instalments and in case of healthcare insurance premiums also the applications for penalty remissions individually – more information is available on the website of the Czech Social Security Administration and also on the websites of the healthcare insurance companies. Detail tax related information is available on the website of the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic and the Financial Administration of the Czech Republic. Currently available information is also posted on our website and that including the information regarding the liberation package and tax payment deferment (this information is to be found approximately in the center of the page).

We also posted on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce other information coming from our incorporated associations, confederations, clusters and craft guilds regarding the coronavirus. Today, among others, it was e.g. the information from the Association of Petrol Stations of the Czech Republic (currently in Czech only). Everything is available on www.komora.cz/en/coronavirus.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce did, on March 18th, 2020, launch a new system of answering business people questions which will result in a more effective and moreover quicker response. Four renowned law firms are participating on this project by providing the services of their lawyers for this type of consultancy free of charge. The project was joined by the following law firms: Havel & Partners, Becker & Poliakoff, Němec, Bláha & Navrátilová Law Office and Felix a spol. Attorneys-at-Law. The IT infrastructure was for this purpose created pro bono by NEWPS. We also would like to pass the specific questions on the associations, confederations, clusters and craft guilds incorporated into the Czech Chamber of Commerce. New system can be found on the website www.komora.cz/en/coronavirus.

March 17th, 2020

On March 17th, 2020, the Czech Chamber of Commerce did with other partners forming the tripartity debate with the members of the Government and afterwards with their Deputy Ministers regarding the parameters of the offsetting program proposed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic for the wage compensations paid by employers to the employees experiencing obstacles at work. Although an intensive debate took place, a consensus was not reached. A critical point in the discussion was whether the provision of these compensations will disqualify the companies from applying for any other compensations of losses caused by the Government precautions taken with regards to the coronavirus epidemic. On March 18th, 2020, the debates are supposed to continue.

The President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, attended on March 17th, 2020, a meeting concerning the coronavirus and the impacts of the current precautions on business people with the leading representatives of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) at the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. CCC was met with support on the side of ODS and that mainly in the matter of protection of the self-employed and the small and medium-sized enterprises. CCC is calling for at least a partial compensation of wage expenditures in a situation when a company is loosing income from the unrealized takings for goods and services. ODS is also endorsing the proposal of the Czech Chamber of Commerce to postpone or to even remit some taxes or compulsory levies. We also agreed upon the necessity of State secured provision of the protective equipment for employees. It is necessary to push those measures through eventhough it will result in a higher budget deficit in this year. We believe that our country can undertake such measures since its current indebtedness is rather low.

An unscheduled informal meeting of the Members of the Board of the Czech Chamber of Commerce took place. The current situation concerning the COVID-19 and the evaluation of the Government approach up to then were on the agenda.

During a press conference that took place on March 17th, 2020, and was broadcasted live by the Czech News Agency the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, called on the Government to quickly adopt the necessary measures aimed at saving the business people affected in the worst way. The protection of business people against bankruptcy should be one of the utmost priorities of the State. Consequently, the President of CCC also presented the results of our snap survey of more than 1.300 respondents from the business people ranks which we organised in the course of the last few days. According to this survey, 4 out of 5 approached companies are already experiencing difficulties connected to the coronavirus. The State therefore has to, for saving the domestic economy from collapse, be prepared to spend in the next three months not only the funds within the framework of the CMZR Bank programs but also additional 40 billion Czech crowns. The video from the press conference is available here (in Czech only).

The President of the Czech Chamber fo Commerce also appreciates the concrete steps taken by the Municipality of the City of Prague towards helping the affected companies. After the negotiations with the Czech Chamber of Commerce the City of Prague will not, as a landlord of business and office buildings, take up restrictions or penalties and will at the very least allow the tenants later payments. In this context the cities and municipalities are called on to lower the rent or postpone its payment by companies or at least refrain from terminating the contracts on the basis of unpaid rent. The Regional and District Chambers of Commerce are prepared to assist in such negotiations of companies with the cities and municipalities all over the Czech Republic.

The Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP) did, in order to facilitate the insurance arrangement, prepare a package of measures meant to suppor exporters who are dealing with the negative consequences of the necessary restrictions keeping the viral infection from further spreading. More information can be found here (currently in Czech only).

We also posted on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce other information coming from our incorporated associations, confederations, clusters and craft guilds regarding the coronavirus. Today, among others, it was e.g. the information from the Automotive Industry Association, Guild of mechanical lock systems of the Czech Republic, Confederation of Chemical Industry of the Czech Republic, Association of Market Research and Public Opinion Agencies and Czech Association of Interim Management. Everything is available on www.komora.cz/en/coronavirus.

March 16th, 2020

During the afternoon of March 16th, 2020, the Czech Chamber of Commerce debated at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic the compensation programs for the employers that pay their employees wage compensations due to work obstacles. Together with other associations of business people, employers and also with the unions’ leaders the Czech Chamber of Commerce requested from MoLSA and so from the Government an increase of the state compensation in consequence with the temporary sales cutbacks (so called partial unemployment) and in consequence with input outages (of deliveries) from the areas affected by the coronavirus. Whereas in the case of other obstacles MoLSA is ready to compensate the employers at 80 to 100% of the wage compensation actually paid by them, in case of the two mentioned obstacles MoLSA prepared a proposal of a reimbursement resulting from the minimum compensation defined by law and not from the wage compensation actually paid (on the basis of a collective agreement or companies’ internal regulations).

A proposal for a special allowance, a parallel to the care-giver’s allowance, for self-employed who cannot proceed in their business activities due to taking care of their children whose schools had to close is also thanks to the pressure applied by the Czech Chamber of Commerce currently in a fast-track legislative procedure. MoLSA and the Government, however, despite the calls from CCC, still do not address some kind of a special allowance or a grant program for self-employed who are due to the current emergency situation loosing the income that would normally come from their business activities.

The Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic also in cooperation with the Czech Chamber of Commerce published a so called “tax liberalization package” which will enable the business people to postpone their tax payments (without any fees, interests or fines). When it comes to the VAT payments, it is necessary to request a respective Tax Office for a deferment of payments and fees that resulted from the situation concerning the COVID-19. Such a process is automatic when it comes to income taxes. In case you do not want to submit your natural person income tax or legal person income tax on March 31st, 2020, it is possible to do so during the whole subsequent period ending on July 1st, 2020. The Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic promised to make changes on the website of her resort in order to make the instructions for the taxpayers clear and understandable. Everything is available here (currently in Czech only).

On March 16th, 2020, in the afternoon, it still was not clear how would such a postponement work in case of the social and healthcare insurance premiums.

Starting from Monday, March 16th, 2020, the CMZR Bank is accepting applications for the interest-free COVID Credit meant for the business people affected by the coronavirus. The applications will be accepted by all branch offices of the CMZR Bank strictly via e-Registry. The exact wording of the call for applications same as the instructions regarding the submitting of the applications can be found here (currently in Czech only). The Czech Chamber of Commerce has its reservations towards the setup of this system and calls for lesser administrative burdens and lower obstacles for drawing of this credit (e.g. when it comes to the debtlessness requirement). The Czech Chamber of Commerce also wants to negotiate an increase of the program’s total budget.

We also posted on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce other information coming from our incorporated associations, confederations, clusters and craft guilds regarding the coronavirus. Today, among others, it was e.g. the information from the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Guild of painters, varnishers and wallpaper-hangers of the Czech Republic and Association of Laundry and Drycleaners of the Czech Republic. Everything is available on www.komora.cz/en/coronavirus.

March 15th, 2020

On Sunday March 15th, 2020, the Czech Chamber of Commerce continued with its discussions with the Government representatives – a videoconference attended by the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrej Babiš, the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and Minister of Transport of the Czech Republic, Mr. Karel Havlíček, and by representatives of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic and other important representatives of Czech industry took place.

It is confirmed that the Government will most likely announce a quarantine on the whole territory of the Czech Republic today. In these very moments it is being discussed whether the quarantine will be announced from Sunday to Monday or from Monday to Tuesday. A very important information is that the public transport will not be affected by the announced quarantine and the workplace attendance will be possible. The Czech Chamber of Commerce will appeal to the Government to clearly communicate the announcement of the possible quarantine and its conditions to the public to appease the employees in order to calm their potential fears to come to work. CCC also asks the Government to ensure that all the eymployees that are in contact with public (customers) are provided with protective equipment.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce recommends to all employers to communicate with their employees and individually deal with the current situation. When it is possible and the job position allows it, CCC of course recommends to make use of Home Office and other such measures.

On Monday, March 16th, 2020, the time will come to evaluate the Government applied measures meant to support the business people. The Government continuously positively reacted to the suggestions by the Czech Chamber of Commerce, however, it is now necessary to assess how those measures are followed by actual steps in reality.

The CMZR Bank published on March 15th, 2020, the process for drawing the COVID Credit and the answers to frequently asked questions. The documents are to be found here (currently in Czech only).

We also posted on the website of the Czech Chamber of Commerce other information coming from our incorporated associations, confederations, clusters and craft guilds regarding the coronavirus. Today, among others, it was e.g. the information from the Seniors Care Association, Czech Fitness Chamber and Fellowship of chimney sweepers of the Czech Republic. Everything is available on www.komora.cz/en/coronavirus.

March 14th, 2020

In the context of the Government decision to close all shops starting from March 14th, 2020, 6 a.m. excluding those selling food, pharmacies, drugstores, gas stations and some other, a crisis crew was established at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and that with an active participation of the representatives of the Czech Chamber of Commerce.

On the basis of this decision a crisis crew was also established at the Czech Chamber of Commerce which crew did meet and debate today starting at 2 p.m. This crisis crew is continuously reacting to the requests of the crisis crew of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and is gathering suggestions coming from the particular chambers, associations and the members themselves in order CCC could relevantly react to a possible update of the Government decision (e.g. granting possible exceptions).

The Czech Chamber of Commerce asked the Government to make changes in the restrictions that are in force from March 14th, 2020, 6 a.m. From those restrictions CCC wants to exclude, among others, the provision of health, social, postal and other services (Czech POINT), financial (banking and insurance) and legal (including notary services) services, services of experts and consultants (e.g. services of accountants, auditors, tax consultants, brokers, financial and technical consultancy services), and the services directly linked to building production and construction, acute repair and maintenance services (e.g. car repairs).

On Saturday, March 14th, 2020, the Czech Chamber of Commerce discussed with the Councillor of the City of Prague, Mr. Jan Chabr, the measures that could be taken by the City of Prague with regards to the impact of the coronavirus on the business people. CCC will, in the coming days, discuss with the Municipality of the City of Prague a possible help to business people. Both organisations would like to coordinate further steps that could disburden the tradesmen in Prague.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce is also suggesting a continuation of work of Czech Embassies when it comes to the acceptance of the requests of companies at least for qualified employees from abroad. CCC also pushes forward an automatic prolongation of the residence permits that will expire in the coming days for the employees from abroad.

In the context of the Government’s decision the services of the Czech Chamber of Commerce – issuing of the certificates of the origin of goods and ATA Carnets – will continue to be provided, however, we recommend to make use of those services by correspondence. We would also like to ask you to make use of the toll services only when indispensable.

March 13th, 2020

On Friday, March 13th, 2020, a meeting of representatives of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, an organisation representing the part of its member base (tourism) currently affected the worst, with the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Ms. Alena Schillerová, took place. The Minister did, in the bounds of her ministerial competencies, accommodate the business people requests regarding the special tax relieves which will, by the means of the general decision of the Minister and the uniformly methodically coordinated decisions of the Tax Offices, result in a remission of interests for later paid fees and a pardon of fines for delays in filing the tax returns and control reports until July 31st, 2020. Up to that same date the business people will not have to pay the administrative fees for the requests for delay of the tax payment or for the remission of the mentioned interests charges. Especially when it comes to the income taxes, all the tax payers (both natural and legal persons) will have the possibility to file their tax returns and pay the respective tax up to July 1st, 2020, and that without any need for requests or any sanctions. In practice, the business people will have the possibility to delay the payment of the most burdening income taxes and VAT. On the other hand, those for whom the tax returns result in tax refunds will have the possibility to make use of the standard dates. The Minister will discuss, we hope briskly, other budgetary precautions with other members of the Government, mainly those measures concerning the particular amount of wage compensations paid by employers to the employees limited by the obstacles resulting from the precautions against coronavirus spread, those regarding provision of some kind of a care-giver’s allowance for the self-employed taking care of their children as a result of the closing of schools similar to the allowance currently provided to the employees and such, or a possibility of introduction of some other subsidies or grants.

On March 13th, 2020, the President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce also debated with the Chairman of the Board of the Česká spořitelna, Mr. Tomáš Salomon, the creation of special bank instruments which could be implemented by the bank and aiming at the business people impacted by the precautions taken as a protection against the coronavirus.

In cooperation with our Regional Chambers and tradesmen associations CCC continues with the analysis of the negative impacts on business people and the summary of proposals of possible compensations. We make use of this gathered information in the course of our debates with the relevant State bodies.

Some of our associations also publish on their websites up-to-date information regarding the taken precautions and their impacts on specific fields of doing business. We are also putting the links to those websites on www.komora.cz/en.

Today, the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic launched a new website concerning the COVID-19 disease. On this website, the Ministry presents important information, questions and asnwers, important contacts and links, the evolution of events over time, summarizing information for citizens, employees, employers and medical staff members. CCC also continues to gather all the relevant information on its webpage www.komora.cz/en/coronavirus.

CCC is also preparing a launch of survey for all its members. This survey will be send out at the beginning of the next week the latest. We will appreciate if the prevailing majority of you would respond in order the results of this survey could be used by us to further negotiate the conditions of concrete precautions to be taken to mitigate the impacts of the issued decrees.

March 12th, 2020

On March 12th, 2020, we participated in the debate at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) that was conducted by the Deputy Minister, Mr. Robin Povšík, and attended by other Deputy Ministers of MoLSA and representatives of entrepreneurs and unions. The subject of debate were also the proposals by CCC. MoLSA, namely the Deputy Minister, Mr. Petr Hůrka, introduced the proposals meant to mitigate the consequences of the current situation. MoLSA proposes measures pointing to helping both employees and employers. The Government will by a decree announce a program based on §120 of the Act on employment which in some cases (e.g. quarantine) would allow an increase of compensations paid to employees experiencing obstacles at work and afterwards State reimbursement to employers paying those increased compensations. MoLSA did also hear out the proposals of CCC and will therefore propose an adoption of an Act of Law in the regime of legislative emergency which allows an ex post payment of the so-called care-giver’s allowance to self-employed.

The announced meeting with the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Ms. Alena Schillerová, was, due to the delays in the above mentioned debate, rescheduled for tommorrow. At the meeting we will discuss the concrete proposals introduced yesterday that are meant to mitigate the impacts of the economic situation and also the proposals of possible compensations.

We continue with our effort to concentrate all the relevant information on one well-arranged website. Until such a website is created, CCC will proceed to gather all the relevant information on its own one: www.komora.cz/en.

March 11th, 2020

The Czech Chamber of Commerce is continuing with its debates with the leading representatives of the State with whom it discusses the possible measures to be taken with regards to Czech economy. At the same time, we are debating the appropriate and purposeful compensations for business people and tradesmen who are, as a consequence of the coronavirus infection and the subsequent forced precautions, significantly limited in their economic activities. For that matter CCC is to participate in a discussion with Ms. Alena Schillerová, the Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, or Mr. Petr Hůrka, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce would like the Government to inform the business people of the concrete process of applying for compensations or to integrate all the information into one well-arranged website. CCC is doing its best to gather all the available information on its website: www.komora.cz/en.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce also intensively communicates with its regional chambers and tradesmen associations. Together we therefore analyze negative consequences for business people and we summarize all the proposals of possible compensational solutions. Afterwards we will use those in the following discussions with the relevant State bodies.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce organized on March 11th, 2020, a press conference called “Coronavirus and Czech economy. How the spread of the virus and the precautions will impact companies?” which was, among others, attended by Mr. Tomáš Prouza, the President of the Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, by Mr. Václav Stárek, the President of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of the Czech Republic, and by Mr. Viliam Sivek, the Chairman of the Tourism Forum. At the press conference the CCC commented on the current evolution of the situation and also introduced its own proposals of solutions as for example the determination of amount of compensations for companies or the interest-free loans for business people.

CCC also introduced the instruments aimed at the self-employed beyond the framework of the general measures mitigating the coronavirus impact on the business people cash flow.

In the BUSINESSMAN => STATE / PUBLIC INSTITUTION relation we propose:

  • Cancellation of income tax advance payments and social security and public healthcare insurance advance payments
  • Possibility to submit the income tax return until July 1st in such cases when the return is not, on behalf of the self-employed, processed by a tax adviser

In the BUSINESSMAN => BUSINESSMAN relation we call for:

  • State participation in the consequences of default in repayment of credits to banks (by a partial compensation of the default interests)
  • State participation in the consequences of delays in paying utility bills and other inputs from network suppliers (by a partial compensation of the default interests or the contractual penalty)
  • Banks and insurance corporations reasonable and solidary attitude when employing and recovering their claims from the business debtors (mainly the small and medium size enterprises and the self-employed) who got in trouble with paying their liabilities due to the coronavirus

March 10th, 2020

The Czech Chamber of Commerce did actively engage in dealing with the current situation including the impacts of the Government precautions on the private sector. The President of the Czech Chamber f Commerce, Mr. Vladimír Dlouhý, together with the leading representatives of CCC participates on debates with the Government officials led by the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Andrej Babiš. The President of CCC perceives as important the today’s meeting with the Vice Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr. Karel Havlíček, and the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, Ms. Jana Maláčová, with whom he debated the possible measures for business people support. Apart from those discussions, the President of CCC also intensively debates with the representatives of the worst impacted sectors.

The effort is to mitigate the companies’ economic losses and also to find the appropriate and purposeful compensations for business people and tradesmen. Among those compensations there is already the program COVID Credit which was prepared together by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (CMZR Bank). Its aim is to facilitate the access of the small and medium enterprises, the economic activities of which are limited as a consequence of the coronavirus infection occurrence and the related precautions, to operating loans.

Moreover, we intensively discuss the following measures:

  • Postponement of VAT payments
  • Postponement of income tax payments
  • Postponement of obligatory insurance premiums payments (social and healthcare)
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