Legal Updates

Legal updates covering current topics.

Financial support for SMEs and mid-caps due to Covid-19

This is a summary of government initiatives to assist SMEs and mid-cap companies and covers financing offered, guarantees and grants as of 3 April 2020. References to the relevant government notices are set out under the relevant sections. Please see our COVID-19 related news in our COVID-19 Newsroom and kindly note that the below summary may be subject to changes as the government may take new actions to address the crisis. Read more

Covid-19: technical monitoring of remote work

The Covid-19 has forced many employers to enable opportunities for employees to work from home and many digital solutions are used to facilitate remote work performance. While there is technology available that can track every second of an employee’s working day, Finnish law, however, includes rather strict provisions on the use of such technology for employee monitoring purposes and any monitoring should, therefore, be carried out with caution. Read more

Covid-19 and Material Adverse Change Clauses

General

The global outbreak of the Corona virus (Covid-19) is heavily affecting both the current state of many businesses and their forward-looking prospects. The large degree of anxiety and uncertainty which the whole world is currently facing will, inevitably, also have implications on the m&a market.

In particular, deals involving regulatory aspects, such as merger control clearance, often entail that the signing and closing of the deal are separated from each other. Naturally, a longer interim period between signing and closing increases the level of risk which a buyer may face before closing the deal. In share purchase agreements, material adverse change clauses (MAC clauses), occasionally also defined as material adverse effect clauses (MAE clauses), usually aim to protect the buyer from circumstances having a negative impact on the target company, which may arise in the interim period between signing and closing. Given the Covid-19 virus crisis currently at hand, MAC clauses in share purchase agreements have, once again, been put under the spotlight. Read more

Competition law compliance in times of crisis – Covid-19 implications on Finnish competition law

Many undertakings have recently faced unprecedented challenges in the new market situation caused by Covid-19. Competition authorities across the globe have reacted to the ongoing crisis. The European Union’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager recently pointed out that the crisis is not a shield against competition law enforcement. The new situation raises questions about, among other, the impact of the crisis on merger control proceedings and competition authorities’ approach to increased cooperation in respect of essential goods and services. Read more

Covid-19 and remote work: GDPR applies even when working from home

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak more employees than ever work remotely.  Even in these special circumstances where remote work is next to the new normal and where many employers face enormous pressure on only being able to continue their business operations, it is crucial for the employer to remember that its responsibilities and obligations under the GDPR, and any other applicable data protection legislation, nevertheless continue. Even if employees are working from home it is, ultimately, the employer who is responsible for all applicable data protection legislation compliance. Read more

Process to be followed before temporary layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Finnish government approved on 1 April 2020 temporary amendments that will expedite the process in case an employer is forced to layoff employees temporarily due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 virus or the measures implemented in order to decrease the spread of the virus. The temporary measures will remain in place until the end of June 2020. The shorter consultation period and the shorter notice periods provided for in the new legislation may be applied even in processes that have started before the new legislation entered into force. Read more

Covid-19 and its impact on the obligation to pay rent in commercial leases

The Covid-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the day-to-day business across numerous sectors and demands for rent reductions for commercial leases are currently not uncommon. The demand for adjusting rent payment clauses under commercial lease agreements will most likely become even more common after the entering into force of the proposal of the Finnish Government to temporarily close restaurants, bars, coffee shops and nightclubs until end May 2020. The proposal is expected to enter into force in the upcoming days. However, many of these places have already last week voluntarily closed their doors. Read more

Covid-19: What employee related health information can an employer publish and how?

The Covid-19 leaves few unaffected and with the state of emergency having been declared in Finland on 16 March 2020, naturally also employers’ duty to protect their employees’ health and safety has been emphasized.  Relevant authorities have issued guidelines on how to in practice see to that the risk of Covid-19 infection spreading at workplaces is minimized. Read more

Impact of Covid-19 on Finnish air travel

On 16 March 2020 the government declared a state of emergency and announced that schools and
public spaces will be shut down until 13 April 2020.(1) The government also published a 19-point list
of emergency legislation that came into effect on 18 March 2020 after being approved by
Parliament, including measures to close the country’s borders and suspend passenger traffic to
Finland. Preparations for such measures have already taken place. Parliament’s constitutional
committee is currently discussing the approval of emergency legislation. On 23 March 2020 the
government announced that they are preparing to implement further movement restrictions to slow
the spread of the novel coronavirus, such as ordering bars and restaurants to close and limiting
movement in general. Read more

Temporary closedown amid Covid-19 crisis – what can employers do?

Even at the time of a serious crisis, the Finnish legislation tries to find a balance between the interests of the employees and the interests of the employers. The Finnish mentality does not allow solutions that would suddenly and abruptly leave an employee with nothing, but at the same time, the legislation recognises that if the employer does not survive, the employee will have no work in the future. Read more

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