Perspectives

COVID-19: Legal News and Webinars

The latest Belgian Legal updates and webinars in relation to the outbreak

COVID-19 Legal News

Overcoming COVID-19: find a coach

29 July 2020

Unprecedented times often give rise to questions: How can I deal with these new circumstances? Do I feel happy? What do I really want, or expect? Relying on a coach can help you find answers. The experienced coaches of our Family & Business Dynamics Team offer professional guidance. Stimulating critical reflection, they empower you to find balance, react in resilient ways and move forward.

Temporary unemployment after 31 August 2020: Summer preparation for employers

15 July 2020

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in Belgium, authorities accepted a simplified procedure for temporary unemployment (Corona TU), based on a flexible application of the force majeure notion for all companies and industries. If companies want to apply the Corona TU, they can decide and implement the system on the spot.

Proxy Decrees adopted in COVID-19 crisis context: State of affairs after three months

14 July 2020

On 30 March 2020, the two laws of 27 March 2020, which empower the King to take measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, were published in the Belgian Official State Journal. These laws gave the King power to amend existing laws in certain matters by royal decree until 30 June 2020, in order to respond to the various challenges brought by the pandemic. Deloitte Legal analyses the extent to which this power has been used in recent months and considers the consequences of both laws.

Corona unemployment suspends notice period

15 June 2020

On 11 June 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill suspending the notice period of dismissed employees during periods of temporary unemployment due to COVID-19 based force majeure ("Corona unemployment").

Following the Council of State’s critical advice, the originally foreseen retroactive effect has been removed from the text.

Download the full article

Dutch | English

Shareholder and corporate management body meetings during COVID-19: extension of the measures until 30 June 2020

30 April 2020

The provisions in the 9 April 2020 Royal Decree n°4 relating to general meetings and corporate management body meetings have been extended until 30 June 2020 included (previous coverage can be consulted in the 6 April, 16 April and 24 April 2020 newsflashes).

Quick update

Shareholder and corporate management body meetings during COVID-19: new FAQ published

24 April 2020

Minister of Justice Koen Geens has published an FAQ on the 9 April 2020 Royal Decree regarding the organisation of general (shareholders) meetings, and meetings of corporate management bodies, in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Download the full article in

Dutch | English | French

Flemish inheritance tax in times of COVID-19

22 April 2020

Both the Flemish Tax Authority and Flemish Legislator have taken measures to ensure tax payers are provided with the necessary flexibility regarding the completion of formalities and payment of inheritance tax in times of COVID-19. On 21 April 2020, a decree entered into force allowing heirs to make an additional choice for the valuation of publicly listed companies' shares that they inherit during the pandemic.

Read the full update (in Dutch)

COVID-19 and future-proof wealth management: the right person in the right place at the right time

20 April 2020

During these uncertain and unprecedented times it is worth reflecting, both personally and professionally, on the crisis resistance of your business and personal asset management.  

Peace of mind is brought by arrangements and constructions that guarantee continuity in the midst of calamity. This peace of mind is crucial, as many other decisions have to be taken to manage the COVID 19-challenges.

Read the full update

Dutch | English

Digital power of attorney during COVID-19 times

17 April 2020

With the digital power of attorney, it is no longer required to physically visit the notary to sign a notarial deed.

Read the full update (in Dutch)

Option to postpone approval of Belgian legal entities’ financial year 2019 annual accounts confirmed by Royal Decree

16 April 2020

What follows is an update to the 6 April 2020 Newsflash, which set the context and gave an overview of possibilities offered to corporate management bodies in signing the minutes of their meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Download the full article in

Dutch | English | French

Public law proceedings during COVID-19: will procedural deadlines be suspended?

15 April 2020

On 20 March 2020, the Flemish Government issued the Decree on special measures in the event of a civil public health emergency. This newsflash discusses the two main pillars of this “Emergency Decree” and its possible and practical impact on public law proceedings during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Will the approval of financial year 2019 annual accounts be postponed for all Belgian legal entities?

6 April 2020

A Royal decree is expected to be approved regarding measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and, in particular, regarding the approval of annual accounts.

Read the full update in

Dutch | English | French

European Commission extends COVID-19 Temporary State aid Framework

6 April 2020

On 3 April 2020, the European Commission (‘Commission’) amended the 19 March 2020 Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy during the current COVID-19 outbreak (‘Temporary Framework’). The initial Temporary Framework was covered in the Deloitte Legal newsflash of 20 March 2020.  Within two weeks, over 36 national measures were cleared under the initial Temporary Framework and three national measures were cleared under Article 107 (2) (b) TFEU. 

On the one hand, the Commission modified several provisions regarding the types of aid that were already included in the Temporary Framework. On the other, the Commission introduced five new types of aid concerning:

  • COVID-19 relevant research and development (R&D);
  • testing and upgrading infrastructures;
  • the production of COVID-19 relevant products;
  • tax deferrals and/or suspensions of employees’ social security contributions; and
  • wage subsidies for employees to avoid lay-offs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

New guidelines on maximum supplement to unemployment benefits

3 April 2020

On 2 April 2020, the National Office for Social Security (NOSS) published new guidelines regarding supplement on unemployment benefits exemptions. 

Assessing the COVID-19 impact on existing financing agreements in Belgium

2 April 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak and its disruptive effect on the global economy raises many concerns about how parties need to deal with the execution of current contractual arrangements.

This is of greater relevance for financing agreements. Next to their payment obligations, borrowers are usually bound by several engagements, the breach of which could have severe consequences. 

What follows is an indicative list of typical clauses of financing agreements that could be impacted by the current context, the potential impact for borrowers after a breach thereof, and the possible remedies.

Gifts through bank transfers still possible during COVID-19 outbreak

27 March 2020

In view of the strict COVID-19 measures in force in Belgium, making donations is not straight-forward. The (digital) gift via bank transfer offers possibilities.

Read the full update (in Dutch)

The Flemish Tax Authority shows flexibility and leniency in times of COVID-19

25 March 2020

Due to COVID-19, the Flemish Tax Authority has announced new measures to give both taxpayers and notaries flexibility and financial leeway.

Read the full update (in Dutch)

Continued provision of credit during COVID-19 outbreak: A EUR 50 billion arrangement in Belgium

24 March 2020

A deferral of payment of existing credits for Belgian companies, self-employed persons and individuals facing payment problems because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and a guarantee scheme for all new credits granted to viable non-financial companies and self-employed persons have been announced on 21 March 2020. The arrangements set out below result from an agreement between the Belgian federal government, the National Bank of Belgium and the Belgian banking sector.

The measures are set to apply as of 1 April 2020 and are expected to be formally rubberstamped by the European Commission in the next few days.

Force majeure temporary unemployment formalities abolished

23 March 2020

In the past few days, the Federal government held confidential discussions with all relevant stakeholders to agree on measures to reduce the administrative burden when applying for Temporary Unemployment given the current circumstances.

These discussions have resulted in a commonly agreed approach by both the VBO/FEB and the Union of Payroll Agencies (UPA).

This approach was confirmed by the National Employment Office (NEO) and made public on 20 March 2020.As a result, temporary unemployment due to COVID-19 falls under the force majeure temporary unemployment scheme for all applications from 13 March for as long as this exceptional situation persists.

CBA 147 allowing economic unemployment for
white-collars in all business sectors

20 March 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are suffering from heavy economic impacts. Significant client decreases and operational disruptions leave no employer unaffected.

European Commission adopts COVID-19 Temporary State aid Framework 

20 March 2020

On 19 March 2020, the European Commission adopted the much-anticipated Temporary Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Flemish Tax Authority: impact of COVID-19 on inheritance tax filing deadline 

19 March 2020

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Flemish tax authority announced that they will be flexible in granting filing deadline extensions for inheritance tax (upon request). If a tax filing extension request is filed in a timely manner, there will be no penalties for late filing.

Read the full update (in Dutch)

The COVID-19 effect on competition law

16 March 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting people and businesses on a large and global scale, bringing major challenges for governments and companies, all of whom are trying to respond in the most responsible way possible. Although COVID-19 is a black swan for 2020, competition law continues to apply. EU Member States need to be particularly mindful of EU state aid rules, and undertakings need to maintain compliance with the applicable competition rules.

Upcoming COVID-19 Webinars

There are currently no upcoming webinars. Please browse through and replay the below archived webcasts

Replay past COVID-19 Webinars

COVID-19 | Business continuity: people aspects

24 June 2020 | 11:30 AM CEST

Presenters: Stijn Demeestere, Sofie Van Breedam (Deloitte Belgium Tax) and Frédéricq Jacquet (Deloitte Belgium Tax)

COVID-19 has not only roiled financial markets or disrupted organisations and industries, but it has also created tremendous stress for workers. It is therefore crucial for companies to find a balance between restructuring and the impact on the workforce. This is truly a moment-that-matters. A moment that will either strengthen or weaken the relationships between the organisation and its workforce.

During this webinar, we will explore a variety of measures allowing companies to reduce employer costs, including reward, employment and tax measures.

From a reward perspective we will focus on short-term choices that consider long-term impacts.

Employment measures on the agenda are:

  1. Temporary or permanently reduction of working time
  2. Part-time work
  3. Time credit & thematic leave
  4. Collective holidays
  5. Temporary unemployment
  6. Salary reduction and postponement payment salary
  7. Lending of personnel
  8. Transfer of undertaking
  9. End-of-career plans
  10. Multiple or collective dismissal

The tax measures include, among others, the recent temporary mutual agreements concerning cross-border workers, extension of voucher validity, reduction of withholding tax on legal unemployment benefits and deferral of professional withholding tax payment, as well as draft legislation in the pipeline (wage tax incentive, consumption voucher).

Belgium Dbriefs

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Group contribution & new interest deduction rule: some reflections in the COVID-19 era

26 May 2020 | 11:00 AM CEST

Presenters: Bob Maurau (Deloitte Belgium Tax) and Nicolas Engelmann

During this webcast, we will expand on a number of features of the group contribution regime and EBITDA-based interest limitation rule to understand the opportunities and pitfalls for both financial year 2019 and 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 economic situation.

The Belgian corporate income tax reform resulted in a major overhaul of the tax landscape introducing since tax year 2020 amongst others the group contribution regime and new interest limitation rules.

We will discuss a number of topics including:

  • How the application of these measures may still reduce your cash taxes for 2019
  • How do you apply these measures for 2019 (especially if different group companies can make/receive group contributions): some practical guidelines
  • Which group contribution consequences should be monitored for mixed holding companies: does the group contribution regime potentially breach the Parent-Subsidiary Directive?
  • What is the impact of a substantial decrease of your company’s earnings/increase of external borrowings (in financial year 2020) on both measures ?
  • What are the pro-active measures companies can consider to try to reduce the adverse tax impact of the EBITDA-based interest limitation rule in case of an earnings drop/increased interest charges?  Which pro-active measures can be considered with regard to the application of the group contribution regime?

Belgium Dbriefs

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Contract review and analysis in unprecedented uncertainty

21 May 2020 | 5:00 PM CEST

Host: Mark Ross

Presenters: Bryan Foster

COVID-19 is causing unprecedented disruption to global business. Organisations are looking to identify and mitigate the operational, economic, and business risks emanating from this pandemic. All departments will likely be impacted, including your legal department. Understanding what your contracts entail concerning potentially relevant provisions to the non-performance of contractual obligations is one in a number of crucial steps in helping to develop appropriate mitigation plans. We'll discuss:

  • Identification and collation of impacted contracts.
  • Contract culling strategies.
  • Leveraging AI and legal managed services to identify potentially relevant clauses, such as Force Majeure, BCP, Notice, and others identified by in-house and outside counsel. 
  • Enhancing extracted contractual data with information from ERP, procurement, and finance systems. 
  • Counter-party notification, reach out, and remediation.

Join us to learn more about contract reviews and how to mitigate the risks impacting your organisation.

Dbriefs Legal

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Executive Reward And COVID-19 – An Investor Perspective

7 May 2020 | 4:00 PM CEST

Host: Stephen Cahill

Presenters: Mitul Shah, Andrew Ninian (The Investment Association)

Ahead of the 2020 AGM season, investor expectations are emerging around how remuneration committees should respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, with the majority of listed companies putting a new remuneration policy to vote this year, proxy agencies are publishing voting recommendations and areas of focus for coming AGMs. What does your business need to know now? We’ll discuss:

  • The latest guidance from investors around reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on executive reward.
  • Early trends in proxy recommendations and shareholding voting ahead of the 2020 AGM season.
  • What do we see on the investor agenda in the year ahead?

Join experts from Deloitte and The Investment Association in the third webcast in our series, to understand how the latest developments impact your business.

EMEA Tax Dbriefs

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Business re-launch from a workforce perspective

7 May 2020 | 11:00 AM CEST

Speakers: Joël Brehmen, Nathalie Vandaele, Sofie Van Breedam, Isabelle Buyse, Thomas De Donder (Deloitte Legal)

This webinar will address the points of attention related to re-opening of the business after the lockdown, focusing on the workforce considerations to take into account from a regulatory standpoint and stakeholders engagement perspective.

We will also share unique insights on how Deloitte as an organisation has addressed the practical side with testimonials from Deloitte’s own re-launch responsibles.

Belgium Dbriefs

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State aid in times of COVID-19: A practical overview of the coordinated response by the European Commission and Member States

29 April 2020 | 12:00 PM CEST

Host: Hendrik Viaene
Presenters: Rafael Piqueras and Hendrik Viaene

The outbreak of the COVID-19 infection has an undeniably significant economic impact. Almost all Member States have already announced or implemented support measures for citizens or companies. State aid spending in the context of COVID-19 is increasing exponentially on a daily basis and in all industry sectors, with more than EUR 600 billion spent by Member States since the beginning of the outbreak. 

The European Commission is showing a much-desired flexibility and readiness through the adoption of a Temporary Framework to enable Member States to support the economy within the boundaries of competition law. Even so, companies must be aware of State aid risks and think twice before accepting state subsidies, tax breaks, state guarantees, R&D grants, etc. in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. They may end up having to refund the State aid, increased with a substantial recovery interest rate. 

In this Dbriefs, our Deloitte Legal international team of experts will:

  • Provide a reminder on the basics of State aid (what is State aid, who are the stakeholders, what are the incentives).
  • Explain the measures adopted so far by the European Commission in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, with a particular focus on the Temporary Framework and its subsequent amendments (what are the permitted types of aid, what are the limitations, how long will this regime apply).
  • Provide an overview of the instruments adopted by different Member States across the EU (what types of measures are being implemented, which sectors are or will be beneficiaries of the aid, examples of aid to individual companies).
  • Discuss the forecast, likely scenarios and way forward for State aid matters in the COVID-19 context.

Join our Deloitte Legal specialists who will share its experience from acting on State aid matters during the financial crisis back in 2008-2009 and during the present COVID-19 crisis.

Dbriefs Legal

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COVID-19: Pension Schemes Funding – How To Approach The Next Normal

23 April 2020 | 1:00 PM CEST

Host: Sankar Mahalingham

Presenters: Karen Parker, Yona Chesner, Tom Whitely

The coronavirus pandemic is placing the funding, investment and covenant position for UK defined benefit pension schemes under pressure. Investment instability and a sharp increase in deficits have coincided with the financial pressure the crisis has on many scheme sponsors across a multitude of organisations. What are the medium and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on sponsors, trustees and ultimately members of defined pension schemes? We’ll discuss:

  • The balance between appropriate levels of cash contributions and maintaining the strength of the sponsor and the level of investment risk taken.
  • How the changing economic and regulatory environment should influence longer term pension objectives and investment strategy.
  • Different types of security that might help to bridge the gap between the sponsor and the pension scheme trustees.
  • How to deal with the implications for scheme valuations currently under way.

Find out how to ensure the continued viability of business and how to reconcile this with ongoing pension scheme funding commitments.

EMEA Tax Dbriefs

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Government and EU support to businesses in COVID-19 times

21 April 2020

Speakers: Hendrik Viaene, Corjan Visser (Deloitte Tax), Laurent Godts

The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly affected the economy, bringing an unprecedented impact for businesses to manage. In order to help mitigate this impact, the Belgian Federal and Regional governments, as well as the European Commission at EU level, issued various measures to support businesses, namely tax incentives, grants and credit mechanisms.

This webinar will focus on the grants and credit mechanisms made available in Belgium and by the EU. 

Agenda

• Introduction: EU State aid rules 

• State aid approach in the context of COVID-19

• EU funding schemes

• Belgian funding schemes

• Belgian financial guarantee schemes

Belgium Dbriefs

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Global Share Plans - Considering Your Response To COVID-19

20 April 2020 | 5:00 PM CEST

Host: Mitul Shah (United Kingdom)

Presenters: Peter Simeonidis (United States), Nicolas Meurant (France), Liz Pierson (United Kingdom)

As the world continues to adapt to the impact of COVID-19, many organisations are having to manage immediate share plan challenges. During this webcast, we will consider how different countries are addressing these challenges and the actions they are taking in response. We will discuss a number of issues including:

  • The implications of temporary unemployment/ furloughing for share plan participants.
  • Whether now is the right time to make incentive plan awards (be it executive or all employee).
  • In light of current depressed share prices how do you manage dilution, incentive plan pools and incentive plan financing?
  • Can incentive awards be used to help manage or save costs?
  • What should you be communicating to your employees about, and how?

Join our experts to consider the latest developments and how they may affect your organisation. In the meantime, if there are any additional issues you would like to cover, please submit your questions in advance to Leena Gailani.

EMEA Tax Dbriefs

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Impact on Contracts – Force Majeure and MAC-clauses

16 April 2020 | 12:00 PM CEST

Host: Giorgio Mariani

Presenters: Benjamin Balensi, Chris Hardman, Jan Jarmul, Andreas Leclaire, Yuriy Khalimovskiy, and Ildar Zverev

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, many clients are faced with material problems in managing contracts. Companies have to deal with delivery bottlenecks, delays or other disruptions in performing obligations. Real estate agreements are also impacted, as well as extraordinary transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. Force Majeure clauses and Material Adverse Change clauses are discussed as possible solutions, suspending or even ending the performance obligations under contracts entered into. We'll discuss:

  • General applicability of Force Majeure clauses and Material Adverse Change clauses across main European jurisdictions and recent trends in specific industries.
  • Tactical approach negotiating COVID-19 as Force Majeure and dealing with responses to Force Majeure notifications.

Hear from our panel of experienced attorneys on the impact on contracts from the global and best-practice perspectives.

Dbriefs Legal

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COVID-19: Longer Term Implications And The Future Of Work

7 April 2020 | 1:00 PM CEST

Host: Joanne Haslehurst

Given the current environment, many planned events over the coming months have unfortunately been postponed or cancelled. During this difficult time, with many of us working remotely, connections can be somewhat limited. With this in mind, we are producing a new Deloitte Global Employer Services (GES) Dbriefs series called Staying Connected which aims to provide perspectives and insights on all aspects of managing a global workforce. Naturally COVID-19, and the ramifications for both employers and employees, is upper most in all of our minds, therefore our first three webinars will focus on this issue. During these sessions, we’ll discuss:

  • Immigration and cross-border tax considerations
  • Implications for employment law and employment tax
  • Longer term implications and the future of work

Join us to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on your organisation and your global workforce.

EMEA Tax Dbriefs

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Responding to COVID-19: the workforce perspective

2 April 2020 | 11:30 AM CEST

Speakers: Stijn Demeestere, Karolien Martens (Deloitte Belgium Tax) and Sofie Van Breedam (Deloitte Belgium Tax)

Belgium is entering its third week of lock-down as part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. These unprecedented times come with continuous challenges which strongly impact businesses and their workforce.

This Tax & Legal webinar focuses on what businesses can do to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in relation to the management of their talents in the following domains: Rewards, Global Mobility and Employment Law. 

Deloitte’s subject matter experts will review practical questions and challenges faced by companies and their HR department. They will outline the various workforce related measures put forward by the Government to help employers overcome this situation, and address the key points of attention and pitfalls.

Belgium Dbriefs

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COVID-19: Implications For Employment Law And Employment Tax

31 March 2020

Host: Joanne Haslehurst
Presenters: Andrew Lilley, James Warwick

Given the current environment, many planned events over the coming months have unfortunately been postponed or cancelled. During this difficult time, with many of us working remotely, connections can be somewhat limited. With this in mind, we are producing a new Deloitte Global Employer Services (GES) Dbriefs series called Staying Connected which aims to provide perspectives and insights on all aspects of managing a global workforce. Naturally COVID-19, and the ramifications for both employers and employees, is upper most in all of our minds, therefore our first three webinars will focus on this issue. During these sessions, we’ll discuss:

  • Immigration and cross-border tax considerations
  • Implications for employment law and employment tax
  • Longer term implications and the future of work

Join us to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on your organisation and your global workforce.

EMEA Tax Dbriefs

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to manage the impact on your global workforce

17 March 2020

Host: Nicolaas Vermandel
Presenters: Erika Collins (Epstein Becker Green), Susan Gross Sholinsky (Epstein Becker Green), Fernando Bazan, Alexander Fischer, and Andrew Lilley

As news of the novel coronavirus's spread continues to have a dramatic impact worldwide, employers are facing countless questions about how to address the implications of the virus on their businesses and workforce. In this webinar, our panel of experienced attorneys will bring a global and best-practice perspective to the following topics:

  • What lessons can employers learn from the experience in China?
  • What restrictions should employers consider as to medical inquiries or quarantine?
  • What is the latest on the legislative framework and temporary measures regarding pay, especially during quarantine, illness, or temporary shutdown?
  • How do employers maintain business continuity during this situation? What about paid time off and telework? What happens when employees refuse to work because of their concern over contamination risk?

Dbriefs Legal

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - How to manage the impact on your workforce

12 March 2020

Presenters: Koen Fransaer, Heleen Franco

As news of the Novel Coronavirus' spread continues to make headlines worldwide, employers throughout all industries are now questioning how to deal with the various implications of the virus on their businesses and workforce.

In this webinar, we discuss potential legal risks and best practices for managing workplace concerns relating to Coronavirus and other infectious diseases. We will address different topics.

The webinar will not only tackle these questions from a Belgian perspective, but will also look at certain measures implemented in our neighbouring countries, as well as other international aspects that should be looked at.

Belgium Dbriefs

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