The COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act and the Quarantine Act
1. THE COVID-19 (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 2020
The COVID-19 levy
- Applicable to any employer who benefited from the Wage Assistance Scheme for years of assessment commencing on 1 July 2020 or 1 July 2021.
- Levy is payable to the Mauritius Revenue Authority (“MRA”) by the employer in his return of income.
- Levy is payable for year of assessment commencing
- 1 July 2020 where accounting period ends between 1 May 2020 and 31 December 2020.
- 1 July 2021 where the accounting period ends between 1 May 2021 and 31 December 2021.
- 1 July 2021 where accounting period ends between 1 January 2021 and 30 April 2021.
- 1 July 2022 where the accounting period ends between 1 January 2022 and 30 April 2022.
- In case of default by the employer, the MRA may within a period of 3 years from the date the levy is payable issue a claim together with interest and penalties.
- No Levy is payable where employer is not liable to income tax in the years of assessment 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
Shareholders’ Meetings and Financial Statements under the Companies Act
- The Board of Directors shall call an annual meeting of shareholders to be held not later than 9 months (was previously 6 months) after the balance sheet date of the company or such further period, as the Registrar may determine, after the COVID-19 period lapses.
- The requirements to have the annual meeting of shareholders
- held not more than once in each year and
- not later than 15 months after the previous annual meeting
shall not apply during the COVID-19 period and such further period as the Registrar may determine after the Covid-19 period lapses.
- Financial statements of a company may be completed within 9 months (was previously 6 months) after its balance sheet date or such further period, as the Registrar may determine, after the COVID-19 period lapses.
- Copies of financial statements, group financial statements. auditor’s report must be filed with the Registrar within 3 months (was previously 28 days) of the documents being signed or such further period, as the Registrar may determine, after the COVID-19 period lapses.
Board Meetings and Resolutions under the Financial Services Act
- Meetings of the Board may be held either
- by a number of members who constitute a quorum, being assembled together at the place, date and time appointed for the meeting or
- by means of audio, or audio and visual, communication by which all the members participating and constituting a quorum can simultaneously hear each other throughout the meeting.
- A resolution in writing, signed or assented to by all members entitled to receive notice of a meeting shall be as valid and effective as if passed at a meeting duly convened and held. The resolution may consist of documents, including facsimile, electronic mail or other similar means of communication, each signed or assented to by one or more members.
Residence Permit and Visa
- Where a person has been issued with a visa, a permanent residence permit or a residence permit which expires:
- during the Covid-19 period, the visa or permit will be deemed not to have expired and shall remain valid for 30 days after the Covid-19 period lapses or such further period as may be prescribed.
- 21 days after the COVID-19 period lapses, the visa or permit will be deemed not to have expired and will remain valid for 30 days after the period of 21 days lapses or any further period as prescribed.
Payment under Revenue Laws
- Where a time is imposed to make a payment under any revenue law and the time expires or falls wholly or partly during:
- the Covid-19 period, the payment shall be made not later than 25 June 2020
- the period ending 30 June 2020, the payment shall be made not later than 26 June 2020.
- Payment includes the payment of any fee, fine, tax, charge, levy, duty, penalty, interest or surcharge.
The Workers’ Rights Act
i. Work from Home and Flexitime
- An employer may require any worker to work from home but must give a notice of at least 48 hours to the worker.
- Any worker is entitled to request to work on flexitime (previously limited to workers caring for a child below school age or with an impairment).
ii. Shift Work
- A worker employed on shift work during the Covid-19 period and such further period as may be prescribed shall not be entitled to any allowance for work performed on night shift.
- An employer may, during a period of 18 months following the expiry of the COVID-19 period, withhold up to 15 days’ annual leave, or such other number of annual leave as may be prescribed, from the aggregate of the annual leave which accrues to a worker as from the beginning of the year of the COVID-19 period or such further period as may be prescribed.
- Where a worker has performed work as required by the employer during the COVID-19 period, there will be no deduction of annual leaves.
iv. Reduction in workforce
- An employer who provides services in the following sectors will be exempted from notifying and negotiating with the trade union or workers’ representatives to explore the possibility of avoiding the reduction of workforce or closing down of his enterprise:- Air traffic control,Civil aviation and airport, Customs, Electricity, Health, Hotel services, Hospital, Port, Radio and television, Refuse disposal, Telephone, Transport of passengers and goods, Water supply.
- The exempted employer shall give notice to the Redundancy Board together with a statement showing cause for the reduction or closure at least 15 days before the intended reduction or closing down.
- Where the Board finds that the reasons are justified, the worker shall be paid 30 days’ wages as indemnity in lieu of notice.
- Where the Board finds that the reasons are unjustified, the worker shall be paid severance allowance at the rate of 3 months’ remuneration per year of service.
- Where the Board finds that the reasons are justified, the Board shall, in lieu of the termination of employment, at the request of the employer and subject to the consent of the worker concerned, order that the worker, or such category of workers as the employer may designate, shall proceed on leave without pay for such period as the employer may specify in his notification subject to the condition that the resumption of employment be on such new terms and conditions, including pension benefits, as the employer may, prior to resumption of work, offer to the worker. During that time, the employee is entitled to unemployment benefit from the Workfare Programme Fund if he does not take up alternative work.
- The Landlord and Tenant Act
Non payment of rent in respect of both business and residential premises for the periods March 2020 to August 2020 and such other subsequent months as may be prescribed shall not constitute a breach of the tenancy agreement provided that the rent for the said months and any other subsequent months as may be prescribed is fully paid in instalments by the 31st of December 2021.
2. THE QUARANTINE ACT
- During a quarantine period, the Prime Minister may
- Prohibit the entry of aircrafts or ships into Mauritius
- Order all persons to remain indoors
- Order that commercial premises or offices remain closed for such period and on such conditions as he may specify
- The Commissioner of Police may issue a permit to a person to be outdoors for such purpose and on such conditions specified in the permit.
This 22nd of May 2020