In the wake of other changes to legislation published as part of the government’s reaction to the pandemic, Decree Law number 78-A/2020 of 29th September was published, as a result of which some of the exceptional and temporary measures adopted previously were changed.
From the financial perspective we highlight the following changes:
The extension of the period for the suspension of the payment of capital, interest, commissions and other charges for an additional period of six months, between 31 March 2021 and 30 September 2021, in the credit conceded to individuals as well as housing credit, and credit conceded to businesses in the sectors most affected by the pandemic, identified in the document annex by the CAE (Portuguese Classification of Economic Activities) as well as, in relation to businesses, an extension of credit maturities for an additional period of 12 months. The remaining business community will resume interest payments on 1st April 2021, while benefitting from the suspension of capital payments until 30th September of the same year.
Those measures are applied automatically to the credit already covered by the moratorium regime with the beneficiaries free to not take up the extension of the period or extension of the maturity and also to ask for the application of the moratorium for a shorter period. It’s also worth pointing out a new measure of this legislation which determines that the distribution of profits, on any basis, reimbursement of credit to partners and the acquisition of stock or own shares by the beneficiary entities leads to the end of these support measures.
From the labour and social perspective we highlight:
- The extension until 31st December 2021 of the temporary contractual procedure for workers for the creation of fixed term labour contracts for the period of four months in organs, services and other entities, including the public company sector of the Health Ministry, in order to meet the exceptional and temporary increase in activity in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic (the period that was previously established was valid up until 30th September). The new version of the law also established that information about these contracts must be communicated monthly by the Central Administration of the Health System I.P (public institution), to the Budget Directorate General.
- The provisional authorisation of the functioning of the exceptional regime of social support activities covered in article 25 of the Decree Law number 10-B/2020 of 13th March was extended from 30th September 2020 to 31st December 2021.
- Change to the rules applicable to support to prevention measures in social response and social support providers covered by Decree-Law number 37/2020 of 15th July (that establishes measures of social support as part of the Programme of Social and Economic Stabilisation) becoming considered expenditure to be undertaken rather than expenditure of the subsystem of social action in the terms of the protocols to be agreed up until 31st December 2020 for the undertaking of tracing tests for professionals working in residential facilities.
- The establishment of protocols to enable the maintenance of social response activity in the field of implementation of Covid-19 prevention measures, whether that is in direct relation to workers and users or installations, via coverage of expenses with personal protective equipment, disinfection products or isolation materials, in institutions that have financial difficulties in covering these costs. These protocols will be effective for a period of up to six months.
The current Decree Law also alters the Decree Law number 20-F/2020 of 12th May (that establishes an exceptional and temporary regime relative to insurance contracts), establishing that said law is now valid until 31st March 2021 (instead of 30th September 2020), without prejudice to the validity of the period of the contractual effects stemming from the application of determined legal precepts. In addition, the insurance companies are now obliged to publicise the measures.
Finally, in the cultural and artistic field, we highlight a further extension until 31st December 2020 of the prohibition of festivals and shows, whether in covered premises or in the open air, of an analogue nature declared as such in the terms of the applicable legislation.