COVID-19 NEWS

ARQIS COVID-19 NEWS

The Coronavirus has a firm hold on us. By now, there is probably no one who has not felt the impact of the private and/or economic restrictions.

All of us at ARQIS have reacted swiftly and adapted our work processes, so we can advise and support you as usual. As an additional service, we are providing you with the latest information on Covid-19.
This is designed specifically for companies and will inform you regularly about the latest decisions, measures, restrictions and options on Covid-19.
We are sure that you too will profit from this information. And should you have any questions or suggestions: Just call us. The ARQIS team is there for you – even working from home.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on issuer’s obligations applying to financial reporting

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During the current Coronavirus crisis, publicly listed corporations are facing particular challenges with regard to their obligations applying to ongoing financial reporting.

The « Law for the Mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on civil, insolvency and criminal proceedings law of 27 March 2020 » does not contain any regulations on financial reporting. However, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have issued recommendations on some select questions, which at least offer some practical indications for issuers. The Institute of Public Auditors (Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer – IDW) in Germany also offered several valuable hints in « two technical notes » regarding the handling of these obligations during the crisis.

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Appointment of administrator and financial plan remain valid without meeting of apartment owners

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The set of measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the German Bundestag and Bundesrat passed last week, also includes changes to the Act on the Ownership of Apartments (Wohnungseigentumsgesetz – WEG).

The reason for these changes was the fact that the mandatory annual meeting of apartment owners could not take place due to the contact ban imposed for slowing the pandemic’s spread. As the appointment of the community of apartment owner’s administrator pursuant to Sec. 26 Para. 1 Sen. 1 WEG ends after a fixed period and the re-appointment requires a meeting of apartment owners, many communities of apartment owners were facing the potential loss of their administrator. In practice, a community of apartment owners without an administrator no longer has the power to act.

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Rescue of the asparagus season? In which way can employees on short-time work in systemically relevant industries?

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Next week, asparagus season would traditionally begin. Yet due to the travel restrictions related to the Coronavirus, the majority of harvest workers from neighbouring European countries will not be able to travel here. Apart from the asparagus harvest, farmers are already noticing a lack of staff for the cultivation of food as well. The Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft, a German association of farmers, is already speaking of a shortage of a hundred thousand workers nationwide.

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Civil proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic

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In Germany, the spread of the new Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has resulted in many severe restrictions on all areas of private lives and the economy, many of which seemed inconceivable just a few weeks ago. In order to contain the virus, authorities ordered the closure of many establishments, bars and stores in March. Numerous trade fairs, concerts and other public events were prohibited. Germany is in an unexpected state of shock, which is also affecting the judicial system, so many parties must ask themselves how the crisis situation will impact their court proceedings.

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UPDATE: Coronavirus pandemic – can employers receive compensation for labour costs pursuant to the protection against infection act? in addition to short-time work allowance?

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Coronavirus pandemic – What about compensation pursuant to the Protection against Infection Act?

Employers and employees are desperately looking for ways to buffer and financially compensate threatening or existing losses of working hours. At first glance, claims for compensation for loss of earnings pursuant to Section 56 Protection against Infection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz – IfSG) may be considered, as can be read on many occasions these days.
But does this basis for the claim apply in connection with the losses of working hours due to the Coronavirus pandemic? A classic example of “it depends”.

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UPDATE: Short-time work & short-time work allowance – a short explanation of what emplyoers need to know

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The German government has lowered the requirements for obtaining short-time work allowance. The changes come into retrospective effect as of 1 March 2020.

By now, the global spread of the Coronavirus COVID‑19 is bringing entire industries to their knees. Especially industries with a lot of customer contact or focus on tourism are affected by the decline of orders and are incurring losses. The foreseeable economic crash is threatening many jobs. The government is reacting swiftly to avoid dismissals with a proven means: short-time work. Retrospectively lightened regulations on short-time work.

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Special regulations on procedural time limits of international trade mark and patent offices due to COVID 19

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Many international IP offices like the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), the EUIPO, the WIPO or the respective foreign national IP offices are extending automatically ongoing procedural time limits in light of the shutdown caused by the Coronavirus crisis, but the length of the extension differs depending on the office.

For example, the DPMA and the EUIPO are extending procedural time limits until 4 May 2020. However, statutory limits such as opposition deadlines or the renewal of property rights are excluded from this extension.

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Suspension of obligation to file for insolvency and further measures on insolvency law to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequently imposed measures to slow down its spread have extensive consequences on our lives and the entire economy. Due to the closure of companies, the interruption of supply chains, the decline in orders and delays in payment, the existence of many companies is immediately threatened. With the sudden slump in sales and ongoing payment obligations, they are in danger of running out of liquidity and becoming insolvent. At the same time, any prior given positive  business forecast will cease due to the special effects caused by the Corona crisis, possibly leading to over-indebtedness. As a result and according to the current legal situation, they would immediately or after three weeks at the latest have to file for insolvency pursuant to Section 15a Insolvency Statute (Insolvenzordnung – InsO). The German Federal Government is urgently working on an act to mitigate the above-mentioned consequences.

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A. In times of crisis: Transfer of employees as an alternative to short-time work?

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Last weekend (21/22 March 2020), media advertised a grand case: An international fast food chain is referring its employees to a retailer’s stores during the times of the Coronavirus crisis. How is that possible under aspects of (labour) law? And can such an unusual measure avoid short-time work on the one hand and cover personnel requirements on the other hand?

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