Business Resilience

intro

Covid-19: Get ready

The Covid-19 outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization, causing huge impact on people's lives, businesses and communities.

We know that organisations are facing several potentially significant challenges to which they need to respond rapidly.

We are working closely with local and global organisations to help them in preparing and responding to this novel situation.

Before any action is taken, we recommend you to:

  • gather your Crisis Management Team
  • identify all the communication channels you will use to convey your information and the audiences you want to address (employees, clients, stakeholders, third party providers, regulators, authorities, group entities…)
  • review your regular communication plan and think if there’s a need to update it to respond to this particular situation.


Our experience in working with companies, governments, regulators, NGOs and international organisations around the world proves to be an invaluable strength in these situations. PwC globally has been actively involved in the crisis management of some of the most high-profile outbreaks in the last decades (including Ebola, MERS, SARS and the bird flu).

COVID-19: Key business concerns that have emerged

Crisis planning

Based on our experience, a strongly developed crisis response capability is required to ensure the efficient management of incidents in order to minimise associated negative impacts, meet government priorities around maintenance and confidence, and to ensure continued delivery of critical national infrastructure. Many organisations have these plans in place for the workplace and supply chain but COVID-19 has already unveiled flaws in some. Given the unknown variables surrounding the outbreak, it is important to review crisis and business continuity plans, develop different scenarios and put them to test.

Effective communication and Focus on Information

Proactive communication to all stakeholder groups, based on factual information, is essential to manage public perception of the outbreak, minimise misinformation and associated panic, and reduce the detrimental impact on the economy and individuals.
From our experience in working with various organisations during the Ebola, SARS and MERS outbreaks, we learnt that the lack of complete and accurate information prevented appropriate decision making needed to control the outbreak and treat infected individuals.
Capturing the correct information and verifying its reliability is vital. Reliable information underpins both crisis planning and response and allows organisations to make informed decisions.

Workforce

Whilst the priority remains human welfare, there are also other employee challenges. Examples include establishing the tax and social position of people who are moving between countries every day (notably in the Luxembourgish context with large amount of people transiting from/to France, Belgium, Germany…), or companies having to plan on putting production lines on halt due to supply chain issues, with the associated potential impact of asking employees to temporarily stop working.

Supply chain

In affected areas where clients are reliant on supply chains, rapidly depleting stock levels are becoming a significant risk and clients are working through strategies for alternative sourcing. In certain cases, clients are showing signs of distress and stakeholders (e.g. lenders) are concerned about future viability of the business. We are discussing different potential scenarios and what these mean for their operations, for example, as cases of viral transmission emerge in different territories.

Financial impact and planning for a turnover slowdown

Covid-19 outbreak is negatively influencing the financial markets. It has risen concerns about the world economy's growth predictions priorly made.
The shutdown of Chinese production and the movement restrictions of populations can greatly reduce cash reserves, jeopardising the stability and even the future any organisation.
Businesses must, therefore, take actions to increase or build up reserves and working capital to be better prepared for the Covid-19 outbreak impacts.

Some practical questions to think about…

Physical Security

  • What is the plan if someone infected or exposed to the virus comes to the office?

  • Should you activate your Business Recovery Center in a quarantine context?

  • Have you limited/stopped staff and clients events?

  • Are you carrying out training or information sessions to educate your team?

  • Have you implemented additional sanitary or health measures in your premises?

  • Do you have a crisis communication plan to notify stakeholders on the latest developments?

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Sanitary measures

  • Have you hired a specialised disinfection company to clean up your building?

  • Have you placed hydroalcoholic gel in all key areas of your buildings (e.g. main entrances, stairs, toilettes)?

  • Do you have paper towels in restrooms?

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Travel Advice

  • Is there a procedure for employees to declare professional and private travels?

  • Have you set up an information mechanism for your team to keep up to date on the latest developments of the outbreak, for instance, the list of countries considered as risky?

  • Are you monitoring travels in affected countries?

  • Have you defined procedures of guidance before, during and after a trip?

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Remote working solutions

  • Are IT systems ready to handle a large amount of remote connections (i.e. VPN, Citrix)?

  • Do your employees know how to remotely connect flawlessly and the IT Security rules when teleworking?

  • Are key software applications available remotely?

  • Are your Business Continuity Planning (BCP) / Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP) up to date?

 

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Social Security

  • How do you count a day at home? 

  • Where will the individual working at home be subject to social security (25% rule)? 

  • How to organise administrative obligations (e.g. A1)? 

  • What's the consequence of moving social security systems (cost benefits administration)?

  • Are there social security planning opportunities?

 

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Personal Tax

  • How do you count a day at home? 
  • When doing remote work, have you defined:
    • How is income tax reported and paid? 
    • What relief, if any, is there for double taxation? 
    • Do employees need to complete any personal tax registrations? 
    • How to report Luxembourg source income/benefits in the country of residence?

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Quarantine

Consider these questions when implementing the quarantine,

  • Have you given clear instructions to your employees on what they should do if:
    • they have travelled and just come back from an infected area;
    • their family/friends from an infected area are visiting (or returning back from a trip) them;
    • their partner is placed in quarantine;
    • they have planned a trip for professional/personal purposes in an area which is now infected;
  • they feel sick (cough, fever, breathing troubles…).
  • Do you have a specific plan for vulnerable/sensitive persons (e.g. pregnancy, intensive care, …)?
  • If your employee has been in close contact with an infected person:
    • What is the mechanism to declare it?
  • Contact with Social and Tax authorities.

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Contact us

Serene Shtayyeh

Risk Assurance Leader, PwC Luxembourg

Tel: +352 49 48 48 2115

François Génaux

Advisory Leader, PwC Luxembourg

Tel: +352 49 48 48 4175

Thomas Wittische

Director, BCP & Crisis Management Lead, PwC Luxembourg

Tel: +352 49 48 48 4181

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