Press Advisories

31. 5. 2021 18:39

The government will propose extraordinary increase in pensions by CZK 300, and has extended the Antivirus A programme by a month

Press conference after the government meeting, 31 May 2021.
Press conference after the government meeting, 31 May 2021.
From January, pensions could rise by CZK 300 in addition to the mandatory adjustment. The relevant bill amending the Pension Insurance Act was approved by Andrej Babiš’s government at its meeting on Monday, 31 May 2021. The cabinet also decided on continuing the Antivirus A programme or on further extending the VAT remission for respirators.

By the bill amending the Pension Insurance Act, which would grant additional CZK 300 a month to pension recipients, the government wants to help increase the standard of living for people with low pensions. Together with the statutory adjustment, the average pension should increase from January 2022 to roughly CZK 16,159 after the amendment is approved by the Parliament. For more details see the press release of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in Czech language).

The government decided to extend the expenditure eligibility period in the Targeted Programme of Employment Support - Antivirus by a month until 30 June 2020. The extension will apply only to the Antivirus A scheme that covers cases where an employee could not perform work due to an important personal obstacle to work, consisting of ordered quarantine or isolation. The remaining schemes, Antivirus B and Antivirus Plus, do not need to be extended thanks to the improved epidemic situation. Nevertheless, the government approved extending the effective period of the Antivirus programme until 31 December 2021, so that it is possible to announce a new period of expenditure eligibility without the necessity to approve a new targeted employment support programme and without the need to conclude new agreements on contribution award between the provider and the employer, should the epidemic situation in the Czech Republic deteriorate again. For more see the press release of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in Czech language).

The cabinet instructed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to issue a decision on remitting value added tax, which will extend the current measure effective until 4 June. The VAT remission for supply or purchase of goods from another Member State or their import, applying to filtering half masks and FFP2 respirators and similar, including filters and other accessories, will be newly applicable to taxable transactions made from 4 June to 30 June 2021.

The subsidy programme Agricovid Food Industry will also continue in helping small and medium-sized businesses in the food sector to overcome the difficulties associated with reduced demand for their products during the coronavirus epidemic that drastically restricted the operation of catering services. The government mandated the Minister of Agriculture to modify the principles and conditions of the subsidy programme so that it can be implemented also through programmes of the Support and Guarantee Farming and Forestry Fund, which help farming enterprises, for example, to refund a part of the prescribed interest on commercial loans.

The ministers discussed the second version of the amendment to the Public Health Protection Act introducing the so-called Digital Green Certificate into Czech legislation. The Chamber of Deputies refused to discuss the previous version in an accelerated procedure. Therefore, the Ministry of Health prepared a modified version that, in response to the discussion in the Chamber of Deputies, modified the passages concerning data taken from basic registers and agenda information systems and data maintained in registers pursuant to the Public Health Protection Act. Newly, these can only be data necessary for processing and issuing certificates on the vaccine received, on a test taken or on recovery from COVID-19. The government will ask the Chamber of Deputies again to discuss it in an accelerated procedure so that the COVID passports can start to be used as soon as possible.

The government adopted an amendment to the government regulation laying down some conditions for granting aid for the supply of fruit, vegetables, milk and milk products to schools. The amendment responds to the results of an audit mission of the European Commission on school projects "Fruit and vegetables to schools" and "Milk to schools" for school years 2015/2016 and 2016/2017, which took place in 2017. Among other things, the amendment cancels the existing principle of setting maximum prices, it simplifies the requirements on the applicants for approval of the aid, or changes the manner of supplying flavoured milk products that have been fully paid by parents to date. The aid applicants will be obligated to carry out accompanying educational measures such as tastings of flavoured milk products.

The ministers discussed several minor changes to the extraordinary measures of the Ministry of Health, taking effect on 1 June. For the measure restricting singing in schools, the maximum number of pupils singing together is raised from six to thirty in cases where singing is permitted. The activity of children's corners in shopping centres is permitted under the condition of reducing the capacity to fifty percent and keeping record of persons who have used the service for the needs of epidemiological investigation by public health protection authorities. The measure on wearing a breathing protection has been supplemented with an exception for photographing organised by the school or educational establishment. The regulation on the vaccination rules will newly include the duty of the vaccination centre to inform the vaccinated person about a new electronic vaccination certificate after the first dose, which will be available on the web portal

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