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Coronavirus Outbreak in Europe: What Companies Should Consider

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization as it continues to spread across the globe. Thus, every company should be prepared to address any business and legal challenges that might materialize. We have launched a Coronavirus Resource Center providing key resources, legal alerts by jurisdiction and contacts.

Multinational employers should check our global checklist specifically designed to assist employers in this challenging period.

Also, we have prepared a multijurisdictional guide for Europe, which also covers Ukraine among other countries, that answers most popular questions employers have around this topic.

Employment

When implementing steps to safeguard its workforce, each company should meet its statutory obligations, including ensuring that it has proper legal instruments before enforcing any measures to address the issues caused by COVID-19. Also, employers with staff in Ukraine should consider how to legally implement the many practical measures available (e.g., remote work, replacement of temporarily absent employees, garden leave, suspension from work, labor idle, redundancy, etc.).

Companies with employees travelling routinely for business should closely monitor any migration law developments because certain travel and public event restrictions are being imposed in an increasing number of jurisdictions.

Commercial

Many trading companies have already been facing significant business-related challenges and should be prepared, if necessary: (i) to renegotiate (or terminate) contracts where the activity in question is no longer commercially viable; (ii) to consider available options should businesses have difficulties in fulfilling their existing contractual obligations; (iii) to invoke force majeure clauses, etc.

Governmental restrictions

To specifically deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, many governments worldwide have already taken certain emergency measures (e.g., quarantine, restriction or suspension of public events, travel restrictions etc.).

Earlier today, the Ukrainian authorities also announced school closures and restrictions on public events, starting from 12 March and until 3 April.

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