COVID-19 Update: short-time work and commercial lease

COVID-19 Update: short-time work and commercial lease

While extending the closure of shops until April 26, 2020, new measures have been added to those measures already presented in our April Newsletter (Newsletter - April 2020.pdf).

Short-time working compensation

On April 8, 2020, the Swiss Federal Council decided to allow “on call employees” with working hours varying more than 20% in average to be taken into consideration in the short-time working compensation requests, provided that their employment has lasted for at least 6 months. In addition, the Swiss Federal Council has also removed the indemnification maximum duration (currently 4 months) in case of reduction of working hours of more than 85%.

Commercial lease

The Swiss Federal Council confirmed that tenants and landlords should enter into negotiations in order to find a suitable and pragmatic solution. At this stage, it does not wish to impose any governmental measure and intervene in the private contractual relationship between tenants and landlords.

On April 6, 2020, the canton of Geneva entered into an agreement with three associations, two representing professionals of the real estate industry (USPI Genève and CGI) and one representing tenants' rights (Asloca Genève), relating to the payment of April 2020 rent for commercial premises. Small businesses and self-employed persons in financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with a maximum rent of CHF 3'500 per month (without charges) and who were not already put on formal notice for late payment before March 17, 2020, can request from their landlord a total or partial exemption of the outstanding rent until April 20. If the landlord agrees, the canton of Geneva pays half of the granted exemption, up to 50% of the rent. This measure may be extended for the additional future rents.