Dear clients, please find below a brief and clear summary of the COVID-19 laws.

In the meantime, on 2 April 2020, the federal government introduced three comprehensive legislative packages, the 3rd COVID-19 Act, the 4th COVID-19 Act and the 5th COVID-19 Act, in parliament. These laws were discussed in the Budget Committee on 2 April 2020 and passed in the National Council on 3 April 2020 and in the Federal Council on 4 April 2020. They were also published in the Federal Law Gazette on 4 April 2020: Federal Law Gazette I No. 23/2020, Federal Law Gazette I No. 24/2020, Federal Law Gazette I No. 25/2020.

In the following, we have summarised some important innovations for you, some of which have already been described in the previous mailings, but for the sake of completeness, these have nevertheless been listed.

COVID 19 Act

Federal Law Gazette I No. 23/2020


Time limits of the FMA (Article 1)

The Financial Market Authority is granted the right to extend certain deadlines by ordinance upon justified application or ex officio.

Business Owners Register Act (Article 3)

In the Business Owners Register Act (WiEReG), a transitional provision is added to section 18 WiEReG, according to which, among other things, the deadlines for reporting data by the legal entities pursuant to section 5(1) WiEReG and the deadline for threatening and imposing a penalty pursuant to section 16(1) WiEReG are interrupted if the deadlines had not yet expired by the end of 16 March 2020 or the start of the deadline falls within the period from 16 March 2020 to the end of 30 April 2020. The above-mentioned time limits shall begin to run anew as of 1 May 2020.

Hardship Fund Act (Article 6)

Firstly, the funds made available to the Hardship Fund from the COVID-19 Crisis Resolution Fund will be increased from €1 billion to €2 billion. In addition, the Minister of Finance, in agreement with the Vice-Chancellor, can adjust the funds from the COVID-19 Crisis Management Fund by decree.

Secondly, it is clarified that New Self-Employed Persons in hardship cases caused by the legal and economic consequences of COVID-19 are also covered by this safety net.

The addressees of the hardship fund therefore include one-person enterprises (EPU) including new self-employed persons and freelancers, non-profit organisations as well as micro-entrepreneurs, as natural persons or gainfully employed partners, who are compulsorily insured under the BSVG/GSVG/FSVG or in insurance policies of corresponding institutions of the liberal professions. As a result, it is now legally clear that members of the liberal professions are also eligible for benefits.

More funds for short-time work (Article 7)

An amendment to the Labour Market Policy Financing Act ensures that sufficient funds are available for the COVID short-time work model, which is used by many enterprises. Accordingly, the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Labour and Youth is authorised, in agreement with the Minister of Finance, to determine the amount required for this year by decree; the upper limit of one billion euros will no longer apply.

Special care time for relatives in need of care (Article 8)

The special care time for minor children introduced by the 1st COVID-19 Act should also be able to be agreed upon with the employer if, within the framework of 24-hour care, a caregiver is absent or the care of persons with disabilities is necessary and the employee takes over the care of the relative(s). In this case, the state pays one third of the wage costs. At the same time, the model is limited in time: Any form of special care time can therefore only be taken until the end of May this year.

COVID bonus payments remain tax-free and social security-free up to 3,000 euros (Article 11)

A bonus or allowance granted to employees for their work during the Corona crisis is to remain tax-free up to an amount of 3,000 euros and will also be exempt from social security. In addition, it is planned to continue to grant the commuter allowance even in the case of temporary teleworking or temporary short-time work. Similarly, doctors who have given up their practice and return to work during the COVID 19 pandemic are not to suffer any tax disadvantages. Furthermore, the Income Tax Act explicitly clarifies that contributions from the COVID 19 Crisis Management Fund, the Hardship Fund and the Corona Crisis Fund as well as comparable contributions from the Länder, municipalities and statutory interest groups, which are made in order to cope with the Corona crisis, are tax-free.

Fees (Article 12)

In addition to writs and official acts, there is now also exemption from fees for all legal transactions that are necessary for the implementation of the measures in connection with the management of the COVID 19 crisis situation.

Time limits in financial criminal proceedings (Article 13)

In the Financial Penalties Act, the time limits were revised again.

Increase of the COVID 19 Crisis Management Fund (Article 29)

In the COVID-19 Fund Act, funding is increased from €4 billion to €28 billion.

In addition, measures to stabilise the liquidity of companies are defined as a further field of action (demonstrative list) for which resources from the fund may be used.

Temporary special arrangements for accidents at work in the home office (Articles 45 and 46)

Temporary special regulations in the ASVG and the Civil Servants' Health and Accident Insurance Act are intended to ensure that accidents that occur in the home office are considered occupational accidents, irrespective of whether one has a demarcated workroom at home or not. In addition, tax-free allowances and bonus payments (see Article 11) are also exempted from the obligation to pay contributions under ASVG and are therefore not considered remuneration under section 49 ASVG.

Exemption from work for members of the COVID 19 risk group (Articles 45 and 46)

New provisions (section 735 ASVG and section 258 B-KUVG) were added to the ASVG and B-KUVG, which regulate the exemption of members of the COVID-19 risk group from work. Employees and apprentices with serious pre-existing illnesses who have received a corresponding certificate (COVID 19 risk certificate) from their family doctor are entitled to leave from work and continued payment of wages, unless the person concerned can perform his or her work at home (home office) or the workplace can be arranged in such a way that infection with the coronavirus can be ruled out with the greatest possible certainty (this also includes measures for the way to work).

Amendment of the COVID 19 Measures Act (Article 50)

The provisions of the COVID 19 Measures Act previously made it possible to prohibit entry into certain business premises or places of work (section 1) and to prohibit entry into certain places (section 2). The law now states that exceptions to the prohibition of entry can be made subject to certain conditions or requirements by ordinance.
In addition, the involvement of public security bodies has been revised. The Act contains a new paragraph 1a in the provision of Article 2a, according to which public security bodies must cooperate in the implementation of this Federal Act and the ordinances issued on the basis of this Federal Act.

COVID-19 Act

Federal Law Gazette I No. 24/2020

Time limits in administrative proceedings (Article 1)

The most recently introduced interruption of procedural deadlines in administrative proceedings is corrected. The interruption of limitation periods is again deleted from the provision of section 1(1). It is added that when calculating a time limit pursuant to section 32(2) AVG, 1 May 2020 is considered the day on which the time limit began.

Amendments to the Settlement and Residence Act (Article 13)

Pursuant to section 19 (1) NAG, certain applications must be submitted to the authority in person or by the legal representative in person. However, according to the new para 1a, applications for renewal and change of purpose are not to be submitted in person, but by post or electronically to the authority, as long as the freedom of movement or interpersonal contact is restricted due to measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Driving Licence Act (Articles 22, 23)

The documents, certificates, proofs and the like (e.g. "Pickerl") regulated by the Motor Vehicle Act or the Driver's Licence Act and ordinances based thereon with a limited period of validity, which would end after 13 March 2020 and which cannot be extended due to the restrictive measures enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, shall remain valid on federal territory until 31 May 2020 at the latest. This period may be extended until 31 December 2020 by order of the Minister of Transport.

Time limits in criminal proceedings (Article 32 Z 5 to 9)

The authorisation of the Federal Minister of Justice to issue ordinances is amended (BGBl I 16/2020, II. Hauptstück, § 9). In No. 3, some gaps are closed with regard to time limits, which the ÖRAK has pointed out. So kann nun von der Justizministerin angeordnet werden, dass folgende Fristen bis zum Ablauf des 30. April 2020 unterbrochen werden und mit 1. Mai 2020 neu zu laufen beginnen: "Fristen nach § 88 Abs. 1, § 92 Abs. 1, § 106 Abs. 3 und Abs. 5 letzter Satz, § 194 Abs. 2, § 195 Abs. 2, § 213 Abs. 2, section 276a, section 284 subsection 1, section 285 subsection 1 and subsection 4, section 294 subsections 1 and 2, section 357 subsection 2, section 408 subsection 1, section 409 subsection 1, section 427 subsection 3, section 430 subsection 5, section 466 subsections 1 and 2, section 467 subsections 1 and 5, section 478 subsection 1 and section 491 subsection 6 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as well as other time limits set by the public prosecutor or the court."

Amendments to the Insolvency Code (Articles 33 and 37, III.-V. Main Section)

In order to ensure that insolvency proceedings can be completed quickly, it should no longer be possible to interrupt time limits in this area. Interrupted time limits shall begin to run anew upon the entry into force of this Act. The court may extend procedural time limits in insolvency proceedings whose event triggering the time limit falls in the period after the entry into force of this Act ex officio or at the request of a party or the insolvency administrator by order for a reasonable period of time not exceeding 90 days. In the event of over-indebtedness occurring in the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, the debtor shall not be obliged to file for insolvency (this period was extended to 1 March 2020 following intervention by ÖRAK). Furthermore, during this period the liability linked to over-indebtedness pursuant to section 84(3)(6) of the Austrian Stock Corporation Act does not apply. It should be possible to change payment plan instalments in consideration of the current situation and to apply for deferrals for a maximum of nine months.

Amendment of the Notarial Code (Article 34)

Notarial acts and notarial certifications may also be performed using an electronic communication facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This provision is limited until 31 December 2020.

Amendment of the COVID 19 Company Law Act (Article 35)

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, meetings of shareholders and members of governing bodies of a corporation, a partnership, a cooperative society, a private foundation, an association, a mutual insurance association, a small insurance association or a savings bank may be held without the physical presence of the participants and resolutions may also be passed by other means in accordance with an ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Restriction of the legal consequences of rent arrears in residential tenancy agreements (Article 37, I. Main Part, § 1)

The legal consequences of rent arrears are limited. Termination of the tenancy agreement due to rent arrears from the months of April, May and June 2020 as a result of the pandemic is provisionally excluded. Landlords cannot claim the arrears in court or cover them from a deposit handed over by the tenant until 31 December 2020. The arrears must be paid by mid-2022 at the latest. Then the landlord has the right to base a termination of the lease or an action for cancellation of the lease on this arrears. Accordingly, the landlord's right to base a termination of the contract on a failure to pay rent is not completely eliminated, but postponed by two years. The landlord's right to terminate the tenancy agreement for other reasons remains unaffected.

Postponement of the due date of payments in credit agreements (Article 37, I. Hauptstück, § 2)

Relief will be provided for borrowers who took out a loan before 15 March 2020 and are now directly affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. The due date of these payments will be deferred by three months after the contractually scheduled payment date in each case and will apply not only to consumer credit agreements but also to business loans to micro-enterprises. For the duration of the deferral, the borrower is not in default of payment of these benefits; therefore, no default interest accrues during this period.

Limitation of interest on arrears and exclusion of collection costs (Article 37, I. Main Part, § 3)

Interest on arrears will be limited to the statutory interest rate of 4% per year for all contractual relationships that fall due in the period from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020, which is particularly affected by the pandemic.


Exclusion of contractual penalties (Article 37, I. Main Part, § 4)

Contractual penalties are not payable if working life is made impossible due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Extension of fixed-term residential tenancy agreements (Article 37, I. Hauptstück, § 5)

A fixed-term residential tenancy agreement expiring after 30 March 2020 and before 1 July 2020 may be extended until the end of the year, notwithstanding section 29 MRG.

Deferment of the execution of eviction (Article 37, I. Main Part, § 6)

Eviction executions under section 349 EO shall be postponed at the request of the obligor without the imposition of a security if the flat is indispensable for the satisfaction of the urgent residential needs of the obligor and the persons living with him/her in the same household, unless the eviction is indispensable for the prevention of serious personal or economic disadvantages of the executing creditor.

Ranking in the Land Register (Article 37, IV. Main Part)

The time limit for the utilisation of a ranking order noted in the land register will be suspended in the period from 16 March 2020 until the end of 30 April 2020 and may still be extended by the Minister of Justice.


Fee reductions (Article 37, Section VI)

The automatic inflation adjustment of court fees (cf. section 31a GGG) is suspended until the end of the year. Advance maintenance decisions in connection with COVID-19 are exempted from the obligation to pay fees. Lien-based loan collateralisation in connection with the economic support package does not trigger registration fees.

Special rules for public procurement (Article 38)

In order to keep economic damages low, a separate federal constitutional law regulates accompanying measures to COVID-19 in matters of public procurement. For award procedures of emergency procurements in connection with COVID-19, the effects of the filing of applications in proceedings before the administrative courts are to be overridden. An award may thus be made before the application decision.

Industrial property rights (Article 39)

In the field of industrial property protection, time limits will be suspended in the period from 16 March 2020 until the expiry of 30 April 2020. The Minister of the Environment and Infrastructure is given wide-ranging powers to extend the expiry of deadlines by ordinance.

COVID 19 Act

Federal Law Gazette I No. 25/2020

Amendment of the statutory budget provision and the federal financial framework

The increase of the Crisis Management Fund from four to 28 billion euros will be put on a budgetary basis until the decision of the regular budget 2020 and the new Federal Financial Framework Act.

Please note, however, that this information is non-binding and is not a definitive presentation. Some of the aspects presented may be subject to change at short notice.

We will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.


Yours sincerely,

TJP-Oaklins Group
TJP Austroexpert Steuerberatungsgesellschaft m.b.H.

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