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Support measures for Coronavirus

Here is a rough translation of the support measures from BMWi (Ministry of Economics)

Kategorie — COVID-19

View official FAQ here

1. Emergency aid for solo self-employed persons and small businesses

[Soforthilfe für Solo-Selbstständige und Kleinsbetriebe]

Special support measures are available for small enterprises in all sectors, solo self-employed persons and freelancers who are in difficulty as a result of the Corona crisis. Often, they have little securities or other income. These companies are to be helped quickly and without bureaucracy. To ensure their liquidity, they receive a one-off payment for three months - depending on the size of the company - of

  • up to €9,000  (up to five employees/full-time equivalents)

  • up to €15,000  (up to ten employees/full-time equivalents).

This is intended in particular to secure the economic existence of the applicants and to bridge acute liquidity bottlenecks due to ongoing operating costs, e.g. rents and leases, loans for business premises or leasing instalments. The one-off payments do not have to be repaid. If the landlord reduces the rent by at least 20%, the possibly unused subsidy can also be used for another two months. The emergency aid has a volume of 50 billion euros and also applies to farmers and farms with agricultural production with up to 10 employees.

Where and how you can apply for emergency aid, you will find here.

The brief facts about the Corona emergency aid programme can be found here.

Moreover, small entrepreneurs and self-employed persons usually do not have unemployment insurance. To ensure that their existence is not threatened, access to benefits under Book II of the Social Code [Sozialgesetzbuch] (SGB II), especially unemployment benefit II, is simplified. Among other things, a considerably simplified assets test applies here for six months. Expenses for accommodation and heating will be recognised in their actual amount for a period of six months from the date of application. This ensures that everyone can stay in their apartment for the time being. Benefits are granted quickly and unbureaucratically, for at least the upcoming six months. As before, self-employment does not have to be abandoned when receiving benefits. In order to grant child support, instead of using proof of income from the last six months as before, proof of income in the last month before the application is submitted. This means that those who have suffered a sudden loss of income will also receive the child support.

There is also an overview of the competent authorities or bodies in the states, where you can apply.

(Note: The mentioned contact persons can be contacted both for emergency aid in the federal state and for emergency aid at federal level)


2. Support package for start-ups

[Unterstützungspaket für Start-ups]

In principle, start-ups have access to all support measures of the Corona support package. However, classic credit instruments often do not meet the needs of start-ups, young technology companies and small and medium-sized enterprises. In many cases, they do not meet the requirements placed by house banks on borrowers due to their young age and usually very innovative business model. Therefore, we offer a tailor-made support package. To this end, we are investing around €2 billion and are expanding venture capital financing so that financing rounds for promising innovative start-ups from Germany can continue to take place.

The package of measures will include in particular the following elements, which will be implemented gradually:

  • strengthening venture capital investors (at fund level) to provide additional capital to portfolio companies facing liquidity constraints

  • Support of financing rounds for canceled fund investors ("secondary market")

  • Support of young start-ups without venture capitalists in the shareholder circle and small medium-sized enterprises


3. Short-time work becomes more flexible

[Kurzarbeitergeld wird flexibler]

Short-time work benefits can now be claimed more easily and under improved conditions. For example, only ten percent of the employees in a company need to be affected by lost working hours, social security contributions are fully covered and temporary work is also included in the scheme. Companies are thus relieved to a much greater extent than during the financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009. In addition, the full crediting of remuneration from employment taken up during short-time working is temporarily waived. This creates an incentive to temporarily take up activities in currently important areas such as healthcare, agriculture and food supply on a voluntary basis. In the event of company closures or difficulties at the company due to a lack of orders or supplies, the short-time working allowance can intervene. It can be granted on application in individual cases by the respective responsible employment agency. The relevant employment agency checks whether the conditions for granting short-time allowance are met in each individual case.

More detailed information on applying for short-time working allowance can be found on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.

Or here on steuerberater.com.

Questions and answers on the effects of the coronavirus on labor law can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labor.


4. Financial aid-support instruments for short-term liquidity requirements

[Finanzhilfen - Förderinstrumente bei kurzfristigem Liquiditätsbedarf]

The KfW Special Programme 2020 is now available.

The funds for the KfW Special Programme [KfW Sonderprogramm] are unlimited. The Special Programme is open to commercial enterprises of all sizes as well as to freelancers. The conditions for awarding grants have been improved once again. Lower interest rates and simplified risk assessment by KfW for loans of up to €10 million create further relief for the economy.

The KfW Special Programme 2020 builds on the programmes KfW Entrepreneur Loan, ERP Start-up Loan - Universal and the KfW Special Programme 2020 - Direct Participation for Consortium Financing, whose promotional conditions have been modified and extended.

The Special Programme for Enterprises in Trade and Industry and the Liberal Professions is available to cover above all short-term liquidity needs and to facilitate access by enterprises to favourable loans. In this way it is possible to mobilise a considerable amount of liquidity strengthening loans from the house banks.

With a maximum indemnity from KfW of up to 90 percent for operating funds and investments of small and medium-sized enterprises, we make full use of the risk assumption permitted under EU law. This makes it easier for banks and savings banks to grant loans and improves the supply of credit on the market for enterprises.

Applications can be submitted immediately. The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection will also create a regulation under which companies in liquidity difficulties will not have to file for insolvency within a short period of time. This period will be significantly extended. This gives companies the necessary time to overcome the crisis.

Companies, the self-employed and freelancers who would like to take advantage of financing from the following programmes should contact their principal bank or financing partners that arrange KfW loans. Information on the programmes can also be found on the KfW website.

https://www.kfw.de/KfW-Konzern/Newsroom/Aktuelles/KfW-Corona-Hilfe-Unternehmen.html

The KfW hotline for commercial loans is 0800 539 9001.

A. For young companies that have been on the market for less than 5 years

B. For companies that have been on the market for more than 5 years:

C. For large-volume financing

[more information on this page]

Guarantees [Bürgschaften]

If necessary, companies can also use the guarantee scheme with their principal banks. These may not be companies that were in difficulty on the 31 December 2019.

For companies that had sustainable business models until the crisis, guarantees can be provided for working capital and investment financing. Up to an amount of  €2.5 million, these are processed by the guarantee banks [Bürgschaftsbanken]; beyond that, the federal states or their development institutions are responsible. From a guarantee amount of €20 million upwards, the Federal Government participates in the guarantee commitment in structurally weak regions within the framework of the "Large Guarantee Programme" at a ratio of fifty to fifty. In view of the current crisis situation, the Large Guarantee Programme was opened up for enterprises outside of structurally weak regions. Here, the Federal Government makes it possible to cover working capital financing and investments with a guarantee requirement of €50 million or more. At present, guarantees can cover a maximum of 90 % of the credit risk, i.e. the respective principal bank must assume at least 10 % of the own liabilities.

An inquiry for a financing project up to €2.5 million can also be made quickly and free of charge via the financing portal of the guarantee banks.

Guarantee banks may issue "express guarantees" up to an amount of €250,000 independently and within 3 days, without the participation of the federal state. Further information on this can be found on the guarantee banks' websites.

A list of guarantee banks are found in the corresponding section on the webpage of the BMWi .


5. Economic stabilisation fund

[Wirtschaftsstabilisierungsfonds]

In addition, the Federal Government has launched a large-volume economic stabilisation fund: with a volume of up to €600 billion, it cushions the economic impact of the pandemic on companies whose existence is of considerable importance for Germany as a business location or for the labour market. It is also intended to eliminate liquidity bottlenecks, support refinancing on the capital market and above all strengthen the capital base of companies.

The "Economic Stabilisation Fund" consists of

  • €400 billion in government guarantees for liabilities

  • €100 billion for direct state participation

  • €100 billion for refinancing by KfW

Information on application requirements and how to apply as well as the possibility to subscribe to a WSF newsletter will be available soon at www.wirtschaftsstabilisierungsfonds.bmwi.de and www.wsf.bmwi.de.


6. Funding database of the federal government

[Förderbank des Bundes]

The federal government's funding database provides an overview of funding programmes offered by the federal government, the federal states and the European Union. Use the search function and browse through the current range of funding - tailored to your project. What funding programmes are available to support companies in Germany if necessary? An overview of the current support programs.


7.  Operating loan components in the federal states' promotional loans for founders and KMU (small and medium-sized enterprises)

[Betriebsmittelkomponenten in den Förderkrediten der Länder für Gründer und KMU]

Check out the list on the webpage.


8.  Export credit guarantees

[Exportkreditgarantien]

  • Does the Federal Government currently continue to grant export credit guarantees (so-called Hermes Cover) for exports to coronavirus risk areas?

Yes, for specific questions regarding cover please contact the mandataries of the Federal Government of Euler Hermes AG.

  • What does the package of measures of the Federal Government mean for the Federal Export Credit Guarantees?

The package of measures presented by Federal Ministers Scholz and Altmaier on 13 March 2020 is a comprehensive aid program and is intended to help protect employees and companies from the negative economic effects of the corona virus. The package of measures comprises a number of financing and insurance instruments, including the Federal Export Credit Guarantees. In the current crisis, they continue to be available to cover export transactions and financing. The export credit guarantees, which insure exporters and banks against economically and politically induced bad debt losses, are granted on the basis of a comprehensive budgetary authorisation. In the event that there is an additional need for export cover, the Federal Government can extend this authorization very quickly. This means that sufficient funds are also available in the area of Federal export credit guarantees to provide effective protection for exporters and banks in these difficult times.

  • Can exports to the EU and OECD countries also be covered by export credit guarantees?

Yes, with immediate effect, export transactions on short payment terms (up to 24 months) can also be covered within the EU and in certain OECD countries by official export credit guarantees of the Federal Government. In particular, this enables possible bottlenecks in the private export credit insurance market to be absorbed.

Besides the EU, the beneficiary countries are Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the USA and the United Kingdom. The extended cover facilities are initially limited until 31 December 2020.

This is made possible by a decision of the European Commission on 27 March 2020 to amend the provisions of the so-called Short Term Communication. This temporarily removes the list of marketable risks, i.e. the countries for which cover by official export credit guarantees is not normally permitted. With this, the Commission has responded quickly and flexibly to the requests of several Member States, including Germany. It has given Member States the possibility to react promptly and decisively should private export-credit insurers withdraw in response to the corona pandemic.

Details of the extended cover facilities for short-term business can be found on the website of the Federal Mandate.

  • How can export credit guarantees help me at all in the current situation?

The Federal Export Credit Guarantees are an important element of risk management for export-oriented companies. At present, however, they are even more important for exporters because even long-standing and solvent customers can suddenly and through no fault of their own get into payment difficulties in times of the corona crisis. With its export credit guarantees the Federal Government offers you extensive protection. The risk of payment default is largely transferred to the Federal Government. In practice, this basically means: If the respective customer is still obliged to pay and cannot pay, the Federal Government steps in. Whether a foreign customer is still obliged to pay despite the Corona crisis depends to a large extent on the export contract agreements. If, for example, the customer can terminate the contract due to a force majeure clause included in the export contract, they will no longer be obliged to pay.

It is therefore recommended that export contracts be reviewed:

  • How are the risks of unforeseen events occurring during the performance of the contract distributed?

  • Do termination rights exist?

  • Does the company bear the procurement risk if subcontractors are unable to deliver on time due to unforeseen circumstances? Or does the company itself have the right to terminate the contract in order to prevent the drawing of contract guarantees?

A Contract Bond Guarantee issued by the Federal Government can insure against the risk of contract bonds being called despite the company's own termination.

  • Are there effects on existing cover for deliveries and services in coronavirus risk areas?

The Coronavirus does not result in an existing cover being cancelled or limited. Eligibility for indemnification under a Hermes Cover depends, among other things, on the product covered and compliance with the conditions for indemnification.

  • When and to what extent are losses due to the coronavirus covered under Hermes Cover?

Damage can occur both in the production phase and can also include the loss of a claim after delivery. The Federal Government offers cover for both constellations: a manufacturing risk cover for losses in the manufacturing phase and a supplier credit cover for a possible loss of receivables (bad debt cover).

  • What is insured under a manufacturing risk cover?

Manufacturing risk cover primarily offers protection against the financial consequences of a production stoppage. If, as a result of a risk covered by manufacturing risk cover, it is impossible or at least unreasonable to continue production or to ship manufactured goods, the cost price incurred is generally eligible for compensation. This may be the case, for example, if it can no longer be expected that the foreign customer will continue to comply with the contract due to the effects of the coronavirus. If manufacturing risk cover is in place, it is important that the Euler Hermes AG notifies the Federal Government's mandataries immediately of any delays in delivery and performance which may become necessary. Postponements require the approval of the Federal Government.

  • What is insured under a receivables cover?

Cover for receivables offers protection against a foreign customer not paying a receivable even though they are obliged to do so. However, this is subject to the condition that the claim actually exists: damage caused by the corona virus may possibly constitute a case of force majeure and thus render the claim void.

In the case of an existing claim, Euler Hermes AG must notify the mandataries of the Federal Government immediately of any delays in delivery or performance and, of course, of any default in payment. Postponements of delivery and performance times require the consent of the Federal Government. If, in order to secure a delivery commitment, supplies are to be obtained from another supplier, the prior consent of the Federal Government must be obtained for foreign supplies (shift in foreign shares).

  • I have more detailed questions about my export credit guarantee and about cover options. Who can I contact?

If you have any further questions, please contact the mandataries of the Federal Government of Euler Hermes AG in Hamburg:

Phone: 040 8834 9000

Hotline for exporters and banks: 040 8834 9509

email: info@exportkreditgarantien.de

website: Foreign Trade Insurance of the Federal Republic of Germany

The hotline answers, among other things, questions about hedging options and payment or settlement problems.


9. Public procurement: circular on emergency procurement in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

[Öffentliche Beschaffung: Rundschreiben zu Diringlichheitsbeschaffungen vor dem Hintergrund der Covid-19-Pandemie]

In the corona pandemic, it is now particularly important to make the necessary resources available quickly - especially for hospitals, doctors and all administrative units, institutions and people working to manage the pandemic. Procurement agents must try every day, within extremely short deadlines, to procure materials to maintain health care provision and the working capacity of the public administration as a whole.

Public procurement law offers a number of possibilities for procuring materials quickly and efficiently in such emergency situations. In the current situation, the conditions for emergency procurement in both the upper and lower threshold areas are undoubtedly met. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) has comprehensively described these and other possibilities in a circular letter sent out on 19 March 2020.

The EU Commission has also published guidelines on how to procure quickly and efficiently for contracts above the EU thresholds via an announcement published on 1 April 2020.

In addition to the possibilities already outlined in the BMWi Circular of 19 March, the announcement points out further procedural simplifications, particularly with regard to formal requirements.


10. Measures on a European basis

[Maßnahmen auf europäischer Ebene]

Germany is aware of its responsibility for Europe. In close cooperation with its European partners, the Federal Government will dovetail its corona measures at European level. It will coordinate very closely with the European Commission. The Commission has presented a Temporary Framework for aid. This defines the framework for Member State support measures in line with the state aid rules. The Commission will use the full flexibility of the European fiscal rules. It classifies the COVID-19 pandemic as an "unusual event beyond the control of the government". Finally, it has launched a €37 billion "Corona Response Investment Initiative" to support, among others, health systems and small and medium-sized enterprises. Together with the European Investment Bank, it is increasing its guarantee programmes (€28 billion in loans).